under..some clouds

Florence Travel Blog

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I am currently in Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, center of Medici rule, and all those other good things.  Not to mention, birthplace of Tuscan cooking.  And also home to the Florence Marathon, which takes place on Sunday.  I am thrilled.  I was going to sign up for the 5k, but it turns out only teenaged boys are permitted to partake.  Is that not illegal?  No matter...at least I'll sleep in.  I told my friend I wanted to watch and he was like, what?  Italians run?  But I'm fairly certain I'll only be seeing Kenyans, as in any road race around the world.

You know what I've noticed since I've been in Italy?  People round the bill down!  It's the craziest thing.  If something comes to €10.30, they only ask me for €10.  If I give a waiter €5 for a €4.75 bill, he hands me a euro back.  Are they trying to encourage tourism here or are they just really really bad at the math?  At first I felt bad, and kept trying to leave them extra as tip, but apparently they aren't into that either because the other night I left cash and left but the waiter followed me out to make me take the change.  Huh.  Best country ever.  Although I did ask some other people in the hostel about this last night and it was one of those Chandler-revealing-something-he-thought-was-true-for-everyone-but-it's-really-just-him moments. 

I decided it's not really necessary to feel bad about this because, first of all, I'm po', and secondly, I feel it serves to balance out the ridiculous practice of charging five times as much to someone who sits down for their beverage as opposed to taking it at the bar.  Why is my espresso €4.75 anyways?  It's only €1.40 if I can shoot it down and run out the door to the other cafe where all the cool Italian grandpas are hanging out.  I do think it makes sense though...I mean, you really are renting the table.  And I like to think of it as admission to my favorite tourist attraction.  After all, if other tourists are going to pay €5 to see the finger of Galileo, I can certainly do the same to see a old men arguing over a card game that involves 3 decks and a dice, a mother and daughter happily examining recent purchases, and a group of Japanese in wedding gear that I didn'r really understand.  This is my favorite tourist attraction.  I actually had vague plans to Uffizi it up today, but it was miraculously sunny after a morning of thunderstorms, so I thought I should take advantage of the sun with some piazza-hopping.

I like to read the news online and I just read this article, which caused me to laugh out loud:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/11/22/MNGA1MI1441.DTL

Now I have to leave this internet cafe because they all think I'm crazy.
oddrey says:
Jay Werlin! I was just thinking of you while writing this, first because I thought you would really enjoy how everyone rounds my bill down and also because you heard my most recent moment of saying something I thought happened to everyone, but in fact, does not.
Posted on: Nov 24, 2006
iloveleelee says:
LeeLee-

Your comments are insightful, your prose is entertaining, and you make all of us want to take some time off.
Big bear hugs,
the sweatband runner of your dreams
Posted on: Nov 23, 2006
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Florence
photo by: monky