Monday, October 15, 2007

Hello Milan? It’s Blair from America.

You guys like spray paint.
I made the mistake of listening to the young woman at the front desk. I asked her where I could get new boots or “scarpas”. She gave me the name of this mall not too far from the hotel. I took a cab there the next day and wasn’t very impressed. It was a mall like any other in the world except everyone spoke Italian. The only interesting thing was that there were a whole bunch of men in suits walking through the mall talking to their friends and they didn’t look like they worked there. The Italian way of life seems very laid back and quite nice. I went to buy an American “capitalist coca cola” in a supermarket in the mall and didn’t have the right change and a man bought it for me. Very nice people here. The girls in the shoe stores were very helpful even though I spoke very little Italian. After my third shoe store I knew how to ask for boots but that was about it, oh and tell everyone my name in Italian.
As I waited for my ride I was disappointed. I thought Milan would have more architecture. When my ride arrived I was scolded for ending up at this mall. He brought me to Duomo Square. It was beautiful. I was also scolded for thinking La Scala was in Rome. It was wonderful to see the crowded squares with people shopping and eating outside, lying in the grass in the parks. It was also interesting to see Milan’s version of MTV and all the teenagers screaming up to the cameras in one of the buildings by the great church.
The city, even the older parts were accessible. There were many curb cuts. It was hard to find a bathroom until I asked a Campinieri. They found a restaurant for me to use. I wanted to ask them what they would do with those huge swords but I didn’t. The restaurant Maitre de moved all these tables out of my way so I could get to the elevator. I then went to a clothing store where two older women were window shopping. They said something to me in Italian and I said si. They then both got behind me and pushed me into the store. I just laughed and said thank you to them in Italian.
It was easy to catch taxis here. They were very friendly. The most interesting part was the train ride into Milan. As the train arrived at the station it was a big deal to get the lift to help me out of the train. Luckily there was a bi-lingual British man from Liverpool who helped me get off. He then helped me find the wheelchair assistance office which every train stop has had so far. You have to go to these offices to book the ramp ahead of time. Milan train station is massive and was under construction. I had to buy another ticket because I found out through my translator, the man from Liverpool, that I couldn’t go to Monaco because you have to book assistance four days in advance. I didn’t understand that. I wondered if all of the South of France used one ramp. So I just stayed in Milan one more day.
The hotel was a post-modern Holiday Inn Express, very futuristic with a TV/Computer that I wanted to chuck out the window. Some of the technology hasn’t been perfected yet. You are able to use the TV to access the internet but it kept crashing and took about ten minutes to reboot. However you could get wireless access out in the lobby which has a café/bar. One Euro for an Espresso. The young woman at the counter asked me if I wanted an American coffee, I told her I’d take an Italian coffee, you know, since I was in Italy and all.
Such a nice country so far and even nicer people. I want to venture further, I heard it gets better as you travel South. I would prepare myself with more knowledge of the language. I don’t believe everyone should learn English. Each person I have run in to here has apologized for their bad English- I have said right back I apologize for coming to your country and not knowing your language. I just wish more Americans felt this way. Ciao Milano. Ciao.

Holiday Inn Express/Milan Bicocca
# +39 02 667 15000
Rate Varies: 145 Euros/Weeknights
99 Euros/Weekends
Wheelchair Accessible. Room Service a little odd. Took an hour to get a pizza. Taxis come quick for pick-up. A few miles from Milan Central Train Station.
Wheelchair Spotting! One young woman at Milan Train Station, day of arrival 3:30pm. One young male in a sports chair by a food truck 5:35am day of departure.


Blogger sol haring said...

totally great narratives Blair! am looking forward to reading the next one, will link you to my students' blog, so they can check out another good one! big hug sol

9:31 AM  

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