Friday, November 12, 2010

The Grumps' Italian Adventure: Day 8, or Random Thoughts On Italy

OK, so as it turns out I didn't have enough material for 10 days of posting. I don't think 8 days is too shabby, however. As I don't really have any topics worthy of a full post, I'll just share a few things that have been rattling around in my head since I got back:

  • I don't fly well. I guess I never noticed this because I'd never been on a plane for 10 hours before. But I can really be quite the bastard at the end of a flight. I blame this on my family's problem of having really bad ears when it comes to pressure changes. While I know that a popping sensation in one's ears is normal during airline travel, I don't think it's normal to feel like someone stuck a screwdriver in my ear hours after I got off the fucking plane. So I must admit, by the time I get off the actual plane, I'm less than cordial, even to my lovely wife. Sorry baby.
  • Airline policies suck ass. I may be a prick when I fly, but I refuse to take all of the blame. If you're not supposed to bring meat products back from other countries, then that information should be readily available to read BEFORE you've purchased almost 50 bucks worth of Italian salami and gotten it 90% of the way through U.S. customs. Not to mention that this was after about 14 hours worth of going through inefficient security stations and boarding procedures. I think what gets me the most pissed off about airlines is that their security is reactionary. Perhaps if these schmucks would think far enough ahead to create some kind of technology that's flexible enough to catch the crap that they didn't think of before, then they wouldn't have to update their carry-on policies every five minutes. Oh, someone managed to put a bomb in a shoe? Then you'll have to take yours off and put it through the x-ray machine every time you fly. Someone made a bomb out of liquid?
    Then you can only have less than 3 ounces on the plane from now on. I'd hate to see what would happen if someone managed to plant a bomb in one of his testicles. I'm picturing a small guillotine next to the metal detector.
  • We must be actively trying to become obese in the U.S. I spent ten days in Italy, making absolutely no attempt to watch what I ate. Yet somehow, I managed to lose two pounds. That's not much, I know, but considering I ate enough prosciutto to risk a swine shortage in the Chianti region, I should be about 300 pounds by now. I don't know what we're putting in our food here, but we should seriously look into switching to what they're having. Although, my weight loss may also have been due to the fact that everything in the Chianti region is at least at a 30 degree incline. It's unreal. I always laughed when an elderly person would say they had to walk uphill both ways to get to school everyday. But now I realized they weren't full of shit if they grew up in Italy.
  • Being worried about acting like a stereotypical arrogant American while traveling abroad is the most surefire way of acting like a stereotypical arrogant American while traveling abroad. I so didn't want to be that guy. But within a day of arriving at our hotel I managed to call the guy working the counter "Matt" about 13 times before I realized his name was Andreas. And I managed to pull off the ever-helpful language barrier busting technique of yelling things slowly and obnoxiously in English. Because, after all, anyone should be able to understand English as long as you speak it to them as if they are a deaf child. Shockingly, I don't think I turned into the hotel's favorite guest. My natural reaction to this suspicion was to think they were the assholes, because anyone who doesn't think I'm awesome is clearly a douche bag.
  • The final conclusion that I pull from everything I've posted about this trip is pretty simple. I am one lucky guy to be married to Mrs. Grump. I'd imagine that traveling with me is similar to going on vacation with an ill-tempered gorilla that can form basic sentences. Yet even so, Mrs. Grump made sure we had an excellent honeymoon. We saw sights that I'd probably only ever see on a computer screen if left to my own devices. I ate food that makes me tear up a little bit just to think about it (On a side note, if you ever have a chance to eat food that has wild boar in it, do it. Don't think about it. Just do it). I even managed to pick up a phrases of Italian. I think my favorite was "due." It's nothing special. It just means "two." But it was the word I used the most often because anything I ordered or purchased was always in duplicate to accommodate my new wife. And that makes me happy.
Speaking of the wife, stay tuned for a special guest post sometime next week from Mrs. Grump herself. I don't drink coffee, but according to Mrs. Grump, anything good you've heard about Italian coffee is a bold-faced lie. Check in sometime next week to find out why.


  1. My definition of a good travel companion--someone who is still speaking to you at the end of a long trip that's taken you out of your comfort zone!

    Sounds like you and Mrs. Grump are ready for new "adventures!"

  2. Damn you terrorists! I was really looking forward to that Italian sausage...especially since it was wrapped in Mr. Grump's tighty Whities!