In the morning, Angela drove me by the Calatrava bridge outside of Reggio (on the highway, a ways outside of town) before dropping me off on the Via Emilia where I had arrived before. On my way out of town, I bought a new charger for my phone...a much bigger and heavier version of the same thing (I was told in two shops that you couldn't find the small and practical one in Italy). The run was again a nice distance...not too long and not too short, and I ran continuously and pretty easily.
When I got into Modena, I went into a grocery store and bought my (now standard) 1.75 liter bottle of Gatorade and 1.5 liter bottle of water...I also bought an enormous slice of cold watermelon (a quarter watermelon was the smallest size they sold). I went out to a park bench and spent almost an hour drinking and slowly working my way through the watermelon, carefully dissecting it with my Swiss Army knife. Watermelon is amazing. A (somewhat crazy) woman sat next to me while waiting for the bus and I offered her a piece of my watermelon. She said no, and offered me some sort of candy bar, to which I said no. Then she started talking really quickly about how some people think it is chocolate, but it is gum or taffy and how chocolate is bad or something along those lines, and (somewhat lost) I just smiled and nodded (or shook my head, depending on what I determined to be more appropriate). Eventually she slowed down and I explained that I wasn't Italian, and we spent some time talking about my trip and about her daughter and all sorts of stuff. Eventually she got on the bus, and I headed down the street towards town. I stopped in an Internet cafe to check my email and got in contact with Filippo, my couchsurfing host for the night. We agreed to meet in a few minutes in the main piazza of the city.
I took my time getting there, and once we found each other, we went back to his apartment (nearby) where I met his girlfriend Christina, took a shower and washed the clothes I had on in the sink. I put on the dirty clothes from the day before and waited for the ones I had just washed to air dry so that I could change and wash again. This is life when you only have two t-shirts and two pairs of shorts.
While Filippo went to go play soccer, I went around town and got a beer with his friend who had had a year of high school in Alabama. It was amazing hearing an Italian person speaking English with a thick southern accent. She had even spent some time visiting Columbia, so we had a lot to talk about.
Filippo met us around 9, and we went to a cresceteria and got a typical sandwich of the region (with a kind of strange flatbread that I can only really compare to a somewhat crispy pita). Afterwards, we got a gelato (everyday gelato!) and went to an outdoor bar.
I went to bed around 1 and had a very difficult time getting to sleep. The problem here is that it is incredibly hot, so you have to leave the windows open and sleep with no sheets. However, there are also many mosquitoes, so sleeping without any sheets and the windows open becomes a problem. You are either hot or bitten...and while it would be a very easy solution to this problem, fans and screens seem very rare here. On a couple occasions around 5 in the morning I got up and went onto the balcony, and just stood there for a few minutes in the open air. Tired and frustrated, I wanted all the mosquitoes to come together in one giant human shaped mass so that I could punch it in the face. No dice there, so I just went back and tried to fall asleep to the tune of buzz buzz buzzing in my ear.
31 July 2009