So having seen pretty much all there is to see in Venice in about 2 hours, I had to figure out things to do that weren’t going to kill the budget. This can be challenging in a city like this, totally geared towards the tourist industry. It’s crazy the variation in prices you see. I’ve been going pretty well so far though.
So a couple of American girls showed up and I took them around, being the tour guide. I got a real kick out of it, because it was only a day ago that I was hopeless, lost, depressed and wet-socked. Now I was the master, weaving through the streets, teaching them what to look out for, and how to navigate. Taught them a few Italian words. Took them to the Piazza and took more photos there, because the weather was a million times more beautiful. We walked for hours, just hanging out.
During the walk I thought a lot about Australian-American relations. I just don’t feel like I can fit in with Americans. I don't really know why, but I really struggle. It's not like it's hard to find things in common, but I just feel like somehow I don't belong. I don't know, maybe I'm nuts.
I thought that one of the girls, Kimberly was particularly good-looking, so I was thinking a lot about her but I soon stopped that. I think I've finally given resigned myself to solidarity. Even if it wasn't for my impossible situation as a tourist, I don't think I fit in anywhere anyway.
We returned to the hostel and the girls went somewhere on their own for awhile. I drank a 2 euro bottle of wine and made a sandwich from the groceries I had to re-buy thanks to mystery food-stealing jerk. The Canadian girls from the night before showed up. Their food had been stolen too so we related. We hung out for a bit and made plans for a piss-up that night. They left to get wine. I was drunk already (it was maybe 5 o’clock) so I figured I’d better make the trek to the supermarket to resupply the wine cabinet.
On the way I decided to get my first gelato. Now I’ve heard so many people sing the praises of gelato that I assumed it would be overrated. After all, I’m the kind of guy who finds that mostly, things taste the same wherever you are. Oh boy was I wrong. I don’t use the words ‘food orgasm’ often, but wow. Wow. I don’t even know what else to tell you. I’m going back for more tonight. I need to experience it sober so I can describe it better.
Anyway I got stocked up, came back, fucked around for a while waiting for everyone to show up. Soon the party was going. The French Canadians, the Norwegians, me, the Turk, the Americans. All was going well. Drinks all round. We decided to go to a “bar” around the corner so the Norwegians could watch the soccer. There really are no bars in Venice. Don’t expect a nightlife if you ever come here.
Anyway we made all kinds of new friends. Some French, some English, some Spanish. Facebook exchanges all round. I can’ speak for everyone, but I’d say we pretty drunk. At some point things got weird, but I didn’t realize this, or fully comprehend it until the next day. You see, at some point, a masked and costumed Venetian was incorporated into the group. He had a bottle of Champagne that he wanted to share with everyone. It was his 50th birthday and he needed friends. Join the party!
So I’m talking to this guy, not at all finding it weird to have a mysterious masked man with us. He wouldn’t take it off. Looking at him, I got the impression he might have been horribly scarred beneath it all. It never occurred to me that he could be trying to rob us or anthing. Anyway, I spoke to him at length. He told me he was from Geneva and he had just decided to do something different for his birthday, so he came to Venice, got a costume and a mask and played a Venetian for tips in the street. We laughed uproariously at the idea of the tourists paying an authentic non-Italian. We drank some more.
So all sorts of things were going on. More drinks, more friends, more fun. At some point, the masked man says to me, whispers in my ear: “she is very beautiful”, nodding in the direction of Kim, the American. I wholeheartedly agree with him, and then he starts telling me that I have ‘the power’ and that I should ‘take her’. I laughed and asked him why he thought that. He said, “Look at you! You are the Casanova, I can see.” I was in hysterics.
I said, what about that guy? (She was talking to Espen, one of the Norwegians). The masked man laughed. “No, look at him. He has no chance. You. You are the beautiful one. Just take her.” I was losing it. I can’t remember if I started telling anyone else about the conversation. I do recall somebody saying that Kim had a boyfriend. The masked man said, “It doesn’t matter. You have the power. Just make her laugh and you will have her. That’s all you have to do. Just make them laugh. Always works."
"That easy, eh?" I laughed. "Why don’t you do it?"
"No," he said. "I am 50 today. My time is passed. Now it’s your time."
Absolutely nuts. And I didn’t even think it was weird until the next day. I ended up going back to the room and having a good laugh about the conversation with Kim, who it turns out doesn’t really have a boyfriend.
I had some strange dreams that night.