Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Can I get some help here?

Public transportation is the way to go here in Rome. Their system is actually pretty good and surprisingly easy to navigate. And this is a good thing because this is how I will (and have been since I arrived) make my way through Rome. I hop on the bus, get on the metro and away I go. No need to worry about trying to drive in this city...not that I would ever drive here...unless I suddenly become certifiably insane. Check SpellingCheck Spelling

So, one aspect of my job is to obtain monthly transportation passes for myself, Lynda, and our students. That sounds fairly easy and I thought it would be. But as I'm learning, those things that should be easier elsewhere aren't always that way in Italy.

Part of the issue in buying these passes is that our bank account hasn't been set up yet because again, it's Italy and things move much slower here. I've been using a college credit card to purchase necessities and needed to use it to buy the passes. Well, most places only accept cash for the passes. Thankfully, a friend told me about a Metro station where I could purchase the passes using a credit card. Mind you, this is after Lynda and I spent nearly an hour wandering around Termini (Rome's train station) trying to locate the transit office or someone who would take a credit card with no luck. Frustration! Anywho, once Lynda returned from Wales we made our way to this other station to look for this supposed vendor. (May I just interject here now and tell you that we went to Termini--a 15 minute bus ride--to take the Metro to this other station only to find that it's one station away from the Metro stop that's down our street? We could have just walked down the street, hopped on a train, and been there in like minutes. AH!) I digress. We, again, wandered around the whole station asking person after person if they accepted credit cards for the bus passes and they all had the same answer: no.

We were about at the end of our rope when we decided to try one more Tabacchi store outside of the station. We walked in with really no hope...I uttered a prayer before entering that the Lord would grant us mercy because we were hot, tired, and frustrated beyond words. The woman told us no, of course, and we were just about to turn away WHEN she said that we could buy them with a credit card at the Tren Italia counter. (Tren Italia is Italy's main rail line) We were in shock that someone would offer us more than just "No" so we thanked her profusely and made our way back inside to the counter....a little more hopeful than before. We approached the counter, asked our question, and held our breaths. Success! They did accept credit cards! YES!!!! Our hope was restored. Life was good. All was well with the world...ok, I'm exaggerating, but still...you have no idea how good it felt to accomplish something when you felt like all you were doing was fighting an uphill battle.

Here's the thing though...every person we'd asked must have known that you could buy the passes at the Tren Italia counter with a credit card and yet, they remained silent. Was it really too troublesome to just tell us that? Come on! Help a girl out...

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1 comment:

  1. So weird that they wouldn't tell you! It's like it took too much effort...like you said, no one's in a hurry over there! They figured you'd find it out soon enough! UGH--I would've been so annoyed too.