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Naples! I was excited and rose early. Today I am taking a two day trip to Naples, Sorrento and Capri the only thing I knew about Naples was what was said in songs, knew nothing about Sorrento and only knew that the late Egyptian King Farouk used to go to Capri a great deal for gambling. I was about to see, first hand, all those places.
It was a big bus, and it was full. My fellow tourists were mainly American, but there was a smattering of Germans and Italians. I, not surprisingly, was the only Egyptian. The language of the tour was English. We started off on time and though the guide kept up a litany about Rome, when we finally left it, he relaxed and left us each to his own devices. I started looking about, to see what sort of people I was traveling with.
The group that really caught my attention was made up of a couple of teenagers, the girl older than the boy, and their ancient looking grandmother. They were traveling together, but with no adult to either keep the children in check, or to help the elderly lady. Whenever we stopped anywhere, the children were off like a shot, leaving their elderly grandmother to be helped by anyone near at had. I must say that the majority of the group were very kind people who tried to help whenever possible, except for one German gentleman who always grumbled and moved away whenever the grandmother was anywhere near him. I thought this was pretty mean, till later in the day, I was climbing into the bus when the grandmother came over. I tried to help her on, she snatched her arm away from me, and just stood there blocking the steps up into the bus!. I started to ask her if she needed something, when a fellow traveler explained to me that she does not understand anything, that her mind is gone. I was doubly shocked to realize that this elderly lady, whose mind is gone, is put in the care of two irresponsible teenagers, to travel over the south of Italy. Anyway, for the last part of our trip for that day before reaching our destination and our long looked for beds, we settled in the bus, and who should sit next to me but the grandmother.
I knew there would not be any talking, so I took out my book and started reading. It was already nighttime and only those who were reading had the little lights above them lit. The rest of the bus was in deep shadow. Around an hour passed, then I felt unusual fidgeting in the seat next to me, without turning my head I looked over to see what she was doing. She had bent down and removed her shoes. OK no problem there. She then sat looking at them, turning them every which way, as though they were things she had never seen before. Then she started looking around for a place to put them. At that point I forgot all about my book and sat watching, fascinated. She tried to put them on her lap, but was not satisfied. She tried to put them in the pocket attached to the back of the seat in front of her but could not, they were too big. She paused a bit, then quickly stood up and placed them on the head of the man sleeping in the seat in front of hers. The man woke up with a start, jumped off his seat with an oath, and turned around to find her beaming up to him in a beautiful smile. I was practically bent double trying to stifle my laughter, so as not to offend the guy, but tears were running down my face anyway. The man took in the situation quickly and realized that there was no malicious intent, that I could not have done anything to prevent what happened, so with a short bark of laughter, he took the shoes, placed them next to her feet, and turned back to his seat, but no more sleep for him, or me, for what remained of that leg of the trip to Naples.
Naples was interesting but what attracted my attention was the fact that they, like us in Cairo, put out the wash on lines in the balconies in the open air. A typically Mediterranean city. The rest of the trip was quiet and Capri was lovely. We had to take a lift down to the marina as we were going to see some caves so were taking a boat. It was pretty cold and I was bundled up, the only exposed skin being my head and my hands as had not put my gloves on yet. In that crowded lift, some Italian guy kept up Italian tradition and pinched the only accessible part of my exposed skin: the back of my hand. I nearly laughed out loud. And felt quite flattered.
By the time I got back to my hotel in Rome I was quite exhausted and vowed to take it easy the next day.
To be continued …