White people love cheese

I’m feeling so much better now. I’ve had two good nights of rest, SO much food, and all my laundry is clean thanks to Paolo’s generosity and hospitality. Plus, I had free time last night to catch up on Breaking Bad. Definitely needed this.

Currently I’m on the train to Genoa which will then connect to Ventimiglia, which will finally get me to a train that will take me to Nice where I will meet my next couch surfing host, Gabriel. The coca colas here have names on them which mean you’re supposed to share them with someone by that name. The name I got was Gabriele but that’s close enough to count as a gift, I think. The coke here, by the way, tastes better and is made with actual sugar and no salt. Food for thought…
Before getting on the train, Paolo showed me how to use the subway (I’m still new to subways) and where I needed to be to get on my train. Before getting my ticket and going to the station he recommended seeing the center of the city at Milano Duomo. It was so worth it. 
TOTALLY worth seeing.

Thanks Poalo for all your hospitality!! 

Tourists. Pfft. 

 I found a sign with Japanese on it! Yay! It says “Japanese person Catholic Church” and below its something like “August 2013, every week day 11-11:30 mass, and Fridays and Saturdays at 6:00, by church father Luciano.” Who knew I would be speaking Japanese on this trip?

Runner-up for best creep face ever. 

Of course one the most fun things to do while you travel is people watch. And that’s generally what I do after getting bored with the scenery. This time I took my stalking abilities to a new high by using the epic 18x zoom on my camera to actually photograph people. Mostly guys. (Shhh).

Don’t take food out where there are birds. They will literally attack.

This lady don’t give a crap about the birds. 

 By the way, if you ever get approached by someone with bracelets, just keep walking. They speak Spanish and Italian and they’ll sucked you into staying long enough to put a bracelet on you saying it’s free and then ask for money. At that point, just keep yelling “No dinero!” until they go away. And then you have a free bracelet! 

So after being a good tourist I went back to the central station. I was feeling much better speaking Italian this morning, so I asked someone where the bathroom was (hahaha). He told me there was one nearby but I had to pay. Unfortunately, even though I found it, it only took exact change and all I had was a 50 cent piece so I just continued. 

I went back and asked him if there were bathrooms on the train and he laughed and said something like, “Yes, of course, are you joking?” 
When getting your ticket in Milan, make sure you hit the button that says “Tutti soluzione” or else the machine will only show you the most expensive tickets. I had a mini freak out over the fact that my chosen route had disappeared until I saw that button. A few questions to locals later, I was on my train. 
Let me tell you, these trains BOOK the hell out of dodge. Seconds after leaving the edge of the city the landscape turns very farmy. Lots of corn, almost like Iowa.

 Every few minutes you see another town or village pass by very quickly and then move onto more country. But then you get to all this: 

One of my biggest regrets so far has been not being able to see Genova. The city, from what I could see from the train station, is gorgeous. I took a stroll out to the street to see the city thinking I had an hour before my train. Actually, I only had fifteen minutes, which I found out five minutes before the train was scheduled to leave by checking the train schedule on my phone. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF. I ran quickly back to the bus station and managed to get a window seat once someone got off at one of the subsequent stops. Meanwhile I had managed to eat an entire block of cheese. 
Things to know: validate your ticket. Otherwise they will charge you a lot of money on the train for being a vagrant or something. 
People are really poor here, according to Paolo and a nice linguistics major girl from Turin I met on the first train. 
Don’t eat entire blocks of cheese if you’re sensitive to lactose.
Don’t smile at people. 
If you want to poop, ya gotta squat. No toilet seats, and sometimes the only thig available are those floor toilets with places for your feet. 
There is no such thing as air conditioned public transport.
Don’t take food out ANYWHERE near a pigeon. It and all its friend will suddenly swarm you like the locusts in Exodus descended upon Egypt.
There’s no such thing as a water fountain. Carry a water bottle at all times. 
Make a conscious decision which side of the train to sit on. If you’re headed north, and the ocean is west, sit on the left side for a better view. 
Don’t pretend to know anything about how someone views the world according to culture. Always ask questions and listen first and only talk about what you know.
It’s hard to get pictures of anything on a train going a bazillion miles an.
Seriously, don’t ever eat a whole block of cheese. 
I’m in Nice now, I will have to make a large post about it when I leave in a couple days. Until then, adieu mes amies!

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