Friday, March 21, 2008
At least I think it is the 21st. I have arrived on my native shores after waking at 0200 at Nascondiglio, showering, shaving and bidding addio a Bacco at 2:35. That was Wednesday and after a 35 minute drive to Ascoli, I boarded the 0320 bus to Roma and thankfully slept a bit arriving much to my surprise at Termini, the railroad station which saved me a 15 minute walk at 6:30 in the morning. Next, it was a 45 minute train ride to the airport, followed by an 11 hour flight to Chicago, a 50 minute ride on the CTA train to downtown Chicago and a final 5 minute walk to the Palmer House.
At my friend Jasper's recommendation, I ate dinner at Osteria via Stato, which strangely enough, is located in the Embassy Suites on State St. and had a memorable 3 course dinner with wonderfully fresh ingredients, followed by a nice chat with the owner/chef, David. His family is from abruzzo and hopefully we will have him visit someday at the agriturismo. I also stepped into Quartino and talked with the manager who will be at vinitaly and maybe we can meet up.
With my jetlag in evidence, I awakened at 0400 and read the USA Today paper and made a cup of Lavazza coffee and watched the time slowly pass until finally I could head on to my appointment with the Chicago consulate. By the way, I probably didn't tell you earlier but after 7 emails with no responses, 8 hours prior to my departure, the consulate sent an email with what i needed and of course, I lacked 3 things which were all in St. Louis. Recording my prior experience with these folks for my student visa, I arrived punctually at 0900 and since this is a public blog and "they" might be watching, I will recount my experience and impression when I actually have the visa in hand.
I took an earlier flight to St. Louis and grabbed my Colorado driver's license, made a copy, had it notarized and included that with my bank statement, my newly purchased (that day) international health insurance and all the other goodies which the website had said I needed (the new 3 were not listed there); I hightailed it to the post office arriving at 16:58, 2 minutes prior to closure and express mailed all the stuff to Chicago-guaranteed arrival by noon today. PHEW!! Everyone cross their fingers for me and Buona Pasqua a tutti!!
The good news is I have my laptop back. It was a tearful reunion!
Posted by Dwight at 2:12 PM