The First Night

Three countries and 16 hours later, I’m in Florence, Italy tonight. I began my day at 6:00 am, and my flight left LAX for Toronto at 10:00 am. It all went off without a hitch, which was particularly miraculous considering the huge crowd at LAX. I arrived in Toronto in time for dinner then boarded a 7 and 1/2 hour flight to Munich.

LA should be ashamed that it cannot boast of an airport of the likes of Toronto or Munich. In fact, not many American cities other than perhaps DC can offer an airport of any similar quality. Munich’s airport was tremendous. It was postmodern architecture, high ceilings, lots of glass, and a Rodeo Drive under a roof. All of the big name stores were present, and you could purchase about anything under heaven. The food was great, and the coffee was free. I had a German pretzel and some muenster cheese just for old time’s sake (I studied there in 1999).

Then it was to Florence on a small jet. The most notable thing about the trip from Munich to Florence was the hot and classy flight attendants who served us — a full box of fresh cheeses, crackers, juice, wine — whatever your choice. That’s in contrast to the lack of classy flight attendants and the skimpy food offered these days by most American carriers. It was a brief trip back to the good ole days, but I suppose we are a better society overall for letting go of the things that made those things possible.

But then when I arrived in Florence, I was picked up by a taxi driver who also did not meet my expectations. My taxi driver was a very attractive, tall model like blonde hair and blue eyed woman who had an air of sophistication, mystery and charm about her. I couldn’t wait to tell my group about my special treatment in Italy so far. They got stuck with your average bus driver dude. I had the hot babe.

I arrived at Pepperdine’s Villa where I settled into my room and then feasted on the “snacks” of melons, carpaccio (one of my favorites), breads and cheeses. We took a brief city stroll in the rain, and then came back for dinner (yea, eating again)of homemade pasta and beef steak.

Oh, how I miss Europe. It’s good to be back. I’m off for a long nap. I’m speaking twice tomorrow.



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