I’m a huge fan of Kevin Smith and was appalled when I read his twitter feed. What I’d like to know is if an Arnold-like guy gets on the plane who’s arms are so wide that the person sitting next to him has to stand up just to look for his seatbelt buried under one of his monstrous thighs. Would this man who’s, let’s say, 6’1 and 300 lbs of muscle be subject to the same humiliation and ridicule? Will he have to pass a does-the-arm-rest-come-up test? Is he forced to purchase to seats-one for him and one for his fanny pack?
Probably none of the above because society doesn’t think that muscle-clad men and women deserve ridicule no matter how ridiculous they may look.
I know this is kind of late but better late than never.
So this year has been filled with so much that I don’t know where to begin. I guess I should start at the beginning.
Well I started out pregnant with Beany while Dad prepared for his arrival.
Then it was off to Italy for our Babymoon. Traveling between cities by train, we visited Rome, Venice, Florence, and Sienna. And Dad tried some of the local cuisine.
Then Beany was born. We loved having him home that we never wanted to put him down. Nor did his grandparents.
Soon, Beany had his own friends and was having a barrel of laughs.
In September we had a party where Beany got to meet some of his cousins. They wanted to play with him at any cost.
After the party, Mom and Dad got to go to the U.S. Open.
We got a new house and moved in.
Things slowed down a bit while Beany learned to sit unassisted.
But after he learned there was nothing he couldn’t conquer, there was no stopping him.
Beany had his first trip (he was an angel on the plane both ways), where he met some Mom’s family for the first time and saw Dad’s sister for the first time since his party.
Then we hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas. David saw a lot of family and got a lot of presents.
All in all, it was a great year.
I have posted the Italy pictures. You can find them at picasaweb.google.com/shaywade. And please take a look at Tom’s blog at blog.tdrapeau.com. We’ve posted all of our emails from the trip and hope that you enjoy it all.
Today was a fun day. We awoke to yet another awful breakfast and journeyed forth to find Sita Bus Company to travel to Siena. It was hard to find since three different people would only point in a general direction somewhere to the right of the train station. However, we did find it. And just in time. We took off immediately on a local bus that showed us gorgeous countryside and farmland. I never thought I’d see so many crops on slanted land. Interesting. Anyway, as we arrived in Siena we saw a McDonald’s gas station that I found completely fascinating simply due to hunger. I guess small countrysides can’t even escape the chain. Getting off the bus, found a small Irish Pub to have lunch. Then we walked from one end of the hill stricken city to the other. It was lovely in Piazza Del Campo ( http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Piazza_del_Campo.html) where people actually go to just sit and be. In that same square is the Fontana Gaia (the Gay Fountain) ( http://www.travel-pictures-gallery.com/imagepagesien0001.html). It seemed to be a perfect name as the men of Italy passed with their man bags, gelled hair, and Feragamo shoes. As we sat and talked I began to dub these men as “the Gay Fountaineers” if only because of their lavish passing.
Upon trying to return to Florence via the bus station, we were met with the you’re-American-and-I-don’t-want-to-help-you attitudes from the bus drivers. I have to say…that never gets old!
Once we made it back to Florence, we rushed through dinner so that we could visit the Galleria dll’Academia (http://www.weekendafirenze.com/museidet/accademia_e.htm ). It looks like a hole in the wall and doesn’t bare a striking name, but the ultimate wonder inside was tremendous. When you enter, you see just a room with a replica of a sculpture we’d already seen (not important enough to name in this story). We glance at the few painting adorning the walls but decide quickly, as it is close to the gallery’s closing, to move on to try and find the main attraction of such a hole in the wall. As you turn the corner into the next room you see a few unfinished sculptures by this guy named Michelangelo. Then, at the end of the hall, in an alcove, standing 17 feet tall is Michelangelo’s David ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo%27s_David).
It is extraordinary. Absolutely perfect. It is completely carved from one piece of marble and is utterly flawless. In his hands he holds either end of the slingshot that is strewn across his back. The same slingshot in which he was to have slayed Goliath. Masterful.
Well, I leave you now, as this has been long enough. (Tom has dubbed this email a monster.) Tomorrow we leave for Rome to rest without the distraction of having to see great works of great men before returning to the dreadfully cold New York.
As per Tom’s email, we have arrived in Florence, Italy. Yesterday was pretty quiet. We got lost in the city and found some beautiful Renaissance treasures-statue gardens, hotels, a replica of the David ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo’s_David), hotels, little shops built on the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponte_Vecchio ), hotels, the Duomo (http://www.mega.it/eng/egui/monu/buq.htm), and hotels. By the way, this place is overcrowded with American, female tourists and hotels.
Today, we went to the Uffizi Gallery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffizi). Uffizi, when translated, means offices. I don’t know why there’s an art gallery dedicated to offices but we went anyway. Kidding. It was nice. They boast about being the greatest museum in all of Europe. I absolutely, with contest, disagree. The Louvre and the d’Orsay in Paris, even the Victoria and Albert in London host much more interesting art. We decided that since it was supposed to be so elaborate that we would invest in the audio guides. It was a big waste of Euros. You would enter a room, let’s say the Michelangelo Room, that has about 15 paintings on the wall and two in the center. You hit the button for the number of the room. “Welcome to the room named for Michelangelo.Directly in front of you is a piece that Michelangelo crafted for (insert famous name here) in some time long ago, still in it’s original frame. Please move on to the next room.” What?!!!!!!!!!!! We’ve never really experienced audio guides before but we are surely turned off to them now.
I will say that the art we did experience was immaculate. Though they boast of the Medici’s sizable collection, they’re collection of the four great Renaissance painters and sculptors were lacking to say the least. It was a complete misrepresentation on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-Michelangelo had about half a room to himself, Leonardo had about 3-maybe 5- paintings total, I only saw one Rafael, and Donatello wasn’t even there. Blasphemy.
But all in all it was a god day. Lots of walking. Good food. And us together in Florence. We’re going to try to see Sienna tomorrow. Hopefully we find the station and get tickets ok. We’ll write again soon.
Buon giorno, ,mi faliglia i amici
Goo day, my family and friends
Well, our lat day in Rome was a lot of fun. Tiring but fun. We went to the Pantheon were we learned the history of every statue and piece of marble there. tom actually got board and walked away from the kiosk that was giving us all the info. I couldn’t believe it. Ã¹
From there we found the Time Elevator (http://community.iexplore.com/planning/journalEntryActivity.asp?JournalID=61215&EntryID=62552&n=The+Time+Elevator ). It started out kind of corny. It ended up being much like the Back to the Future ride at Universal Studios. The only difference was that it was the history of Italy instead of the U.S. We did still follow some old guy with wild, white hair and a strange travel machine. Did you know that Rome’s founder was raised by wolves along with his twin brother who he later killed because he wanted to build the city in the valley instead of on the hills like him. No wonder they’re so passionate about family here.
Our last stop before going back to the hotel for a romping round o Crazy 8’s was the Trevi Fountain ( http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Rome-144659/Things_To_Do-Rome-Trevi_Fountain-BR-1.html). Again, words cannot describe the beauty. But, while there, we made two wishes (one for Baby Drapeau, of course) and saw one of the vultures of a vendor being dragged off by a polizia (policeman). i guess the cop didn’t have handcuffs because he had the guy in a tight headlock, dragging him along as if he were nothing more than a garment bag. There’s got to be alto said for the city that was known for keeping lions in check.
And now…We have arrived in Venice! When they said the place is built on water, they meant it! Not all of the streets are water. Some are solid ground, but it’s about 5% solid vs. 95% water. Our hotel is CÃ Furlan ( http://cafurlan.hotelinvenice.com/?source=googles) located at the far end of Venice near Piazza dei Santa Marcs for Carnevale ( http://goitaly.about.com/od/festivalsandevents/a/carnevale_2.htm).
So far, we’ve only had dinner and taken a water bus. I will say this, the people here are a lot friendlier than those in Rome. Here, they actually go out of their way to help you find what you are looking for (even if they do end up leading you in the wrong direction, they have good intentions). We did have breakfast at the hotel this morning which was lacking to say the least. It has been nothing but bland cereal, strange breads, and room temperature yogurt for Italian breakfast. BUT they do have some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted, and that’s really something coming from someone like me.
So, until next time,
Sia Benedetto, Ciao, and Arrivaderla,
P.S. We will have pictures when we get back. Please be patient. And please pray for my Uncle Charles in St. Louis who has just been released from the hospital after having a lung collapse.
Greetings Family and Friends,
This email begins where the last left off.
As we left Vatican City I was approached by a woman who obviously has seen to many American Hip Hop videos because she referred to me as “Ma” to get my attention to buy something on the street. Very classic moment.
That night, after a lovely siesta, Tom and I tried to see a movie at the cinema near our hotel. It became quite clear that it wasn’t going to work. No movies in English. No movies with subtitles. So we proceeded to a small (and empty) restaurant down the street. I had a great fillet mingnon and Tom had veal (poor babies). I must say that the cost of dining out can take a toll on you in this city. We thought it would be like eating out in NYC but it’s a lot different when you can alter between supermarket purchased foods and the ristorante on the Tiber.
Yesterday was another good day. We started out at the Colosseum (http://www.colosseo.org/) where we were bombarded with tour guides, men selling belts, women selling scarves, and a man who sold me a broken cone of gelati (agh!). We were scolded by men who wanted us to take pictures with them, but I already knew that game. No more men in Roman get-ups are gonna fool me! And I must say that I’m glad we doubted the tour guides when we were told that we’d have to wait in line for 25 minutes just to get tickets. Our total wait time: 12 minutes. It seems like everyone tells us we’ll have to wait enormous amounts of time only to be ushered in in a matter of minutes. The Vatican Museum was supposed to be 4 hours but we got in in 30 minutes or less. So close to being free.
While in the Colosseum, the rain came-so we decided to take shelter in a nearby cafe. It was great fettuccine and spaghetti. Multo bene! Once the rain died down a little and our bellies were full, we journeyed to the Palatine ( http://www.roma2000.it/pala.html) and the Foro Romano (http://www.archeoroma.com/foro_romano.htm). Beautiful ruins of the old Roman Forum. Unfortunately there are no pictures I can share as we do not have access to a personal computer onto which we can upload. But you will all see them upon our return. I must say there are so many beautiful things to see here, it’s a bit overwhelming to take it all in.
Today we visited the famous St. Peter’s Basilica (http://www.stpetersbasilica.org/). In this vast church, I took very few pictures as there was nothing that could truly translate onto film. The majestic beauty of the architecture was literally breathtaking. We journeyed beneath the church into the tombs of great Popes. There I saw the memorial of Pope John Paul II and the tomb of St. Peter himself. And, yes, I did say a little prayer. It was all sincerely beautiful. I will admit that I didnÃ t understand the people taking pictures of peoples tombs/graves.
So now we are wating for 1pm when we may journey to the top of the domes of St. Peter’s where there is rumored to be some of the best views of the city.
And on a side note: the people here stare…a lot. So I’ve begun fighting the stares with my very own American way of defense…I stick my tongue out at them until they’re forced to stop. :-p
So Ciao Bellisimi
Until next time
P.S. Baby Drapeau is still kicking and really likes this authentic Italian food.