Friday, November 30, 2007


with nothing much to do here in my room at Hotel Iris, I decided to post these entries which i have scribbled during my trip.

November 24

The flight to Kuala Lumpur was delayed and the plane to Rome has already departed when we arrived. To compensate for this, the airport authorities booked me and two other passengers to the next flight in Amsterdam. From there I’ll be taking another flight to Rome. I’m quite ok with it, considering it’s just another bonus on my trip.

November 25

So I guess somehow I can say I’ve been in Amsterdam. It’s 7:35 and it’s still dark while outside the rain starts pouring. I’m watching CNN while waiting at gate B15 for my flight to Rome which boards at 9:45am.

On board flight AZ107 from Amsterdam to Flumicino airport, Rome. It’s kinda hard traveling alone (wait, looking at the window, I can see ice covered mountain ranges, hmm will I experience snow in Italy?), as I was saying, I’m still anxious about my next 20 days in Italy. I’m not sure how an asian guy like me will be treated by the locals. I’m a bit intimidated, but I guess it’s due to my ignorance about them. I’ll try to brush away my worries and just enjoy this (maybe) once in my lifetime experience (wow alps totally covered with snow, cool). Next step, Rome and then off to Genoa.

Flumicino airport, Rome. Whew this sucks! My luggage was lost. Somehow, maybe along those re-routed connecting flights my bag wasn’t loaded with the flight I’m in. Argh! Now I got nothing except for whatever clothes I have plus my laptop. I’ve reported it in the passenger service and have left my Singapore address and the hotel’s address where I’ll be staying. They say they'll send it once they have traced where my luggage is.

It’ll be my first ever train ride (not including MRT/LRT that is). And it’s in Italy. I’m bound to Rome terminal and from there I’ll be taking another trip to Genova. I approached two police in the station and asked some questions and they told me to get some tickets and ask the person in the booth for further instructions. So I got my tickets worth 45.50 euros in all. One ticket for Rome terminal (11 euros) and the other for Genova (34.50 euros). The train will be arriving in about ten minutes and I need to insert my ticket on that “stamping machine” to validate it.

On board the train to Rome Terminal. I’m sharing the cabin with a middle-aged woman. After mustering enough courage, I spoke with her and asked about the tickets and she kindly explained it to me. I was lucky since she speaks English. We had some conversation but remain silent for rest of the trip. One thing I’ve noticed during the travel was that most of the walls where the train is passing usually have graffiti on it. On the terminal, she gave me instructions and asked for information about the schedule of the next train bound to Genova. We parted and gave my thanks to her. Now, somehow I knew what to do.

I stood in front of the electronic board where all departure and arrival schedules are listed. They are in Italian by the way but the lady already told me that the “bin” means the train number where I should board. While waiting there, I noticed a group of Filipino-looking individuals and I tried overhearing their conversations just to confirm if they are kababayans. They were. So I approached one and asked again for instructions just to make sure. It’s good to be able to talk to fellow Filipinos when you’re in another country. So after that, I wander for a bit and decided to buy some burger and fries in McDonalds. My schedule is still not on the board so from time to time I check the listing. I stood near two nuns and started eating some fries. Somehow it makes me feel safe standing there specially that I’ve also been warned about pickpockets there.

Now I finally boarded the train to Genova. I took a cabin and ate my burger and coke. The train leaves at 15:46. It’s beginning to get colder. I’m not yet sure if my body can withstand it especially because I only have a sweater to keep me warm. My thick jacket is on my lost luggage. One by one the passengers started to arrived. An old couple entered the cabin where I’m in and then later another couple entered. That’s the time I was told that some of the cabin seats can be reserved. The guy from the first couple also explained that it’s not my fault since there is no way of knowing whether a seat has been reserved until that person arrives. The cabin has a capacity for six people. And now I’m on the middle seat. Sandwiched by two couples, until two more passengers, nuns, entered the cabin and so I went out and searched for other cabins, but this time I decided to search on the far back of the train. Most are already full and I’m a bit shy to enter cabins so I searched for one with the least number of passengers in it. I finally found one with only one person in it. And I hope I won’t have to transfer again.

The language barrier is starting to be apparent. I’m having problems asking since my companions in the cabin don’t speak English. But fair enough, they understood that I need to alight in Genova and I do somehow get that they’ll inform me when it’s near.

I’m a few minutes near Genova station and I started asking if anybody knew about Hotel Iris or even just about Via G. Rossetti but nobody seems to know the place. Outside the train station, I saw two policemen and asked about the place. They pointed me a direction and somehow my hopes are high again although I’m really very tired after hours of travel. Somehow it seems it’s also fortunate that I don’t have my luggage to carry on this long trip. I explored the place but unfortunately, the hotel isn’t there. So I went back, but decided to enter a hotel to ask about the hotel I’m looking for. Finally, I got a convincing answer. The receptionist spoke well in English and was certain about the place I was referring to. The place was still about 3 kilometers away so he suggested that I take the cab. Now why haven’t I thought of that. Actually, I thought at first, that the hotel would be just a stone throw away from the station. So anyway, I went to the taxi stop in front of the train station and waited for a cab. When the first cab arrived, a woman and her kids boarded it while an old guy talks to them. I can’t comprehend their conversation so I can only assume that they know the guy. The cab took off and me and the old guy were left there. Suddenly, he started talking to me pointing to his wrist. I told him the time and he replied with something about the taxi and time. So I guess he meant that it’s hard to get a taxi at this time and he was hoping if I could share it with him. He seems to be a good person who is just desperate to get home. So, I agreed. The taxi took him to his place first and the old chap was very grateful for my deed. I arrived at the hotel at around 10pm and was thankful that I can finally rest my tired body.


i'll post my other entries next time. ciao

Monday, November 26, 2007


Finally after touring Europe, I’m here in Genoa/Genova. Well, not really the whole Europe but rather a re-route to Amsterdam. Why? It all started one fine Saturday night when this poor soul is bound for Kuala Lumpur to board a connecting flight to Rome. But due to some undetermined circumstance, the flight was delayed for more than an hour (re: Singapore to KL). My flight to Rome was scheduled to depart at 11:30pm. We arrive passed that time. To compensate for this, the airport authorities suggested that we take the next flight to Amsterdam and then Rome. With no other better alternative, the three of us agreed (a Singaporean, Italian(I presume), and a handsome Filipino). The lady (Singaporean) was really furious about this but I’ll not expound further on details. For me, I’m practically composed, and optimistic about it. At least for a few hours I’ll be in Amsterdam. And so, to cut the story short, I finally arrived in Rome.

And then the bad news.

Somehow along that re-routed connecting/transfer flights, my luggage got lost. Sucks big time! I’ve reported this to the passenger service and gave them my Singapore address and the address here in Hotel Iris. Hopefully, they’ll be able to traced it and send it here as soon as possible.

The long travel plus the frustration about my luggage was starting to take its toll on me but I still need to travel five (5) more hours by train from Rome to Genoa. The locals are quite accommodating, although most of them can’t speak English, they’ll try to understand and answer your questions still. I happen to bumped into a group of Filipinos in the train terminal so somehow I also got some inputs on how to get to my destination. I arrived at the Genova terminal at around 9pm and started asking for directions to Hotel Iris, Via G. Rossetti. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know. Oh man, it’s getting late maybe I’ll just sleep at the terminal and place a small plastic cup by my side in hope that by morning it’ll be full of euros hehe. But that’s just what my tired mind is suggesting. The never-quit side of me pushed me to enter a nearby hotel and asked about Hotel Iris. Luck finally hit me. So it seems, Hotel Iris is still about 3 km away. So he suggested that I take the cab. Now why haven’t I thought of that in the first place? Silly me. While waiting for a cab, an old guy is also patiently waiting for one. He suddenly approached me and said something Italian which I can only assume that he’s talking about getting the taxi. Then later pointing at his wrist. I told him the time and realized he meant it’s hard to get a taxi this late. A taxi finally arrived and the old guy asked me if I can share it with him. I agreed, and we both boarded the taxi. If this is a suspense novel then maybe I’ll be robbed and stripped off my clothes and walked around naked with only a box of carton to cover my genitals. That’ll be quite a story, but sorry to disappoint you guys because everything went well and the old chap was very thankful for my deed. I arrived at the hotel around 10 pm and checked-in. While in my room, I start contemplating about my next days with nothing to wear except what I have now. Bring me back my luggage!!!

The next day(this morning), I took my breakfast and went to the receptionist to asked for directions on how to get to the training center. I’ll be scouting the location today and planned to buy some groceries and toiletries. I haven’t brushed yet so lucky for you this is written.

I’m currently able to withstand the cold with what clothes I currently have. My thick jacket is on my lost luggage but I have with me a comfortable sweater which is my best friend right now. If I don’t get any news about my luggage at the end of the day, I’m planning to shop for clothes that I can alternately wear, anyway nobody will notice it anyway.

So that’s all for now.


Friday, November 23, 2007

genoa here i come

after a bit of a scare due to a slight issue on my travel insurance, i finally got my visa yipeeeee! i'll leave tomorrow with my flight scheduled at 9pm. it's gonna be a connecting flight from singapore to KL to Rome. my collegues have given me insights on what to expect when i get there including warnings about pick pockets, but the picture will surely be clearer once i finally experience the cold breeze of europe and tasted the pizza and pasta of italia.

good luck to me and may God bless my journey.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


few more days and i'm almost sure to be in italy by sunday. i'm scheduled to get my visa by either the 20th or the 21st this month but i'll probably get it on the 22nd since i need to be in malaysia for our project's deployment and user training. i'm not that excited but i'm definitely delighted to be there. this is more than i have expected. i mean, i just wanted to try working abroad and help my family, but to be in four(4) countries in a year? well that's good luck.

i'll be training there for Siemen's SIMATIC IT Unilab basic course which i honestly think will not be used by the company. but anyway, it's a sure boost to my curriculum vitae.

i'm still thinking about resigning, but a few days before, boss talked to me and asked if i'll be staying long in the company. sort of an assurance since they'll be sending me for training. i was caught of guard, and usually i'm a lousy liar, and i was still. i merely answered, "If everything's ok sir, then why not." whew, that was close. he said that doesn't sound good hehe (w/o the hehe of course) and later said that he'll just take it as a yes, which i politely responded with a slight nod.

well, we'll see what'll happen. ugh.

another variable to affect my decision is the possibility that my girlfriend will be here for six months if ever everything goes well with the processing for her OJT. finally we'll be together after being separated for uhmm since last march. we'll it's a blessing and a sign that we are indeed meant for each other (mushy mushy).

that's all for now. i'll try to write about my trip on my next entry.