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Monday, August 12, 2013

Father knows best by John von Daler

                 It was, at age 63, my second trip to #Venice. I had been there before at 14. This time I was determined to make the whole thing a lot easier.

                The first time had been with my parents. We had stayed out at the #Lido and had sailed back and forth to #Piazza San Marco by water bus. Our arrival in 1959 late at night had distinguished itself by the long and tedious trip in a water bus to our hotel. We had been tired, out of sorts and slightly scared as we sailed through the dark waters in the almost empty boat that visited every factory and every warehouse in the vicinity.

                I told my wife that this time I, unlike my father, would pay the extra fee that it would cost to take a water taxi directly to our hotel that was located quite a way from Piazza San Marco. There would be no messing around; we would just have to realize that while expensive, the expenditure would be worth it after our arrival in the middle of the night.

                When we landed at the airport at 11:30, I directed my wife down to the dock. Sure enough, there were plenty of taxis waiting. We inquired as to the price of being sailed to our hotel. It was over 100 Euros, enough to buy us a couple of very good meals in the coming week. My resolve disappeared. We asked about the bus. It would come in about a half an hour.

                After the long wait we took the bus that sailed just as I remembered past all the warehouses and factories and thieves dens that could be found, before it left us on the empty Piazza San Marco at long past midnight. We had to pull out a map in the dark to see that our hotel was a good walk away. My wife had a suitcase on wheels, so I shouldered mine and we began the trek through the gloomy streets, past the occasional pocket of light where discotheques spilled rowdy groups of young men into the night. I lead the way trying to look as tough as possible.

                It took us about a half an hour to make the trip. My wife's traveling shoes got ruined and my reputation with her was not top-notch, especially after we arrived at the hotel. The young man we awakened peered at his watch in the dark and said like an irate parent at two in the morning, Where have you been!?

                I explained that we had taken the water bus to San Marco to which he replied, slightly peeved, that we could just have taken the airport bus that drove directly along the causeway from the airport and took twenty minutes.

                Causeway? What causeway?

                I slept way over on my side of the bed that night while I dreamed of getting lost again and again in a moon landscape that proved to be my own brain. I'm a pretty literal dreamer. 



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