I am preparing to go to the conference. I believe the dress with jacket that I brought for this occasion will be a little warm, but I plan to wear them regardless of the heat. I will go barelegged and sandal-footed, though, and bring hose and pumps to change into once I arrive. I am sure the fancy hotel will be suitably climaticized. A city bus ticket is in my possession and ready to go. I'll have to walk about six blocks to find the bus around 7:30 in the morning, if I wake up and grab breakfast as early as possible, that is.
On Wednesday, I went to the Galileo Museum of Science on a tip from a British artist whom I met at dinner on Tuesday. I went there first thing. In fact, I got there just as the doors were opening and was the fourth person in after a family of three from Finland. (The ticket salesperson was skeptical that the daughter of that family was actually 14 years old and merited the discount ticket for children, but I commented that Finns are tall people and she consented after contemplating this suggestion.) It was nice to be somewhere away from the crowds and not feel pressed to hurry through.
It is an amazing place and I am glad I found out about it and made it my excursion for the day. I have seen the telescopes owned by Galileo and many of the instruments he invented. I have also seen the bones of three of the fingers of his right hand preserved and on display without even a shrine or poetry as a remembrance. It is strange.
I have to note something here, speaking of stray fingers. Before I noticed Galileo's bones, but after I had looked at his telescopes, I felt a strange sensation. It was as if a finger was gently but firmly pressing into my right hip. I was arrested by the sensation, though it took a couple of minutes to identify it as feeling like a finger touching me. No-one else was close to me. The sensation and thought that it might perhaps be a finger of a spirit who had singled me out, caused me to move to the left, having been pressed from the right. Now that I think of it, it was soon after that that I entered the chamber where the fingers are on display. Weird, but acceptable and plausible to my way of thinking.
There was two much information and I have very little education in physics, that I only spent an hour there. Photos were allowed as long as the flash mode was not used, but I discovered while I was there that I had forgotten to put the battery, which I left to recharge after I got up this morning, back into the apparatus, though I brought the camera with me. Darn! Sorry. Well, we no doubt can find images of the artifacts on the internet these days.
That is all the touring I felt like doing today. I stopped for a cappuchino at a truly local cafe on the way back to the hotel, and picked up a salame panini to go at the same place. At the hotel, the Korean girls were still hanging around. I put in a small load of laundry and returned to the room to eat my panini at the table and wait for the wash cycle to finish. After eating, and hanging up the stuff to dry, I bought a 150ml bottle of white wine and sat sipping the wine and reading. The bugs were too much of a nuisance out in the garden, so I sat in the empty dining hall, feet raised up on a bench.
The room of eight beds looks like a laundering operation with everyone's laundry hung up in some fashion or another. My current mates are all young Korean women. Their habits can be annoying if you are from another culture. The use way to much water. They slam doors, not thinking to turn the handle. They put up lines from bunk to wall hook or bunk to bunk for their laundry and are always washing things out in the bathroom. They open up all their bags frequently, and leave things strewn around the room. They use the bathroom like they do Korean bathrooms, using the whole room to wash rather than just a basin or shower stall and that leaves the floor flooded much of the time. Some of the girls tend to natter about nothing for long stretches with their pals, until they are too exhausted. They language is all around me in the hostel.
For me, in this case, there is no reprieve from Korean culture on this vacation half way around the world in a completely different milieu, Florence. I suppose the owner of the hostel could be Korean, or they have targeted Korean youth. This seems to be the place for young Korean travelers to stay in Florence. I have seen other Koreans who are mostly older and in tour groups or couples on romantic holidays.
Friday, June 13
I have arrived to the hotel for the start of the second day of the conference. Yesterday went well, with several people taking an interest and talk to me about my book of short stories that I am featuring with a poster presentation. In fact, two people have taken a couple of the books. The hotel is comfortable. The conference is small, with only about 30 people sitting in three meeting rooms. The topics and presenters are quite diverse, but many of them of high quality and well worth attending. The lunch was grand, though the coffee service deficient considering that the coffee and hot water are not hot, and the coffee overbrewed and crude tasting. The banquet last night was fun and a special treat. I took a taxi with a Swiss-American who lives as an expat teaching English in Switzerland. A married guy, it is a dead-end but he was interesting to talk with. Arriving for the feast early, we hung out by the river and sat with a glass of wine, then went wandering around to find the designated restaurant, which we found after bumping into other conference participants and stumbling upon the correct location. We went underground where it was rustic, cool but humid. They gave us a traditional five-course meal including two glasses of red wine and amaretto liqueur after dessert. My company included two of the conference organization staff members, the guy mentioned above, a Polish woman, a Georgian-American from New York, and an American currently living and writing on sabbatical in the Canary Islands. It was fun as we went through a lot of topics and some of them humourous, winding up at some kind of risque jokes about errors of translation in various languages.
We had to leave by 10:30, so it was not very late. I just had to walk over the bridge and through old Florence town to get back to the hostel. On the way there, I stopped at a bridge to observe the full moon reflected in the calm water on this rare occasion of Friday the 13th. It was also a special night because the Italian national soccer team was playing the Brazil team at the World Cup Football tournament in Brasil. People were standing and sitting around televisions set up in open cafes and bars. Yes, it was a special night. I'll post the picture of the moon and the river later.
I got ahead of myself in posting these blogs; hence the delay, and the overlap of two days of reporting. I think I am back on track now. Tomorrow will be the 180th day of blogging on this project, A Year of Positive Thinking, which will mark the halfway point and time to compile Volume 2 and start the third Volume.