Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Car shopping and finally, a day out on the town!

My goal is to write once a week about the previous week... we'll see how this goes!

Last week we test drove car after car, so that eventually we'll be free to roam the city as we please. On base there is a "lemon lot" where people who are moving park their cars to advertise them, so that the people moving in can potentially buy their car. It's a fairly simple process, but cars are moving in and out everyday, and you don't know which car is actually better then the other cuz they're ALL more than 10 years old, some look better than others, etc, and not to mention we know nothing about the quality of European cars such as Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat... etc. James and I go back and fourth because I feel like if we're living in Europe, let's drive a car that looks like we live in Europe! Not a car that looks like we could have brought it over from the states! That doesn't matter to him, so we'll see how this goes...

There was this one total European car that we test drove, it was small (duh!), a pale lime green, French and quite an experience to test drive! The owner was French... need I say more, hah! All the cars here are Manual, which is fine, but they are a little different. Kind of like a BWM, but still- different. For my stick drivers- in the USA, forward you'll find 1, 3 & 5 and then back you'll find 2, 4 & R... in European cars (like BMWs) I believe it's forward: R, 2 & 4 and back: 1, 3, 5... we'll this French car was forward R, 1, 3, 5 and back: 2, 4... weird... not only that, there's loop that you have to lift up in order to put the car in reverse (it's right below where you put your hand on the stick)... It's possibly that you didn't quite follow that, but at least now you can share the confusion I had! As I'm driving the French guy says, "you don't drive manual cars?" And James (knowing that's one of my pet peeves, because I could drive stick BEFORE I even had my license... not to mention, who drives a automatic GT Mustang? I mean really...) says, "actually she drives one back home, it's just different here." Then he says "oh, do you have a car? Is this your second car? Or is this for your wife?" (Background: lots of people have one nicer car and then a commuter or second car) James tell him this would actually be our first, he says "oh, I always thought Americans liked everything big" Hahaha... kind of funny. So as much as the French don't like us- he wasn't doing his people a favor either, just saying...

So, finally, the last day of Area Orientation was Monday, and for that day we were taken out to downtown Naples to explore! We took a bus to another base, and from there caught the metro. It's much cheaper than the DC Metro, 1.10 Euro. The way it works is that the pass is only valid for 90 minutes after you validate it, and you validate it as your walking on. Oh and there is graffiti everywhere, only here it's not gangs, it's kids. We rode the metro and got off by a popular coffee shop where I had my first cappuccino! It was amazing! It was perfectly strong enough and LOTS of flavor that I feel like I've been missing out on in my day to day cup of coffee, or even a Starbucks Capp- no comparison! Anyway, we explored the city, walked down to the water (gorgeous), saw some castles, churches, royal palace, the incredible opera house, etc, and also walked back up through the popular shopping streets. We walking into some more expensive places like Louis Vuitton, where when we walked in a man greeted us with a "hello..." killing any thought we might of had about fitting in! Hah! Then there were some less expensive and local shops, and of course United Colors of Benetton, Armani, Lacoste etc. After that we had lunch. James had small Penne noodles, which I believe had olive oil on them, and Kalamata olives, chicken and tomatoes- I think... whatever... delicious! With Fried chicken breast, bread and potatoes! I'm getting hungry thinking about it! I had Penne noodles with tomato sauce and mozzarella, egg plant stuffed with ham and mozzarella and, of course, a slice of bread. Perfect first real Italian lunch for us both! Lunch was followed up with fresh Gelato, a scoop of vanilla with Chocolate chips and a scoop of Coffee for James, and a scoop of Lemon on a cone for me! It is definitely as good as they say! Finally we walked through the market and hopped back on the metro back home. I hit some zzz's every time we sat. This was a quick review of the day but it was a lot of walking!

Now I'm planning for the holiday weekend. It's July fourth weekend, James has 4 days off and Kendall is supposed to be visiting! They tentative plan is Downtown Naples, Pompeii and Capri! Can't wait!

Random moment of the week:
I was looking at an Italian vendor's leather coats and then he started speaking to me in Italian, I looked at him confused and did the smile and nod thing, then he said "you don't speak Italian? You look Italian," Hah! Good to know that I can some what fit it as long as I don't speak, hah!




  1. Hello again,

    Your life sounds really exciting! :O) it's so cool how the seemingly simple parts of life here become so much more complex in another country... I love the car story, and I'm excited to hear about what you end up getting. I'm sure you'll give American women drivers a good name with the Italians ;O)

    Can't wait to read more!!! Do you want to try to skype on Saturday? I'll try to figure out if I still have a profile... I am quite pathetic.

  2. I know! Oh the things we take for granted...

    I'm going to try my best to drive like the Italians do but still be legal! Hah!... When in Rome... ;-)