Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jason Robards Helps Me Smuggle - Italy IV

The next morning after my shower, I put on my long madras shorts and sleeveless blouse. I brought along a shirt with long sleeves so that I could get into the Vatican later in the day. I went across the street for the best cappuccino in the world and then was on my way to get those earrings.

Unfortunately, he was not for sale. Or was he?

The jewelry shop was near by and was open! Hurrah! So I went in and the lady proprietor was quite pleased to see me. She immediately fetched the earrings from the back and they were just as entrancing as I remembered them. But, I told her, “My big problem is that I can’t get these for myself and bring nothing home for my twin sister. I have already searched your entire store and have not seen any earrings my sister would like.”

She said, “No problem Signora. Uno momento, per favore. ” She went to the front of the store and locked the glass doors. Then she went to the back of the store and unlocked the wall safe. Once the big safe door was open she began removing the black velvet lined drawers. Each drawer was about 2 square feet (0.6 meters) and she took out three of them. Each was piled with glittering gold earrings. It was a veritable pirates’ treasure of jewelry and my dream come true! I had to paw through it all to find ones that my sister would like. Once my heart rate slowed to normal and I could take regular breaths again, I began to look seriously and methodically. I found them pretty quickly. What a disappointment; I was having so much fun. So, I bought both pairs to the delight of the lady proprietor. Then I wondered about getting them through US Customs. So I asked the lady if she knew what the duty would be. I mean, she must know, all she does all day is sell jewelry to foreigners.

She said, “Ah Signora, no problem. Just wear them home and tell the Customs agent that they are yours and you brought them with you on your trip to Rome.”

Oh yeah, I thought, they will believe that. Right. These are the biggest, most opulent earrings I own to date. They just scream, “Look at me; I was bought in Italy!!!” I am fair complexioned and petite and really have to dress up big time to carry these babies off. I don’t think so. So, I thanked her profusely, she put away the drawers, locked the safe and unlocked the door and I was on my way.

Some sights of Rome that I passed on my way to the Vatican

My next stop was the Vatican to get the Saint Theresa medal for my friend Terry. I decided to walk since it was sunny but it was also getting very hot. I crossed Saint Peter’s Square and was about to climb the steps, when two Vatican Guards blocked my path. I had donned my shirt, so I couldn’t understand what the problem was. They seemed to be trying to be somber and quiet, but I was confused and wondering what was wrong with my attire. After some gesturing, it seems that my madras shorts did not cover my knees enough.

You may be cute, but you ain't getting into St. Pete's dressed like that.

Fuck! I was so frustrated. I hunted through the souvenir shops for a flag or scarf to cover my knees, but there was none. I was not going all the way back to my hotel; too far to walk, too expensive to cab. So, I looked in the shops just outside Saint Peter’s Square. I found one right across the street from the entrance to the square that sold religious articles. I went in. The medallions there were nicer than in the Vatican, but were not blessed by the Pope. I felt that I had failed because I could not get one from the Vatican. But, I got a really nice silver Saint Theresa medallion for Terry. [She was very pleased with it and I admitted the whole shorts incident.] So, just remember if you go to the Vatican, that God does not want to see your arms or knees. He used to not want to see the top of a woman’s head either, but he’s over that now. See, how over the centuries God matures?

On my way home, I wandered into the Villa Borghese to see the views of Rome from the hill top. Of course the Vatican Dome is visible from every where in Rome.

From there I could also see the Piazza del Popolo, which I don’t recall visiting on my last trip, so went down to see it more closely. That is the thing with Rome. Everywhere you turn there is ancient history. I was fascinated by the Egyptian elements of the Piazza as described in Wikipedia:

“An Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II from Heliopolis stands in the centre of the Piazza. The obelisk, known as the obelisco Flaminio, is the second oldest and one of the tallest in Rome (some 24 m high, or 36 m including its plinth). The obelisk was brought to Rome in 10 BC by order of Augustus and originally set up in the Circus Maximus. It was re-erected here in the Piazza by the architect-engineer Domenico Fontana in 1589 as part of the urban plan of Sixtus V. The Piazza also formerly contained a central fountain, which was moved to the Piazza Nicosia in 1818, when fountains in the form of Egyptian-style lions were added around the base of the obelisk.”

I was in love with the Egyptian lions and wanted to take one home.

The heat was overwhelming me then. So I walked back to the hotel, window shopping all the way. Once I arrived, I took a very refreshing shower and nap. The whole week hit my like a train. The schedule itself, Dr. D and I had done so much work, touring, shopping, and socializing. I was truly overwhelmed. I just wanted to stay in and rest. So I ordered room service dinner; some pasta and proscuitto I think and it was fabulous. I watched Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in Italian and was able to understand it. Not a Saintly miracle dear readers, just a simplistic script and plot.

Then I began to pack my one carry on bag for my flight home tomorrow at noon. I decided that I would smuggle the gold earrings into the US to avoid paying duty. I was almost broke just from buying them in the first place and I had saved for just such an expenditure. I wrapped the bow earrings in tissue and stuffed them into a metal band aid box, and put my sister’s earrings into an overly large plastic floss box (the floss was almost all gone anyhow) and left a string of floss trailing out of the top of the box as if the spool was still in there. If the earrings were found there would be no doubt that I was smuggling them since attempts were made to hide them. Having never smuggled anything before in my life I was really nervous, but I decided that that was tomorrow’s problem. So I slept soundly that night.


Ryan said...


em said...

what a lucky girl i am! thanks sis!

Sue said...

Ryan, Thanks!

Well, I should think so sis! BTW - HB!!!