The other day, I mentioned to Anthonette that I didn't really feel like a world traveler. Rather, I feel more like a tourist. We were eavesdropping on some 20 year old dude from Palo Alto, CA talking about his experiences in Italy. He was giving some other travelers some pointers on Rome. Meanwhile, he was asking questions and ordering things from the wait staff in Italian. He'd spent some real time living in Rome. I think ultimately, his ability to speak some of the language made me feel inadequate. (Later that evening, he was super drunk at the hostel and was having a "profound" conversation with his drunker friend. Any admiration I had for him flew out the window.)
As I rode the train to Venice, reading tips from a Rick Steves book, I felt like such a tourist. There are times when I embrace being a tourist, having the privilege to visit a place and experience the best (usually) it has to offer. Other days like today, I think that I'm not connecting with enough people. I'm not getting to know what the locals are really about.
As the train ride went on, I decided that every place is different. I can't predict what I'll get from my visit. At the end of the day, the tourist experience is still an experience. I know that if I really need more time in a place, ultimately I can come back. And if I find a very good reason to stick around a place, I will adjust my schedule for her. (you see what I did there?)
Venice is extremely expensive. Fortunately my host here fed me pasta and salad while we discussed our families, Italian rudeness, and seducing Russian women. Afterwards, I took a walk to Piazza San Marco. The atmosphere was pleasant with orchestras playing around the square. It was amazing to finally see this place I'd seen depicted in so many paintings and films. I can't wait to see it in the daylight tomorrow. Right now, I must resist the urge to watch Entourage Season 3 (Thanks Jimmy C) and get some rest.