My critic number 1, after reading the last entry on this blog, complained that it was too serious. (I suspect it is the "homework" at the bottom of the post that turned him off. I never said it was mandatory homework!)
A blog on happiness, he said, should be fun to read.
Fair enough! So I decided to intersperse some lighter, funner posts in between the serious ones. This will take 3 forms:
1) The Travel Tales posts
2) The Laughing Matters posts
3) The Blissful Moments posts
Today, we'll start with Travel Tale # 1: Venice
Venice! ah! Venice! the beautiful, the romantic, the marvellous. Venice has been called a number of superlatives including "La Dominante", "Serenissima", and "Queen of the Adriatic". According to Luigi Barzini, it is "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man". And who has not heard about Venice being one of the most romantic cities?
Traveling with a friend, I arrived in Venice one early morning on the 3rd night train in a row. And who says night train says sleep deprivation + no shower = a pretty awful state to be in after 72 hours.
Needless to say, I was in a foul mood even before setting foot on the lagoon.
It was a nice, sunny, warm spring day. I didn't care. I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was to find a spot to sit (and hopefully doze off) in the shade on the Piazza San Marco. Our budget being what it was (minuscule), we figured the gondolas were way too expensive. Taxi boats? Forget about it. Walking is free. Let's walk, we decided. Well, if you didn't know it, the walk from Venice's train station to Piazza San Marco is a long one, especially when you get lost one too many times in the maze of tiny pedestrian streets that, more often than not, end in a cul-de-sac. (Why didn't we have a good map? Too expensive, maybe?)
We ended up in the Piazza after what seemed an endless and very frustrating walk (the huge, heavy backpacks we were carrying were not making it any easier, either... but we didn't have enough money to leave them in the train station's lockers, right?) I was hot. Tired. I felt more irascible than ever. Everyone walking by seemed to be taunting me with their classy outfits, perfect hairdos, and blissful smiles. I wanted to kick them all in the "/$%?&* (after putting my all-too-bulky backpack on the ground, that is). To make matters worse, the tackiest music ever was played by virtually every musician around the Piazza. There were cute couples kissing in every corner, friends chatting away while sipping on their unaffordable drinks. My own fiance was about 7000 km away, and my water bottle was almost empty.
That's when I noticed them. How could I not? They were EVERYWHERE. Small, cute, cooing and all. The PIGEONS. There were pigeon food (dry corn) vendors, too. I figured I had enough money for that! And spent the next half-hour feeding the birds, who eventually adopted my shoulders, arms, hands and head for perching. I was finally happy amongst my newfound little friends. My smile came back. I forgot about everything else. I realized that this trip - and Venice - was not that bad, after all. That night, I went to sleep content (on the 4th night train).
The following morning, I woke up with the worst case of gastroenteritis.
I blame the bird droppings.