Well, Gentle Readers, we survived 14 hours on a plane with a screaming toddler... just. AsyouknowBob, I am not that fond of small children ("Anyone who hates children and small dogs isn't all bad" (widely attributed to W C Fields but open to discussion), but it's the parents who are usually to blame. They had four kids, three of whom didn't make a peep the entire flight, and the screaming monster. Did they give the kid a dummy? Did they F**k. They just let him scream and scream and scream and scream... OMG. All I can say is thank the ghods for noise eliminating earphones and Emirates'* excellent inflight entertainment system.
I watched 3 movies in an attempt to drown out the little shit. Elysium (not bad, a bit too much crash bang wallop, and not enough Elysium, but it was lovely to see the always gorgeous Jodie Foster in action), About Time, which is a nice (and very English) film from the clever Richard Curtis, which reduced me to tears (in a good way), and The Butler, which was an interesting take on two of the sides of the American Civil Rights movement, and which had quite a good performance from some woman called Oprah Winfrey - apparently she has a show on TV in America so maybe she needed the money?**
Anyway, the 6 hours from Dubai to Rome was blessedly silent, mostly because I was crammed into a 17" wide sardine tin of a seat, mouth open and a stream of drool issuing forth as I slept. Or so Mr G tells me.
We arrived two hours (two whole hours!) early, and our driver was there to meet us. Honestly, Gentle Readers, before you look askance at each other and ask "Driver? Oooh" in that snarkey tone, just be aware that for Eu37, you too can be met at the airport by a well dressed man holding a sign with your name on it, have your bags taken from you, be ushered into the back of a spotlessly clean Mercedes Benz and driven right to your door, where the bags are then taken back out of the car. Having rung the doorbell, said spotlessly dressed man waits until the door is answered, shakes your hand, takes your money and drives off into the night. Yes, it's (only slightly) more expensive than the train & a taxi, but really, on a cold wet Sunday night, who cares?
And then, this morning, breakfast:
Eu5. That's $A7.70 for two excellent coffees and two fresh, delicious cornetti (mine was chocolate, his was poppy seed). You can buy two coffees in Sydney for $7.00 - in fact, in 2011 in Perth, at a particular hospital, a very ordinary coffee in a paper cup with nasty plastic stirrer was $4.50... so you see, Gentle Readers, even with a truly crap exchange rate, Europe is mostly cheap.
Also, I now know where those amazing men who sell umbrellas come from - they pop up out of Churches:
We were crossing Corso Vittorio Emmanuel II on the way home from an excellent lunch (two beers, a glass of wine, two pizzas, a bottle of sparkling water, Eu37/$A57) when I spotted these guys. I love Rome.
*Not a sponsored plug, but if anyone from Emirates is reading this & wants to upgrade us, feel free.