Do you want to hear a miscommunication story that would leave you confused and not wanting to eat McDonald’s for a month?
Let me tell you…
In the Summer of 2000, I took a solo trip to Europe! This was my reward for finally graduating from university! After 10 years; long hours, low marks, high marks, lots of coffee, studying at odd hours, lousy interpreters, great interpreters, $2 buck beer, etc etc… You get the picture!
I stopped in a few places, each has a story to tell, yes, I’ll get to them…
Being Deaf-Blind, traveling solo, I enjoyed it! But there were some issues:
- Heathrow stoppage 2000…
- Getting lost in Prague, at night…
- Walking in on an amorous couple at the co-ed hostel…
- The scramble with Fruit in Prague.
- Train berth battles; losing two, winning one.
- Getting lost, with the wife-to-be, on the mean streets of Paris.
- etc etc etc
This specific blog focuses on a my unplanned, impromptu stop in Firenze, Italy.
How I actually got to Firenze will be explained in another blog…
Firenze, which you probably know as Florence, is a beautiful city! And I only had enough time to eat breakfast… at McDonald’s! Geez!
Italy, Summer, Train station, McDonald’s, I’m hungry!
Having traveled, overnight I believe, from Prague to Firenze, I was hungry.
I did not bring any food with me on the train, as I was supposed to arrive in the early morning, 8ish if I recall, which I can’t, I’m guessing. I was supposed to get off at … That will be told to you in the next blog…
At the Firenze station, I spy those ubiquitous golden arches, and amble towards them. Amble? Oh, did I mention I was backpacking across Europe? So I have this huge backpack on my back, a fanny bag in front, and a white cane in my right hand.
In line, I pull out my trusty pad of paper and jot down:
- 3 Egg McMuffins (With Egg)
- 5 Hashbrowns
Then, because in Canada, breakfast stopped at 11 AM, I wrote on the backL
- if breakfast closed
- 3 cheeseburgers
- 1 large fry
I wrote these things down not because my Italian was lousy, heck, I couldn’t speak a word anyways. I wrote them down because I was Deaf-Blind. I wanted to be clear.
Having reached the cash, I showed the two young Italian McD workers the breakfast side of my order. I then mimed “Deaf me.” In that two second pause, they both looked at the paper, then at me, again at the paper. I interpreted that as “Breakfast is finished” and reached for the paper. I handed it back showing the other side. Pow, they saw that and went to work! Eager to please!
I thought to myself, as I strained under the weight of my pack, “That went smoothly!”
They used the old style cube cash machine, which didn’t really display the order, just the price.
I had some Lira already, having changed a traveler’s cheque, and proceeded to give them bills. They gave me change and a big bag… plus a coffee! (Yes, I do know the absurdity of drinking McD’s coffee in Italy! Please rub it in!)
I juggle all that and ascend some stairs to a table overlooking the station. Boy am I starving!
Having put the pack aside, I tore into my lunch: I pulled out Three Cheeseburgers, a large fry and felt something else warm in the bag… Oh what’s this? An Egg McMuf… I look into the bag, there is my breakfast too! And the five hash browns! Oh geez! I felt ripped off, then I felt upset that my simple note was misunderstood!
I did eat as much as I could, and left the rest somewhere in hopes that a homeless person could have a nice brunch!
I got the train a few minutes later. Heading to Trento and some serious spoiling at my friend’s cousin’s house!
Next: How I got to Firenze.
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