November 15, 1998
Coming down to Italy on the train from Belgium, some inspectors entered my cabin and started going through my things. They found a little packet of nutritious grasses, meant to be stirred into a glass of spring water and downed before a marathon. They said, “What is this?” I said, “Grass.” They looked at me strangely, but no Midnight Express ensued. In Florence (little like a flower, much like a hammer), I asked the shapely cappuccino-maker “Che ora tu liberatore?” which means, I found out later, not “What time are you free?” but either 1) nothing, or 2) “What time are you open?” Got a phrase book after two days of smiling and pointing. Now I speak long sentences which mean things that no one understands. Slept in a decaying vineyard first night out of Florence. Put on four pairs of pants, eight shirts, underwear over my ears. Should have brought a sleeping bag but figured I’d have a girlfriend. When I arrived in Siena, I found a field behind a condominium and slept there that night and for the next four nights. Got a bed in the Ostello della gioventu when the rain got serious. The beauty of this place would knock the stuffing out of an olive. A presto.