Italy (gnocchi and joe cocker)
When we arrived in Italy, there was a strict “no getting shit faced and smashing up your face” rule implemented. Essentially the crew was allowed to go out and drink wine with dinner and maybe have some casuals, but if anyone got caught coming back to the boat shittered, they would be up shits creek. It took every ounce of will power I had not to chase southern Italian ladies all over Brindisi. Fortunately the table wine there is so fucking good that you spend more time filling your glass and mowing pasta then doing much of anything else. A colleague and I had also made plans to do a quick stop over in Rome on our way home, thus I was able to keep my greasy ambitions in their holster for the remainder of my work trip.
Rome came out of nowhere. Stein, my Norwegian colleague, and I, had just over 24 hours there. We took maximum advantage of our time. We spent the entire day foot touring around Rome, drinking beer, wandering through sites and being drunk fucking-tourists. There was more than one occasion where we were halted inside a cathedral or art gallery and asked to dispose of our beer or leave. On every occasion we propositioned the third option of chugging the beers and were usually accommodated.
Between sightseeing and getting greased on Castello’s, Stein and I still managed to clothing shop and get me a new shirt and dress pants. I had worn only shorts and flip-flops to the Arctic Circle. I don’t know why. Call it a hunch that we would wind up in the Mediterranean. Either way, I needed nice clothes to get into any decent bar in Rome. Newly kitted-out we made our way around the city hopping between taxi’s and wherever we could get more beer and occasionally a dish of gnocchi. By 1am we had landed at an international student bar known for sweet music and cheap beer. Somewhere along the way we had met a girl, god only knows what her name was, or what she thought of us. She did humour us for quite awhile. She walked us around her neighborhood pointing out cool architecture and neat corner stores, where we obviously bought more beer than two dick heads would ever need.
She was the one who pointed us to the student bar. So I guess I have her to thank for the fucking mess the night turned into. At some point we wound up at the biggest karaoke bar I have ever seen. It was like an Irish Pub themed nightclub that focused on karaoke. There were probably 2000 people in the joint. I immediately set about submitting some song requests. Unfortunately the drinks were easier to get than a track on the karaoke machine. Thus, when Joe Cocker’s “Felling Alright” finally came up, I was too sheets to the liquor and completely wasted. I don’t have the clearest memory of how it went down, but I do know I rocked the fuck out. And whatever I did was good enough because I left that fucking-place with an Italian girl who was three inches taller than me and literally did not speak any English at all.
I don’t know when and where I lost Stein. The next time I do recall seeing him that “night” was when I came into our hotel room at 7am. He was either sleeping or was still awake with an American girl. According to Stein I shuffled into the room, introduced myself to his lady friend and immediately got in my bed and fell asleep.
“How’d you do last night” Stein said to me in the taxi on the way to the airport the later that day.
“Well if taking the worlds most expensive taxi ride across Rome, just to spend the sunrise on a park bench making out and trying to learn Italian, is a win, then I’d say I Won.” I said with my head against the taxi window. We both laughed. As the taxi left Rome it felt more like a draw to me.