Venice, real and imagined

Venice is not what I expected. If you stick to the touristy parts — and I did — your chances of interacting with Venetians drops dramatically.

We didn’t have Jamie Oliver’s squadrons of producers doing in-depth research on where to eat. We didn’t have scads of cameramen shooting fabulous B-roll. It was just me and a friend, working on very little sleep, and no Internet connectivity.

Rambling and ambling.

We made a mistake and took a water taxi from Marco Polo International Airport. I can’t say or type “Marco Polo” without thinking of Beavis calling him “that Mark Polio guy.” The water taxi took forever, and we ended in the dead center of tourist-trap hell.

So my friend and I hoofed it for about an hour to try and find some measure of peace.

Let’s be honest, if you don’t live in a place like the dude above, you gotta order you a liter or two of liquid tranquility.

We stopped at two places — drinking a liter of overpriced prosecco (14 euro — expensive for Italy) at a place owned by Pakistani immigrants.

We moved onto a place owned by Malaysian immigrants. I didn’t care about quality, I cared about not being rubber-hosed by restaurateurs who can spot a sucker at 50 meters. I ordered a crappy pizza and some beer, and was happy not to have spent more than 20 bucks.

But let’s be honest, this place is as photogenic as a supermodel. You don’t need to be J.J. Abrams to take shots such as this.

And, going back to the subject of supermodels for a moment, let’s not forget that it’s getting really hot here en Italia (90+ Fahrenheit yesterday). …

A friend wise in the ways of Italy said the other day, “ ‘Dirty Old Man Season’ is just getting started.”

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