You know when you’re at McDonald’s post-clubbing?
Yes, yes you do.
Everyone pretty much looks like hell. Girls are walking barefooted with feet dragging across the filthy filthy linoleum floor, dudes are squinty-eyed and discussing the night’s triumphs and mishaps, and it is arguably one of the grossest places to be picked up at at the end of the night.
There’s always a few people who are still club-drunk and are laughing loudly, sputtering out their menu order with the coherency of a toddler, and are generally making a fool out of themselves.
That’s Winda and I, the morning after we’ve broken Fabrizio’s ancient key, missed our morning train to Florence, and are subsequently left wondering our purpose in life in an Italian McDonald’s. We buy 1 euro espresso shots.
We are so. Freaking. hHngover.
It is 9:00 AM in Rome — we had to leave Fabrizio’s apartment due to his checkout policy/we needed to get out of there ASAP before we broke anything else of his.
We are laughing-slash-crying because our heads hurt so much from last night’s escapades. We look like crap. We have our giant backpacks with us — of which is comedic in itself because our backpacks look like they could eat us.
Just to backtrack a bit, this was not our only drunk night in Rome. We also had the opportunity to party with some ridiculous Italians.
Lemme tell you the story.
We’ve set up at Campo de’ Fiori. We have our mojitos, our grape-flavoured hookah. We are basking. A group of Italian dudes at the next table motion towards us to join their table. We submit to their boyish timidness (derived from speaking in broken English) and yet, their Casanova calibre assertiveness. They literally move all of our stuff — our drinks, hookah, table, and chairs — to join their table.
Naturally, they begin introducing themselves. Here we have a lawyer, e-commerce specialist, accountant, and..
“Taxi driver!” They exclaim in unison, pointing out their most outgoing friend whom had initially approached us. He smiles sheepishly. They pause for a second, taking in his self-consciousness. “… And stylist!” They add with enthusiasm/thick Italian accents, pronouncing it stye-leest!
We chat. They are hilarious. One of them, named Francesco, has an amazing handlebar moustache — reminiscent of our friend Alessandro — and continuously strokes it. They talk about their jobs and the friends emphasize just how stylish the Taxi Driver-sash-Stylist is. They really want us to know that he is more than just a taxi driver.
The Stylist invites us to a club.
We get into a cab and head to a Roman club. In hindsight, was it a good idea to get into a cab with strange Italians? I’m gonna say no…
Bumpin’ is not the word I’d use for the club we’re at — maybe simply interesting. The Stylist turns out to be an amazing dancer. Really amazing. Winda steals his stylish hat. We booty bump with Francesco. The Stylist does the Harlem Shake a few times. The ratio between men and women at this club is way off.
I can’t really remember all the details of getting home, but we do. A cab takes us back to our AirBnb in trastevere and I remember him asking for a kiss instead of paying him in euros.
Hard pass, my friend.
Ciao, Roma! You were so good to us.
Sidenote: I come back again for another adventure later on in my Eurotrip — this second time we meet two Italian boys who ask us if we’d like to break into the Coliseum! God bless the Italians.
A long and enchanted sigh escapes from my lips as I think about Italian food. First order of bidness is obvious then:
After praising the Lord Holy Jesus for bringing forth Italian cuisine, we meet an Italian. By the colosseum. And he insists on buying us gelato. We are not in Rome–at least not per se–we are, in fact, in a Lizzie McGuire movie.
He’s in fitted jeans — rolled and cuffed above the ankle — spotless Converse low-tops, a loose and perfectly draped sleeveless top, and round tortoise shell glasses. His hair is nicer than mine — a sublimely curled quiff — of which he runs his fingers through a little too often. He’s got olive skin, tanned to the perfect shade of beige from this Italian heat. He speaks in erratic hand gestures and a booming voice. To add to the spectacle, the man’s donning a handlebar moustache — of which he frequently strokes with his thumb and index finger (simultaneously) when in contemplation.
He is with an American friend. Oh, and his name is Alessandro.
“It was nice meeting you.” We are trying to leave.
Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t come to Rome to meet boys, y’all.
“I-ah woulda like to buy you gelato!” Alessandro boldly declares. His English is drenched in a heavy Italian accent and every statement sounds vehemently dramatic. The dude sounds like he’s reciting lines from a Greek tragedy.
I feel a sharp nudge in my ribs. Winda is very intrigued.
I stare at Alessandro. I’m flattered but not exactly swept off my feet by his proposal. We did not come to Rome to be swindled by some Italian casanova. “No, that’s okay.”
“No! I woulda like to!” He says. With more theatric hand gestures.
“You really don’t have to.”
“I-ah know I-ah don’t have to, but I-ah want to. I-ah inseest.” He insists.
Winda taps him on the shoulder to ask him the most important question of all. “Are you also buying me gelato?”
I can almost feel the soft breeze of her eyelashes steadily batting.
He squints at her behind his impossibly hipster glasses for a sec, as we hold our breaths, wondering just how well-versed he is in the art of Italian game. Any gentleman would extend the offer to a lady’s entire entourage.
“Yees. Yees, I-ah will!”
If you couldn’t tell already, Winda is the ringleader of all things organizational. I occasionally call her Monica–as in Monica from Friends–to shine light on her particular OCD-ness and to purposely grind her gears (she’s not too fond of Monica–the word hate is often used when I bring her up), but for real–God bless Winda and her incessant need for order.
She is the reason we have yet to be kidnapped and then human trafficked as a limited time Asian commodity. She is the reason why this trip exists. She is the reason why I get up in the morning–because, quite literally, she is the one near-violently shaking my shoulders and going, “Kaylynn! We have stuff to do today! Get up.”
As a personal challenge to myself (and possibly a means of amusement for Winda), I am given the reins upon our arrival in Budapest. It is my sole responsibility to find shelter in this foreign country. Our European adventuring vitality is in my hands.
“Go, Kaylynn.” Winda nods to what’s ahead of us. It’s almost 9PM in Budapest, the sun is beginning to set, and we’ve arrived in what looks like a neighbourhood where panhandling is its main source of income.
I pause and look at her with the uncertainty of a child. We have just taken a bus from Prague to Hungary, and it was sooooo relaxing: cappuccinos were flowing and righteously handed to us; we were all happily nestled in plushy leather seats and basking in non-stop air con.
Now I’m holding a fucking map. I hate maps. Don’t give me a map. I’m not in Vancouver anymore–there are no mountains indicating where north is. I’m so confused. And sad. So very sad.
Winda crosses her arms and gets increasingly tight-lipped as we venture back and forth around the subway station. We walk one direction. We stop. We go the other direction. We stop. The walking aimlessly continues.
We are padding along the dirty sidewalk with our massive backpacks and a look of perpetual bewilderment plastered on my face. I know the Monica Gellar that resonates deep inside her wants to point us in the right direction/wants to yell at me for being a navigational aberration.
I stall a little. I’m hoping to awaken the OCD beast within her.
“Ummmmm,” I bite my lip and pretend to read the street signs. It’s all in Hungarian. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. We venture towards what looks like a very dirty, spray-painted red, and audibly abandoned nightclub.
I get really sad for about ten seconds and wonder if I accidentally booked us a nonexistent/located in a shithole Airbnb. I had one job.
Winda’s now irritated and muttering under her breath–because I’m clearly leading us towards a Hungarian drug lord or a room full of money launderers.
I smile at her innocently, “Maybe it’s this way?” I offer despairingly, banking on any ounce of sympathy.
She doesn’t answer.
“Okay! I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE! Winda, help me!!!”
She snatches the map out of my hands and subsequently gets our shit in order. We arrive at our destination (it was five minutes away, in my defense) and meet our lovely Hungarian host. We also meet the most annoying person on the planet. And he lives with us.
2013 was tanned to a buttery kind of caramel-kissed skin, took on some great and some dirty hair, was situated under the fluffiest and most nearly-in-your-reach clouds, was all about Niall Horn, smelled like pineapple and salt water, was filled with the tastiest ish (but every year is about good food in my life), considered IHOP mornings/struggles to get up, felt like beach hair and sandy toes, introduced me to Sewing 101 where I failed miserably, had copious amounts of iced coffee, paved the way for Loofah Adventures, contained $3 wine, promoted bike lane usage, involved alcohol abuse, watched the sky move in the back of a pick-up truck, required doublé espresso shots, saw people come and saw people go, was dusted off with gold glitter and silver strings, floated on a several bodies of water, did not result in getting mugged in Stanley Park at night–although we did some things that might’ve triggered it, sipped on san gri gri with our heads tilted back, set one timid foot into the wilderness, fell in love with people in the nonromantic kind of way, had painted skies glowing above our heads, spoiled us with the most breathtaking of sights, offered lots of [undercover] marzipan, and was actually just chillin’ in a onesie this entire time…
2014 is hopefully going to be Belgium chocolate-dipped, doused clumsily in a cup of café au lait, hit with a paddle in a German beer hall, will stumble over ancient cobblestone in very cute shoes, will contain more One Direction (I am banking on the fantasy of running into Niall Horan hard–it’ll be in a pub in Ireland before he embarks on another great North American tour), is drenched in chili-infused extra virgin olive oil, and tastes the way only pizza tastes after every other establishment on the street is closed.
The best has yet to come! I am stoked for more beautiful things to come within the next year. If 2013 has taught me anything, is that I am incredibly lucky and incredibly annoying. I am lucky to have really amazing and beautiful friends–and it’s an honour to have been able to celebrate several milestones with all of them this year.
Went to lunch in this outfit with a friend from out of town (Oh my God, that sounds weird because it sounds so grown-up.) It was pretty funny resurfacing our really dumb stories from my last visit to the east coast.. Like sharing a futon, late at night and early AM subway rides, and I should’ve brought up the story of how said friend was there at my first 4AM movie premiere. They do NOT do 4AM movie premieres in Vancouver because forreal… who does?! I was post-club, walking from the nightlife district to the heart of downtown Toronto in heels, and in a drunk disarray to watch Iron Man–I can literally HEAR the complaints I must’ve going off with the entire way there.
Oh, and Lord help me if I’ve acquired a golf tan (pale feet, tanned everything), as my feet are looking mighty white next to my beige-ing legs..
– The forbidden dress
– *In an australian accent* “I’m from Sydney—Melbourne, Sydney. And he’s my best mate,” “Nobody cares.”
– ”You can’t talk to us unless you can dance like Beyonce.”
“I’m gonna go now..”
– The monkey-in-a-tree hat
– Vannie standing with her legs apart for stability because I kept booty poppin’ into her
– The ledge—“I was watching you dance on the ledge and was thinking.. If she falls, she’s going to fall into the VIP then onto the floor under the table.”
– Sab’s hand
– The Australians
– “You go ahead and giggle your way through life!”
“That’s exactly what I’ve done.”
– “So I see your friend is gay.”
– “Can i please hold your left hand?”
“Oh my God, what is his hand doing out? Is he doing a magic trick?”
– When that Australian guy actually tried dancing like Beyonce..
– So much rum
– “I was ten and my glasses flew off, and I was blind for the rest of our trip so I’m never going on it ever again.”
“There’s a sign that says no glasses allowed, Vannie.” — about the roller coaster on top of New York, New York
– “You girls are just vain.”
“IF WE WERE VAIN WE WOULD NOT BE TALKING TO YOU. THIS IS US BEING FRIENDLY”
– “Do you have a table? My feet hurt,” — Vannie to a completely random stranger at Pure
– Dancing our ASSES off @ Tao
– The Champagne Incident
– Talking about Diplo: “That’s the kind of sexy white boy we need to find you,”
– Sab and I talking shit. Just so much unnecessary shit.
– Wanting to leave Pure to have our lesbian bubble bath
– The American girl’s birthday
– Riding the roller coaster on New York, New York, thinking it was kiddie shit, but really we started crying.
– Overflowing the jacuzzi tub with bubbles and water, drenching our entire washroom, and proceeding to have a bubble fight in the hotel room.
– “Is this a private table?”
*he sits down anyways*
– Serendipity’s frozen hot chocolate is the BOMB diggity
– “Oh, there she is. That’s the one. That’s nice, that’s niiiiice.”
– “Girl where you from? I know where you from.. you from HEAVEN.”
– “Girl what’s yo name? Is yo name TASTY?”
– “You girls are gorgeous.”
“What did she say?”
“She said no?”
– The Ivy League school boys
– “Haaapppy birthday!”
“Thanks… Here’s your shot.”
– Blueberry vodka
– “Have a shot!”
“No. I puked in my own drink last night, I think I’m ok.”
– Puking patron in my own drink and setting it down casually at the bar
– Singing “I got patron in my cup cause I puked it up!”
– WHERE ARE ALL THE SEXY PEOPLE?
– “Are you white?”
“Excuse me? Did you just ask me if I was white?”
“Yeah, and I bet you’re Jewish too”
“I AM jewish!”
– Vannie talking to a drug launderer and me screaming “NOOOOO” so loud, Sab had to cover my mouth
– Vannie and “older” men
– Yes, we’re actually Charlie’s Angels but an all Asian version and we’re here to fight crime…
– About to get into the shoe at Cosmo, casino dealer walks over and says “Girls… Get yo ass in that shoe and lets take a picture!”
– Drew Zilla
– Me kissing every female at Tao
– “All we did was listen to house music and One Direction because of Kaylynn.”
– “Yeah, he has no friends.”
2 nights later..
“He’s 5 people behind us.”
“With no friends.”
– Dinner and Cirque du Soleil
– the Diamond Lounge
– “His name is Jesus Ortiz!”
“That’s probably a fake name. I mean, look at you. You just said ‘Oh my God, his name is Jesus Ortiz.’ “ — and that night, Jesus Ortiz showed me his ID, proving that his name is indeed Jesus Ortiz.
– Jesus Ortiz is actually the nicest man ever
– *smiling* “What did he say?” “I have no idea” — this every night
– Almost missing our flight because we were playing slots @ the airport. Got yelled at by the guy who lets people on at the gate. We are obviously future Diamond cardholders
– Dragging 5 gallons of water from Walgreens back to our hotel
– Ashley, Serena, and Anna
– Vannie objectifying men who objectify us:
“HEY! YOU’RE CHINESE. YOU’RE HOT”
“HEY, YOU’RE WHITE AND I KINDA WANT SEE YOUR SIX PACK BUT I DON’T KNOW IF YOU HAVE ONE”
– “Oh my God, like look at her dress, she didn’t even cut those strappy thing you use to hang it on store hangers,” — us talking shit, who do we think we are?
– “If he looked that sexy last night, and this ugly in real light.. I don’t even want to know how we look.”
– Pink’s chilli cheese dogs are life itself
– Hating the MGM Grand just sooooo much. Sooo much
– Stealing M&M’s from the M&M Factory because it’s a conspiracy
– “Evening, y’all!” — Southern accents are the best.