By November, Italy was the 11th country visited. I had been traveling in Italy for 5 weeks, so I was in the groove of living daily life and was comfortable with the knowledge that the buses were usually late, and most of the vendors on the street had come from the countries Indonesia and Senegal, a West African country.
Two dear friends joined me for a weekend in Rome.
It was an early weekday morning and we were taking a bus to visit the the Vatican. We purchased a bus ticket, and when boarding and climbing the steps of the bus, realized it was so crowded that people were clogging the aisle. This was a local bus with lots of people headed to work.
Normally, a person carries the bus ticket 5 feet down the aisle to scan the ticket at the machine and validate it. In this case, the bus was so full, the seats were full, and the aisle was clogged with people. We stood near the driver, and Mike stood in the stairwell. People clung to the straps suspended from the ceiling, arms raised (and no deodorant) in the air to stand upright, as we lumbered down the road swaying as we turned corners and stopping often, those of us in the aisle pretending we were in control of our bodies and would not fall into a stranger’s lap. There was a smell of sweaty armpits in the air, but we dare not let go. It was so jam-packed that even a pickpocket couldn’t get his hand in and out of anyone’s pocket!
It was impossible to make way down the aisle in order to validate the ticket. When the bus stopped, several people in front of the doorway would get off the bus to let other people off and then jump back on to continue the ride. My friend Mike was so close to the door, that each time the bus stopped, we held on to Mike so he did not get pushed out of the door each time the door opened.
It was physically impossible to validate the bus ticket, and even though my friends are rule followers, they learned that some rules are not able to be followed, and indeed, it seems like some rules are meant to be broken.