This day was all about friends and art.
Michaelangelo’s David was perfection. The Seven Virtues were breathtaking. The Venus was gorgeous. Rape of the Sabine Woman was terrifying, yet mesmerizing. Birth of Venus was stunning. Keeanu Reeves was Time-Travelling Keeanu Reeves. (Perhaps from an unreleased Bill and Ted movie?) Then there was a lot of Jesus, Mary, and as usual, people dying, people dead, and people looking sad/angry/confused.
In between the Galleria dell’Academia and the Uffizi Gallery, we met up with these awesome people! Malvern representin’ in Florence, y’all! Of course, pizza was had by all.
And after the Uffizi, we met up with these awesome people! Al Tafawoq representin’ in Florence, y’all! Guess what we had. That’s right! McDonald’s! No we had pizza.
Kevin and his lovely wife Fiona accompanied us to a performance of the opera La Boheme at a church nearby.
Thankfully, at the start of every scene, an MC of sorts came out and explained what was about to go down so we could at least sort of follow along. For those unfamiliar with this opera (you undignified degenerates), it follows two young men and their pursuit of love. One falls tragically in love, while another reconnects with his ex-lover.
Despite not having a clue what anybody was saying, it had plenty of amusing moments–including when the pianist “accidentally” started playing the wrong music and had to be stopped by the cast.
After the opera, Trevor and I parted ways with Kevin and Fiona, and that’s when everything fell apart.
I hadn’t booked the hostel from the previous night because part of me hoped that I might be able to land us a last minute host for the night. Alas, we were on our own. What we didn’t know, though, was that the artist known as Jamiroquoi was playing Florence that night. (I don’t even care if that’s how you spell his name or not; I’m not going to look it up, because he’s a jerk.) This proved to be a problem.
As far as I knew, Jameeroqwhy hadn’t put out a hit since that song where he’s in that room dancing on the walls and junk and all the furniture is moving around. You know the one I’m talking about. I think it came out in the late 90’s. As far as I knew, his best days as a musician were behind him.
But no, Jamearakwhy is apparently so damn popular in Italy that all of Italy flocked to Florence that night and booked every single hotel in the city! Every. Single. Hotel.
You think I’m kidding? For the next several hours, I visited two hostels and over thirty hotels. With the exception of the one that cost 200 Euros per night, every single one was full.
Then at around 2:00, I became hopeful. I walked into a reception area, and I saw a set of room keys on the desk. Just one. And behind the counter, there was another set on the shelf. Maybe, just maybe, I might get a few hours of sleep tonight. Only problem was that there was nobody at reception. So I sat and waited.
After the first 5 minutes, I started making myself comfy. I figured, worst case scenario, the receptionist has buggered off for the night, and I can just sleep on this chair for free for the night.
About 25 minutes after I had arrived, just as I was starting to doze off, a bald middle aged Italian man walked in. I thought he might be the elusive receptionist, but he turned out to be a homeless vagabond like myself. He’d been to the Jameeroky concert and had a blast, apparently.
He sat down in the other empty chair and we got to talking. His name was Fabio. He was a 49 year old divorced proud father of a 17 year old daughter he clearly loves very much. Fabio and I quickly became friends. He figured the receptionist was either sleeping or having a good time with a fellow concert goer in one of the rooms.
After another half hour or so, the mysterious receptionist finally poked his head out of one of the rooms. He was a large dishevelled old man who, hopefully, had seen better days. Seeing him walk out of that room, I foolishly thought that meant there was an empty room. Unfortunately, that room was apparently reserved for him to sleep on the job, because he said the hotel had no vacancies. He suggested we try to find ourselves a comfortable spot to sit and watch the sunrise at the bus terminal, which should be open.
Fabio and I sat on the curb and tried to think of our next move. By this time, though, we’d become friends for life, laughing, joking, discussing everything from the silly to the mundane, to the profound. Our mutual misfortunes had brought us together.
Just as the drunkards started to crawl out from the shadowy depths of the streets of Florence, I found our salvation: 24 hour McDonald’s. We moved the party towards the Golden Arches and passed the remaining hours of the night in the lap of luxury–at least, it felt like it compared to the curb outside of the bus terminal.
As the sun began to rise, I felt like a character at the end of a horror movie. You know at the very end of the movie, when the sole survivor manages to escape their torturers, emerging at the side of the road just as the sun is rising. They slowly limp off towards the horizon as the camera pans up to the sky, signalling a new day, a new beginning, and fades to black.
Well as we limped off towards the bus terminal, Fabio laughed and joked, “Y’know, I think I will give our hotel–Hotel McCafe–a great review on Trip Advisor.”
What a night.
The moral of the story: Fuck you, Jameerohqy. Fuck you right in your Jamearoakwhy.