My sisters and my mom and I were on a bus in Italy. We had been on a tour all morning with a group and we decided that we wanted to go off and explore the city on our own for the afternoon.
We are quite an adventurous group so we had no fear about traveling around the city and just seeing whatever there was to see. We're also a bunch of goofy girls so we found ourselves laughing and carrying on like a bunch of idiots from another country for the longest time.
After traveling for the better part of the day, it dawned on us that we should start heading back to the hotel. Well believe it or not, not one of us could remember the name of the hotel we were staying at.
In turn we all gave our lame attempts at coming up with the name. As each of us gave our idea of the name, the other four girls would burst into hysterical laughter. I think we were all just tired and slap happy, because our brains would not allow us to sort out the ridiculous from reality.
We continued to laugh so hard we all had tears streaming down our faces. The bus driver was not nearly as amused as we were. He kept screaming at the "stupid Americans" and was motioning for us to sit down. He spoke no English. Oh, and by the way, this was not the first time in Italy that we heard the words "stupid Americans" being screamed at us.
We tried to explain that we remembered that the hotel had a large swan on the front of the building and we were sure that the driver would instantly recognize all of our idiotic clues, and take us straight back to the hotel. Even though the driver spoke no English, I could tell that he was not too happy with us.
Strangely enough we all laughed way more than we panicked. To our delight, in between the hysterical laughter from five girls, the bus rolled right past the hotel with the swan on the front. We ran to the front of the bus and let the driver know that we wanted off. I think he was pleased to see us go. I'm not sure who was happier, him or us.
As we walked up the driveway to the hotel, I think we had the same feeling that Columbus must have had when he discovered America.
Afterwards, we had many more laughs recounting how we got lost in Italy and how perhaps we were stupid Americans.
Gail Earl is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.