Day 2 was interesting. I opted to expand my exploration to outside the city of Venice (really, how many canals can you look at in a week?) and visit the city of Paduva, about 50 minutes away via train.
The train ride was a positive experience in both directions, in that I got to talk to a hot girl in each direction. Going out was a girl from Mexico named Sandy and her sister. She was about 4’10″ and cute a button. On the way back this gorgeous Italian girl who helped me find the train sat across from me. She works in Venice at a hotel. I would have loved to talk to her more but she really did not engage and according to my personal Two Minute Rule had to stop talking to her.
Anyway, the train was cool, although they do something weird with the seats in that the head rests come out at about my shoulder blade level, making them impossible f or me to sit in. I have to say I pity the tall women of this country. I saw a number of really tall girls but have yet to see an Italian man above 5’10″. For the most part they all seem to be weedy little hipster dudes until they hit about 40 when they turn into chubby short guys.
I am proud to say I chose Padova for the nerdiest of reasons; it is home of the only Games Workshop store in the area and likely the only place where I could get a feel for the local Warhammer scene. Your might recall from yesterdays post that I was looking for a store that had it’s pulse on the local scene to no avail.
I took a cab to the store and talked to the manager, a nice guy named Daniel. Turns out the local Warhammer tournament circuit is about as beardy and rules intensive as I have heard. Seems the winningest is a dwarf army with six war machines, an anvil, and two huge blocks of warriors with great weapons. Not only is it as exploitive as possible it is also painfully boring to play, so I guess the Italians don’t really care much for soft scores. I give my Daemon list about 50/50 to beat it depending on how the dice roll out, although there are others in my gaming group that could beat it handily.
I then wandered the city and got lunch. The first thing I notice is the graffiti, which had been moderately bad in Venice, was pretty much what they decorated the walls with here. While I saw a few pieces with a little more artistic effort than in Venice (some actually had three colors!) for the most part they were black spray paint and very political. The best one I saw was in English and said “It’s not easy making a name for yourself”. Not sure what that was about.
Padova appears to be where bad shops go when they die. I saw shop after shop selling knick knacks and crappy stuff that might have been popular in the US 3-10 years ago. As something of a t-shirt expert I paid particular attention to the t-shirts. They are almost all as hokey as possible, and generally printed with very poor printing techniques. Popular t-shirt themes include Super Mario Bros (Poison Mushroom courtesy of the Video Game T Shirts), the Smurfs, the Simpsons (Duff Beer especially), and for some reason Monster Energy Drink. In girls it all seems to be sayings. The most common one I saw was “You and I Are Meant to Be” which seems awfully optimistic in my bitter dating experience.
At that point, having exhausted the level of interest to be found in Bedazzled iPhone cases and heavily decorated miniature bird houses (not to mention feeling really old. Everyone there was like 19) I decided I was done with the Padova experience and was starting to look for a cab ride back to the train station. It was then I stumbled upon something that put a big smile on my face and kept me in town for another four hours.
Yes, an old fashioned swap meet, Italian style. The difference that I could see between an American and Italian swap meet is the Italian ones do not really feature piles of rusted tools and stolen bike parts (it also seemed like I was less likely to get stabbed by the local crazy homeless man). For the most part it is brand new merchandise sold at a low low price in a tent by the Italian equivalent of white trash. I saw booth after booth of shoes, followed by booth after booth of clothing. T-shirts of an even hokeyer nature and printed with even worse printing techniques were on display. Socks, underwear, pants, jeans, and jackets were in abundance. I saw a few booths selling tools (new, for the most part) and a few selling cheap toys. There was a huge section that only sold fresh flowers and plants. Very cool.
The swap meet made a huge circle around a park, and after a while I opted to cut through the park to see what was up there. It was pretty much a giant teenage water balloon fight going on. Lots of kids with frisbees and bottles of water to throw on each other. There was a cop in the middle of the park who just sat there on the hood of his car.
I wandered over to the saddest amusement park I have ever seen (and I’ve been to Bibleland). One min-Ferris wheel, some dilapidated bumper cars, and a booth selling hot dogs and cotton candy. For all that it seemed popular. To each his own.
Eventually I made my way back to the train station (via a surpisingly attractive female cab driver. Very MILFy, and she was wearing high heels with her toenails done up with glitter polish) and got my heart broken by the hotel girl on the train ride home. I made it back to Venice without incident and there met up with a business associate for dinner (technically this is a work trip). He has been to Venice many times and took me to see a lot of the stuff I should have seen my first day here but was too lazy to research. Very cool stuff, and we rode on a boat bus (not sure what they call it) down the Grand Canal. We also ate a little local hole in the wall that was way better than any of the places the tourists hang out at.
Then bed. More tomorrow, although now I have to start seriously working so my posts may get a little dryer. Feel free to comment here if you have been to Venice and want to contribute. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu and send me any off topic questions or suggestions to email@example.com. Talk to you soon.