Italy map:
Feb 12, 2001

These older journal entries were hastily typed in at local cybercafes where I was paying by the minute.  Please excuse grammar mistakes or typos. 

The Duomo
Week #1
This journal is going to take quite a different form than my other journals for two reasons.  First of all I'm working, and working hard which gives me less time to get out and explore the results being fewer tales of adventure.  On the other hand, I now have a digital camera so this journal will undoubtedly be much more visual.

Matt and I arrive in Washington only to discover that our flight to Milan has been delayed.  First there is a problem with the hydraulic system.  Then the luggage doors would not make a correct seal.  Finally they decided that there were too many problems to safely fly the plane and cancelled the flight.  The trip was routed through Paris and we ended up being delayed a total of 7 hours.  After 22 hours of traveling we arrive at the office at 4pm. 

Work has been quite a challenge.  On top of the usual challenges of building a complex piece of software I have to deal with the documentation and the team meetings in Italian.  In the US I would have no trouble leading a large piece of this team.  Here I'm just struggling to understand what is going on. 

The food is of course incredible.  Pasta, meat, fish, wine, bread, did I mention pasta?  I've only been here for a week and I've had countless 4 hour long meals.  The coffee is simply absurd.  On top of having an espresso at the end of every meal we have an automated espresso machine at work where every seems to gather and have a few more espressos during the day.

On the other hand, the nightlife in Milan leaves quite a bit to be desired.  It is a big surprise for me, but it doesn't seem to be in the Italian culture to go out to bars and get drunk.  I suppose that it is a good thing for the Italians, but what am I going to do for 3 months without a good pub or pool hall. 

I suppose there are always cafes and shopping.  I intentionally came to Italy with only enough clothes for 3 days.  That way I could have more room in my bags for Italian fashion.  I was too busy during the week to shop during the week.  I sleep until 1pm on Saturday and then head out shopping.  The weather was miserable during the week.  I never saw a moment of sun.  Then Saturday is a beautiful day.  I find out that everything is closed on Sunday and I have only 5 hours to explore Milan and buy myself a complete new wardrobe or I'm wearing successively dirtier clothes all the following week.  I explore the entire area with the high-end designer shops and fail to find anything that I like and can afford.  Everything is either business suits or $300 shirts.  With one hour before everything starts closing I head to the other side of the Duomo.  Via Torino is much more my style.  It reminds me a bit of upper Haight.  I immediately find two shirts in a store with club fliers at the front door.  I pick up pants a few doors down and a sweater elsewhere and I'm set to survive the week.

Our coworkers invited the Americans to join them skiing this weekend.  I turned them down because I didn't have clothes for the week let alone any clothes for skiing.  However, it's very popular in Milan to leave town for the weekends.  I'm already setting up all sorts of plans for the next couple of months.  I think that we're definitely going to Venice next weekend.  It's the start of Carnival, and I don't know what we're going to see.  I'm also thinking of going to Cinque Terra on the coast, Interlaken in Switzerland , maybe a weekend in Paris and to top it off heading over to Dublin for St.  Patricks day.  It could be an exciting couple of months even without great nightlife in Milan. 

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