Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Prendo L'autobus Sbagliato

This afternoon I attempted to go to Acquacalda to teach English to my rowdily wonderful 4th graders, like I do every Wednesday. But it turns out that the road to Acquacalda is much more tricky than I thought, and I ended up going on an accidental adventure instead.

Ari and I arrive at Piazza del Sale a few minutes before our bus was due, with tickets in hand, and lesson plan ready - so far, so good. Our bus was running a little late, so as soon as Ari and I see a bus 5, we jump on... who cares that it was technically at the bus stop 10 yards down the street - they're really just the same bus stop, right? I mean, a 5 is a 5, right? Right?!

Approximately 2 minutes into the ride, Ari wonders out loud if we are on the right bus, since our route seems to be different. However, we quickly see familiar streets, so we go back to chatting and generally ignoring our whereabouts. 15 minutes into the bus ride, I look out the window and notice that we are most definitely not in a suburban area of Siena, nor are we 5 minutes away from Acquacalda school. Nope. We are in the country, surrounded by rolling green and brown hills. Hmm.

"Ari? Look out the window. We don't normally come this way, do we?"

Ari looks out the window, and smiles in bafflement and bemusement. "No. Did we get on the wrong bus? How are we in the country?"

We definitely got on the 5, but we most certainly did not go to Acquacalda. Instead, we took a nice little 45 minute jaunt to San Piero, 12 km away from Siena, or in other words, way out in the boonies, heading into Chianti.

Signpost at the end of the line - oh hey Siena, why so far away?

When the bus gets to the end of the line, Ari and I are the only people left on the bus, and the bus driver looks back at us, knowing fully well that we are dumb Americans. "Sbagliato, regazze?" (Wrong bus, girls?)


"Dove andate?" (Where are you going?)

"Siena!" (We had given up on getting to school at this point.)

The bus driver's shoulders visibly slump upon learning that we are so off track.

"Ahiii. No torno a Siena fino alle 3:45."

Alrighty then. We had 45 more minutes on the bus. Good to know. It was also good to know that the bus did in fact loop back to Siena, and that we wouldn't have to make a frantic call to Christina, our Resident Director, asking how to get home.

We finally arrive back in Piazza del Sale, right at 3:45 like the bus driver said, and stop by CET on the way home to ask Christina why in the world the 5 bus didn't go to Acquacalda today. As soon as she hears what happened, she asks if we had gotten on the bus at the closer bus stop or the farther bus stop. It turns out that the 10 yards of difference between the 2 stops really do make a difference. Whoops.

While I was a little bummed that we didn't get to play with our kids, especially since the next two weeks are midterms and spring break, I kind of enjoyed the unexpected adventure, as I'm never sad to see more of the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Plus, it's not as if I was exactly surprised that I not only took the wrong bus, but didn't notice that it was wrong until 15 minutes into the trip - we are talking about the girl who once drove all the way around San Antonio under the mistaken belief that she was driving East on I-10.

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