Awkward or Amazing?
Both, definitely both!
Arriving in Palermo
My friend and I decided to take a road trip in Sicily. When we arrived in Palermo, fresh of the plane from Milan, I was giddy with excitement to finally explore the island that I have dreamed of going to for the longest time.
We left our luggage at the hostel and went for dinner at a restaurant recommended by our hostel manager. We ordered a bottle of wine of the wine menu and I swear it was the best wine I’ve ever tasted, even though it was probably some commercial plonk. How would I know?
Meeting the locals
The meal was delicious and after we’ve finished eating, a man who we’ve assumed was the restaurant manager, came to find out whether we’ve enjoyed our experience. I was carrying a letter in my pocket from a friend who’s husband had translated into Italian that I was supposed to have read to me by a local. Something just told me that this was my guy. I asked him to read the letter. For a brief moment there was some confusion about whether I was South African royalty, seeing as my friend wished that I get treated like the princess that I am (figuratively speaking).
Turns out that this guy was not the manager at all, but the owner of a bakery down the street. He invited us to join their table where we enjoyed limoncello on the house. It was such a happy group of people around the table and for some time we were fooled into thinking that one couple got engaged that night. One guy told me that his grandmother lived on one of the tiny hilltop towns and I just got a sense of how entrenched the sense of hospitality and family were in the hearts of the people of Palermo.
When the restaurant closed, my friend wanted to go home, but I was still wired and wanted to go to the after-party. We dropped my friend off at the hostel and I kept the key to the outside door, while my friend kept the room key.
Getting some shut-eye
In retrospect I probably should have called it the night too. When I eventually got back to the hostel, I found the bedroom door locked. I knocked. Nothing. I called her name softly. No answer. I now faced a dilemma. My friend is an insomniac. She hardly ever sleeps for more than three hours. I didn’t have the heart to wake her. But that also meant that I was locked out of the room and had nowhere to sleep. I considered curling up in a corner outside the room, but it seemed very sad and desperate.
In the end I slumbered on the couch in the lobby. Every time I heard a noise, I jumped up, unsure about how my new sleeping arrangement would go down with the manager. Finally, my friend unlocked the door and I could catch about an hour’s sleep on a real bed before we had to head out to pick up the rental car.
Definitely a night that I would never forget.
Life List Entry: Slept on a couch in a hotel lobby