August 20-22, 2000
I arrived in Rimini at the crack of dawn. No reservations were being taken at the hotelů the manager just said, "Come early." A woman was sweeping off the front porch of the hotel but motioned me in, let me get settled in and would put my passport in the hotel safe.
The Italian morning goes from cold to perfect with the sun rising in five minutes. Another ten minutes and it's time to seek the shade. At this moment, the whistling old men cycling around town strip down to their Speedos and walrus into the Adriatic Sea. Soon joined by their female counter parts, they dominate the scene until the holiday-makers and partiers from the night before set in and crowd the beach until 5:00 (I don't know why they all leave thenů pre-programmed dinner time?)
Scooters cruise the streets and the riders keep their helmets on while walking to the little shops and banks - a site that looks like something out of science fiction. In fact, it's actually cool, but I'd feel like a total geek walking down the street with a helmet on. It doesn't seem to be a problem here though.
The temperature is fine in the shade, but in the sun, just the effort of rolling over on your beach blanket (or anything else) can wear you out. Besides sleep, eating is a good way to pass some time and since this is Italy, a pizza feast is due. I can finally have pizza and not feel guilty about dodging the local cultural food!
Exploring the historic parts of town, I am not overly impressed, but it's all because my expectations of historic Italy have been set above what is reality. There are 1st millennium structures and you can find a roman arch surrounded by the traffic circle, but nothing to ramble on about. This is a beach town after all.
I come back to the hotel and find my passport on the hotel desk just sitting there! The manager guy greets me. I let him know I now have Lire and can pay for the room. "No, no, no, don't worry, you can pay later tonight, it's no problem. Pay then." OK by me. I went back to the beach.
Just before the sun tucks in for bed, the beach clears out except for me and the small pack that hits the surf late to have the sands to ourselves. I climb out in time to splash off in the fountain and stroll down the main street where the night action has just begun.
Despirate looking guys jump around like little apes, "Baby-baby-baby-ohhh-baby," to every girl that walks by. They generally get a response, like a wave good bye as if to say, "yeah guys, like you're even close, ha!" and then they stop and look all serious. Like wearing motorcycle helmets while going into the bank, I'm enjoying being an observer, but couldn't handle this flirting style. It must work for some though. This place is known for the beach and the clubs where it's ogle all day and fondle all night.
I'm back to the hotel and Mr. Cool manager has changed. "Where's the money? You pay now. You have the cash? Pay now!" I give him the amount for one night and tell him I have enough for the next night. He's laid-back Mr. Cool again. "No, don't worry, pay tomorrow" in his friendly I-trust-you-let's-not-worry-about-the-money voice. Hmmm. Is this a hint of a 'typical Italian temper?'
After the second night, I'm leaving early in the morning to head for Rome. The old morning woman is up and about. Mama Ragu stands in the doorway waving Italian style as if she were waving a family member off on a long trip.