First Assignment – Under Twenty Minutes

You know what I love the most about a twenty-minute quick writing assignment in class about a moment when you felt a rush of adventure?  Just being able to sit in front of a computer and write – quickly, without putting much thought to it or worrying about how it comes out. Kind of like this:


We disembarked on the shores of Capri. A short ferry ride from Sorrento late August in 1995, thinking we’d beat the tourist season, and were about to experience an island on our own. But instead, steered through a crowd of travelers alike, and even locals, holding hotel signs and maps of sorts, over speaking one another about, who knows what. I wasn’t really listening. I simple took note they were intending to retail a room and board. 

 Worried, I scanned the small cobbled-stoned waterfront for signs leading me to a tourist information booth; I read about in Lonely Planet – advised to be the best source to finding hotels and guided tours. My boyfriend at the time, and my brother, relying on me, followed behind me to a small building bearing the ‘i’ symbol in blue and white, and we queued up for the tourist information agent, to direct us on how to proceed. While in line, I began to regret convincing my travel partners, while in Rome to take a spontaneous trip down south, to Sorrento, and now to Capri. 

Forty-minutes later, we stood in front of the clerk, as typical looking like a group of amateur travelers, and asked for a budget hotel to spend at most two nights, or maybe three if we had to – I remember telling the girl, seated behind the counter, interning from Switzerland – I discovered, when I asked how she spoke English so well.    

She made a call, booked as two rooms for three nights, and sent us on our way, with a visitor map, she drew arrows on pointing to where we needed  to go to catch the local bus to our hotel. 

Holding my breath in a state of panic, although trying my best not to show it to the boys, I pointed to the bus stop. We queued up in the mid-morning heat, but couldn’t get on the empty bus, even at the starting point to the route, because of the number of tourists and locals doing the same. So we were forced to wait. Thirty minutes, it read on the timetable pinned inside an obscured glass frame mounted by the stop. But in reality, it was forty-five minutes, to when the bus actually showed up.

We managed to get on, and took seats on the right side in the bus, the three of us agreeing that we would simply spend the next three days catching up on our sleep. Until the bus began a climb, the windy narrow road, up so high that we got the most spectacular views of the azure Tyrrhenian Sea hundreds of feet below, and a fleeting glimpse of the countless people sunbathing, or playing in the water. Some even perched on small boats or yachts, and the breeze, mixed with the scent of various flowers, coming through the opened windows, was enough for us to get off the bus, check in, get inside our hotel rooms quickly, change and leave, unanimously agreeing to explore the entire island on foot, no matter how long it took.

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