Bowling League European Tour 2015

This was our best trip yet. We had 31 members all traveling with our matching orange bowling league shirts and baseball hats. Our trip over to Rome was uneventful except for a brief skirmish at security in Pensacola. After the TSA exposé where people were carrying bombs on their backs undetected and freely boarding planes, the local TSA people were on high alert. One of our gals called a TSA woman a dyke after she was patted down and a TSA supervisor intervened. I immediately assumed a leadership role in the confrontation and explained that this unnamed league member had little experience with these pat downs and mistakenly thought the TSA agent was making a sexually motivated move. The TSA supervisor was not happy and admittedly her appearance suggested a problem in and of itself, but thank goodness she didn’t hear the comment that she was one too.

We had complaints about seat selection and airline food and a few other things, but I, your president, handled it and we arrived in Rome ready to experience Italy. Our first tour was the Vatican. Some of our Catholic members were not happy to be paying $100.00 each to see museum paintings that were bought with their contributions to their church, but the Vatican person explained that the church needed the money to handle all the pedophile lawsuits. He said the lawyers in the US had stirred up all the litigation which could have been handled a better way, the way they always did it in the past. He was asked if they thought about opening up sales of indulgences again and he said they were considering it. In the gift shop the Pope’s picture was on everything from key chains to coffee mugs to calendars. One of our non-Catholics asked our Vatican guide if the gift shop wasn’t pretty much like the old temple money changers. He explained that if there were gift shops at the Temple in Jesus’ time, he would have enjoyed seeing all the items for sale and may even have purchased some as souvenirs for the disciples. He said Moses and the prophets would have been impressed how the museum visitors were exited through the gift shop just like a Disneyland attraction.

We went to lunch and dinner together for most meals. Some of our members asked our guide why the waiters didn’t introduce themselves and offer to take care of us. I was the only one who spoke Italian so on top of all my other responsibilities I had to serve as a translator. “Le ragazze hanno seni reali?”¹ The Italian waiter asked. I replied, “a volte.”² I had to explain to the group that in Italy taking care of someone meant putting them in a nursing home. Italian waiters were only interested in making sure we had good food, not in forming superficial friendships or participating in the table conversation as waiters do in the states. The Italian waiter then said, “Essi hanno la cultura di una vacca.”³ I had no reply to that.

“Where is the obese white guy walking around the restaurant like we have in the US to ask if we were enjoying our food?” The group asked. I translated to the Italian waiter and he responded, “Ratta veramente di un grasso bianco guy camminare fare niente?”4 “Si,” I replied. Here, I explained to the group, the waiters actually are competent, so the US style plantation overseer/manager is not needed.

As our guide was leaving, he asked, “La maggior parte di questa persone vivono in rimorchi?”5

“Why don’t the waiters refer to all of the males and females as guys?” I explained that this unisex language is unique to the states. In Europe, a guy is man. No waiter was hanging over us with the bill in his hand demanding payment and some of our members missed that uniquely US experience. In Italy, you have to ask for the bill which some of our gals seemed to resent. No one asked if we were “still working on it” if we hadn’t finished eating because in Italy eating is a pleasure and the food requires no work to consume. But there were complaints about the pasta almost every meal. It was too chewy and didn’t taste like it does in the states. I tried to explain it was because it was homemade and in Pensacola most restaurants get it out of a paper box.

One of our best league networkers asked where the AA meetings were being held. I told her I didn’t think she ever drank alcohol. She said she never has but has found the best networking and contacts for making deals takes place at AA meetings.

Where was the cereal in the plastic dispensers at breakfast like they have at Best Western? This was the same question asked by someone every morning at every hotel. Another complaint heard every day: “All they have here is fresh fruit, yogurt, freshly squeezed juice, assorted cheeses and croissants.” The group also wanted to know where the plastic wrapped Little Debbie snacks were. I explained that in Europe they prefer not to serve food in plastic wrappers.

The same gal who was the non-alcoholic AA networker told me Best Western had a hidden alcoholic meaning because the first letter of each name was B.W. I have no idea if that is true or not. It seems ridiculous to think every name with a B and W is a secret AA messaged name.

“Why do we need two toilet bowls in our rooms?” The gals wanted to know. That I couldn’t really explain, so I helped them with a way to remember #1 is ok for either one.

Next edition: On to Paris…


1 English translation: “The girls have real breasts?”
2 English translation: “Sometimes.”
3 English translation: “They have the culture of a cow.”
4 English translation: “Does a fat white guy walking around really do anything?”
5 English translation: “Most of these people live in trailers?”

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