This is the last GPS story you’ll get out of me

April 26, 2018

The 12:22 to Venice (Mestre)

   According to GPS, when my train pulled into Mestre, the mainland suburb north of Venice, my hotel was only about five hundred meters (or five football fields, as Americans are required to convert from metric) from the train station. In other words, taking a taxi wasn’t an option. It was too short a distance for a cabbie to make any money, and how would it look to even ask for a taxi for that distance. Wassamatta fuh you? You a too lazy to walk a five a football fields?

   Besides, at five hundred meters even expressed metrically, one would think you could spot the hotel from the train itself as you got off. (Recalling now where that hotel was located, I think it might have actually been possible.) On top of it all, GPS described a straight line practically right though the hashmarks of those football fields from the station to the hotel. Except the straight line didn’t make any sense to yours truly, and when that happens, not even the star of Bethelem could guide me to the manger.

   Nevertheless, the satellite that I most definitely now hope North Korea will target in one of its ICBM tests had me going in every direction except the right one. Go right. I went right. Go left. I went left. Go straight. I went straight. Turn around. I turned around. Slam phone onto the pavement.  I…okay, I made that last one up.

   The damnable thing was that the straight line that described the path to the hotel, according to GPS, was depicted as going straight across the railroad tracks. No way could that be right, so I finally bailed and took a taxi. Let’s just say the driver made it worth his while in taking me to the hotel, via the Appian Way, I think.

   Later, I used Google to locate the nearest grocery store for some room wine. One store was very, very close, in fact just about five football fields away. Straight right out of the hotel, then a short left and a final quick right. Take the steps was it’s last instruction. I took the steps. They led down to a subway tunnel directly under the railroad tracks! In two minutes, I was at the little grocery store I  had passed on my way out of the station. The discovery also exonerated the taxi driver who very well could not have driven me through the station and into the subway tunnel.

   Now, in my defense (and there isn’t a defense attorney dumb enough to take my case) had GPS told me to take the steps when I was in the train station, I may have figured out what it was trying to tell me. But knowing me, that’s probably just magical thinking.

   But the next day, I was able to take a very short and very confident. walk directly to the platform for the train to Trieste. Almost as if it were curb service.

Some shots of Venice…by other people. A day spent following the misdirection of GPS is a day spent not on the water canals of Venice

  1. Bonnie Cramond says:

    Do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about.

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