If you’re staying at a hotel, chances are you can use their outbox to send a letter. Not many people do today because this email thing is so darn awesome. For essentially free I can send a note, attach a photograph, to a friend a large distance away. Tell them how I’m doing, how the wife is, how much I ate at that Spanish tapas bar, how much I drank and how many people I stepped on while trying to dance. But what fun is that? Okay I admit that is fun to write, and report. But sending a postcard is also fascinating. It makes me feel like an old man, corresponding with my old friend from many years ago, our friendship held onto like a taut string between two tin cups.
There is something interesting that happens when I decided to forgo the email, forgo the hotel’s outgoing mail and venture forth into the world of Italian post offices. The first thing I realize is that I have no idea where a post office might be. The tourist maps, the signs, none discuss of a post office. We ask locals, some know, some can’t tell us with out playing charades. When I produce a letter, it helps. Also “Post Office” is not the hardest of foreign words to figure out, it turns out to be Poste.
The best thing happens on the way to the Post Office. Only a couple of blocks away but a world away since it’s past the tourist signs, past the menus in English. It’s next to a typical cafe. I can get a cheap espresso before the walk back. The girls can check out real Italian clothing shops. We also pass by the offices of the local musicians union. And many other offices of normal workers. The Post Office’s building also happens to be a beautiful structure, seemingly centuries old itself. A grand edifice to gaze in front of.
We return a couple times since our ship docks here every two weeks and we happen to have some packages to send the next time we arrive to Cagliari. It’s a fun walk, and almost a walk into the present. The tourist parts of town will exclaim how old and how amazing their heritage is. The regular parts of town, are just that… regular. They breathe and live just like any other town in any other city, almost like your home town or home downtown. A few blocks away are residents who don’t participate in tourism, but rather live off a solid day’s work doing something.
Morning dawns on all the same.