On my second day in Brindisi, a bunch of solo travelers at the hostel (myself included) decided to go to the beach again. When we showed up and looked out at the locals who had arrived bright and early that morning, I was struck by how unbelievably tan everyone was! I tend to get pretty brown myself in the summer, but these people were a whole ‘nother level of dark, and I suddenly felt like a ghost. I tried to capture it with a picture but I don’t think the photograph does it justice (although it does sort of remind me of a Where’s Waldo? book).
The most memorable part of the beach trip? The moment when an Italian man approached me and asked, “Why are you swimming in clothes?”. At first, I thought he was confused by my not swimming in the nude (several other men and women there were), so I told him, “I like swimsuits”. He replied, “Yes, but you swim in clothes on bottom?”. That’s when I realized; he was confused by my swim skirt. I explained to him that, where I come from, some people wear one-pieces, some people wear swim shorts, some people wear swim skirts, bikinis, etc., and he was so genuinely perplexed. He even asked me if it was because I was ashamed of my body! I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that launching a modesty-focused swimsuit line would not be the most lucrative idea for swimwear designers in Italy.
Later that day, after we returned home to the hostel, I decided to rinse my sandy feet off in the shower. I was sharing a hostel room with two young German girls and didn’t want to seem overly paranoid by constantly locking my personal items in the locker next to my bed. Figuring that rinsing my feet in the shower would take 2 minutes tops, I made the mistake of leaving my clutch inside my pillow case, before returning to find my hostel mates gone, along with the remaining Euros in my wallet. I immediately ran downstairs and reported the incident to the hostel manager. He regrettably admitted that the hostel mates had allegedly stolen from the roommate before me (a little warning would’ve been nice!) and told me the German girls had checked out of the hostel just minutes before I’d reported them….
Stealing is something I cannot even fathom – I just think it’s one of the meanest things you can do to a person – and what I found most maddening is that I hadn’t wanted to offend my seemingly nice roommates by appearing suspicious of them, and in turn, they stole all my money. Needless to say, I went to bed feeling very sad (and imagining all the things I’d say to these girls in German, should I ever see them again). Sigh.