The wonder of air travel is never lost on me, and in my dazed and jetlagged state on the first day, I began to experience Sicily. On our connecting flight from Rome to Palermo I slept the entire time, only arousing as our plane hit the tarmac. As I got off the plane I glimpsed the Mediterranean Sea on one side and rock faces climbing right out of the water on the other. I thought, “Oh, it’s starting to make sense why we would come all the way here. This place is pretty beautiful.”
One of the first things I had to do when we landed was get money from an ATM, a task that was surprisingly hard. Greg, Cam, and I went looking for one, but the streets of Palermo were not cooperating. We had to travel a good half mile to the center of Palermo and the main train station. Even then, an ATM was not readily apparent. We asked someone working at the station where we could find an ATM by using the universal signal for money. He started to walk away from us so we started to follow him but he put his arms out as if to say, ‘stay where you are.’ So we did, and then as he walked further he looked back and waved us over irritated that we weren’t following him. Do all Sicilians send such mixed signals? The Italian class has made much note about the contradictions of Sicily. This was my introduction to the land of contradictions.