I arrived with three huge suitcases, one carry-on and a plan. I had booked a shuttle service ahead of time, knowing I could not possibly carry it all on the train, let alone move it all myself. I had only paid $90 for the extra suitcase, which beat the prices of shipping. I had put all of the heaviest things in my carry-on, since those are rarely weighed and I had weighed all of my suitcases beforehand on two different scales. “I’m ready!”, I thought as I slid on my diva shades.
As an American I do not need a visa to travel to Europe. However, there is a three month limit. I knew that my three enormous suitcases might attract suspicion, and having packed it so perfectly, I had not been sure I would have been able to close it again, had they decided to search them. I knew my chickens, though. You must always keep in mind whom you will be dealing with. I wore six inch burgundy heels, which matched my dress and Luois Vuitton purse. I sported my diva sunglasses and my hair and make-up were sheer perfection, having done both on the plane prior to landing.
“What’s in the bags?”, asked the Customs officer after I had collected my luggage.
“Shoes!”, I rejoined with a flip of my bond locks, shooting a smile in his direction and walking off.
The Customs officer took one look at my burgundy stiletto heels and let me through. Had I been a Clark Kent-like man, I would have said, “Books”. Had I been an outdoorsy type, I would have said, “Hiking Equipment”. I knew the airport would be run by Italian men, so wearing a dress and heels was my best option. I fly in and out of Italy and I always wear a dress and heels. The last time I flew in, I walked up to the booth where they stamp foreign passports. The officer looked me up and down as he said, “Amazza! Che bona! Ou! Queste Americane son’belle!”(Kill me! How m’m’good! These Americans are…well, you know the rest.)
The driver was outside of the gate with card in hand, reading, “Ms. Vargas”. He was in a dark suit and arrived outside in a matching dark Mercedes. Apparently, they were hoping my flight would have been delayed, since after 7pm the shuttle service became a private car service at twice the amount. My flight, having miraculously arrived ten minutes early, entitled me to the shuttle price with the private car service. That was a great welcome to Rome.