Aug 20 2010

Elefante Bianco

Published by at 2:46 pm under Italy,Rome

When I rented a car for this trip, I knew I’d need room for four people and I knew I had to allow for a decent amount of luggage since some people would have been traveling already for a week or two and I would have a load of photo gear. At the car rental agency’s web site, I chose the minivan class which showed a picture of a Fiat minivan with the usual caveat phrase “or similar.” When Meredith and I arrived in Rome and went to the rental desk to pick up the car, we waited for what seemed longer than usual and then, instead of the attendant driving up to the desk with our car like he had for the other customers, he handed us a set of keys and said it was parked out side the building. Hmmm. First sign of trouble. We followed his directions down a few levels and out of the building. This is where the phrase “or similar” was stretched a bit. We came out onto a row of large, white mini-buses. This thing was huge and sat 8-10 people:

Il elefante bianco

Il elefante bianco

For a moment I entertained thoughts of driving this around, especially the look that would be on our friends’ faces when we came back to the airport the next day to pick them up in this thing. But Meredith said, “no way” and we headed back up to the desk. The man’s eyes widened and Meredith said, “troppo grande!” We cleared up the confusion and ended up with a VW minivan that was “perfetto” and much more “similar” to the original I had rented.

— Dave

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