Ah memories! I'll never forget the beautiful afternoon walking the cobble stoned byways of Venice with my daughter a few years ago. We were hopelessly, yet very comfortably, lost. Not really a big deal, but we were trying to find a specific church, museum, or piazza for some reason or the other, and we decided to whip out our map of the city. (Maps in Venice are not always useful as some streets/alleys are named and some are not. Sometimes the maps even make it worse.) Either way, we whipped out the map, unfold it to its ungainly size that's almost as wide as the alley we're in, and begin flipping it around this way and that to see if it would help us navigate to the church, museum, or piazza; whatever.
SPLAT! Did I forget to tell you that Venice is overrun with pigeons? Oh yeah. Well Venice is overrun by pigeons. They're everywhere. Most of you have probably seen the ubiquitous Italian travel montages that show tourists besieged by hordes of birds in St. Mark's Square (that's a piazza, by the way), and we found that to only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I'll give Venice kudos though for working hard to keep them in check and minimize their damage. It seems that the pigeon poo was degrading the beautiful structures that make Venice so famous. Just a few years ago they banned the street vendors that sold feed to tourists and started fining people for feeding them. I heard they even set up a government program to help the the vendors find other jobs since most relied on their trade as their single source of income. Some had even argued that the "business" had been passed down through the generations.
Anyway back to the mess on my head. The wet muck struck the map, my sweater, and some got on my hands. Yuck. Our search for the museum, church, piazza turned into a search for a restroom to wash (those are hard to find unless you sit in a restaurant and buy something). I remember I had lost my voice and was scarfing cough drops all day and Mandy had to feed me the next few until I could thoroughly scrub all the pigeon poop away.
I had one other run in with bird guano, years ago. My brothers and sisters and I would walk to the local drug store on a trail through some woods (imagine doing that in today's environment?) and one day a bird found my head. Strange what you remember when you're a kid. It kinda reminds me of the old Gary Larsen cartoon showing how birds see the world: people all with targets painted on their heads. Well that was me. I had a friend with me, so I played it cool and simply wiped it off with my hands and carried on. No freaking out for me. Ugh. I think we went down there to buy candy. I've blocked the rest out.
I venture to guess I'll get nailed at least once more in my life time. I think I'll start planning my response now.
P.S. You can read about the day this occurred on my blog from that trip here. Scroll down to my June 7th posting.
P.P.S. The little video is not mine. Unknown copyright.