This picture is taken in Naviglio Grande in Milan. I've heard that Italy is beautiful and I could finally get to catch a glimpse of their beauty. Just seeing a little bit because Milan is the first stop of my trip in Italy. So many of my friends told me that if I don't visit Italy , it will not be complete.
As beautiful as this place is, the people here are not as friendly as the other places I've visited. There are a few incidents which makes me upset and angry even - which leaves me no words but to accept being treated this way because after all, it is their country.
1. I got yelled at during breakfast.
I went into a nice cozy cafe nearby my hotel to have a simple breakfast before I start my journey for the day. Upon arrival, I asked for two seats for my sister and I. Instead of answering me, the owner gave me his palm in my face. So we waited for him. Instead of answering my question, he shouted at us in italian and pointed the inside of his cafe, I am an Asian and I am very sure that he knows that I don't understand Italian but he proceeds to mumble words aggressively which leaves my sister and I dumbfounded. We didn't moved our feet so his wife shouted again , ' GO THERE. SIT. GO.'
At this point, my morning was ruined. But their good stuffed croissants and soy milk latte made up because it was good.
My excuse for them : They were busy.
2. The waitress threw the bill on my table before I finish my coffee in la Rinascente.
La Rinascente is a high-end department stores which consists of luxury brands. I was at Bar della Rina for a cup of coffee as my sister went away. I came first and was served the last. It upsets me so much when I realized that I am the only Asian at that point. After me, there was a Chinese family which was treated the same which now angers me. It finally occurs me that they are racist especially to asians. Ever since I am abroad, I only met nice people. It shocks me that racism is so strong here.
I could do nothing about it but just to quietly have my coffee to cure my addiction.
Before I have the last sip of my coffee, the waitress came and threw a piece of paper on my table. It landed right on my hand. I know that the paper wouldn't hurt. But the whole point is, it was so rude of her to throw the bill on the table like this when I am not done. The next table has been sitting there with their empty cups for the past twenty minutes and they were not treated the same.
WHY DOES SHE HAS TO CHASE ME AWAY BEFORE I EVEN FINISH MY COFFEE?
I am willing to pay for the service charges and taxes. I am paying so much for a cup of coffee and having it in an high end department store but I got treated like I was not welcomed there. The whole point isn't about the price I pay. It was for their attitude of not respecting me because I have a different skin colour.
It was the last straw so I went up straight to her and confronted her about her attitude. I had never done this and I will never disrespect people working in the service line. I was brought up in a family where manners and respect come first no matter where I am but at that point, I was so clouded with my anger that I lashed out. I asked, " Is this the culture or you are just being plain rude to me?"
I expected an apology but she only told me that, " No No, you can sit after you pay." Then I asked her again, " Why are you so rude?"
She ignored my question and I keep pestering her. In the end, she did not say sorry.
My excuse for her : NOTHING.
3. The homeless scolded us in Italian because we didn't give them any money the second time.
This is the first time I encounter something like this. My sister gave her money the first round she came to our table while we are having our lunch. The second time, she came - we refuse to because she was already having food in her hands.
And guess what,
She shouted - and I am very sure she cursed.
My excuse for her : NOTHING.
It is understandable that there are language barriers. However, I don't understand why they are speaking English to the other people and refuses to speak English to me or the other asians. It is just plain rude and it makes all of us feel miserable because we needed more help.
My excuses for the locals : Maybe they just thought that Chinese only speaks Mandarin.
5. I was served the last despite being first in the line.
This is nothing new but it is a big problem when I am hungry. I was asked to stand at the side to allow the other people to come first. I thought they had order beforehand so I patiently waited. It was not right until I realized that there are a few people standing in line behind me - they are either asians or black.
So they proceed to serve the locals, the whites first and leave the other people to wait by the side despite we all come first. All of us was so annoyed but we could do nothing as there are not many choices left. And the place isn't dodgy - it was decent and more pricey than the others. I thought by paying a little more for the same thing would earn me some respect or being treated like the same.
BUT NO- I am all wrong.
and it makes me feel so desperate and pathetic , wanting to feel welcomed and respected in another country.
6. I was forced to pay €15 infront of Duomo
I was taking touristy picture infront of Duomo Cathedral. A man came and hold my wrist up and put a few dried corns on it to make the pigeons come to me, and ask me to take a picture. I was struggling to get out of his grip, knowing that nothing is free in this world but the pigeons already came. So all my sister did was to snap a picture of it.
In the end, they asked for €20 for that and we were like wtf.
We refused to pay and attempted to run away but there are another three guys surrounding us demanding for the money. We only had €15 in pocket as the others are in big change so we had to give them that. If not, they do not allow us to leave.
This is a scam. A complete scam.
My reason for this : Tourist trap.
My reason for myself : I am so stupid
I keep finding excuses and try not to be upset because I don't want to ruin my vacation. However, as the days passed, I realized that I was just waiting to get back to the UK. I am lying if I say that I didn't enjoy any bit of it. There are good times and I enjoyed it. There are nice people that are willing to help and smile warmly at us which makes us feel so welcome. It was so heartwarming that someone smiled at us and lend a hand. It is so pathetic that I am actually happy with this simple gesture which I get everyday in the UK or other places.
I guess, not everyone loves to have people visiting their homes - probably feel invaded. I guess it is their walls towards tourists. I can never understand the annoyance they feel everyday ( especially in Venice) where large groups of people keep coming in and make a mess in their place. Probably because of their personal bad experiences from the last time makes them hate tourists. This may be a good reason but what I couldn't accept was, racism.
We should be treated equally because we breathe the same air and live on the same ground.
In this trip, the biggest lesson I've learnt is to not discriminate an individual regarding to their skin colour.
Say no to RACISM.
I am not pointing out and saying that everyone in Italy is rude and horrible. They are still nice people around but I didn't get the chance to meet them.
Let me end this post with the beautiful sunset again - it brings me calmness and light up my whole trip.