The topic of today's conversation class was "To Smoke, or Not to Smoke?". There are still 14 million people in Italy who smoke, and despite having been banned in restaurants a few years ago, it remains a national pastime. My teacher rolls her own tobacco, because it helps her to smoke less, and because it is more economical that way. The class was surprised to learn that I don't know anyone who smokes in the U.S.
After class, I went back to the Ministero delle Finanze and they finally changed my name correctly. Now I have to register myself as a resident with the city of Florence, and then I have to select a doctor and learn all about how the healthcare system works.
On my way back from the Ministero, I stopped by the bike shop to browse and bumped into Ray Fox, who I met in San Diego just 2 months ago. He and his wife were at Lorenzo's birthday dinner last week. They had just arrived from San Diego, and they are good friends of Lorenzo and Lia. He owns an apartment here in Florence and spends a few months a year here with his wife. He invited me to join them for dinner this coming Friday night.
On Saturday the team is meeting after the ride for our team photo.
Rebecca and I are planning our trip to Sorrento to follow Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia. Right now, after Stage 3, Petacchi is wearing the maglia rosa. I am really looking forward to our trip in which we will cycle the Amalfi Coast and climb Mount Vesuvius to await the racers for the mountaintop finish.
Oh, and today, my Blackberry came back to life!