Boys on Trains. – Photos on an Italian train from Sorrento to Pompeii.
I took pictures on an interesting train ride from Sorrento to Pompeii, Italy. We both wrote while we were on the train and figured we would include both entries in this post.
The train has gray, plastic seats and big windows. There is a 13 year old boy (I think) coming by who is playing a small, red accordion. His 8 year old bother is collecting donations. They both look extremely sad. Randy gives them some change and I nod and show my camera. They agree to the picture and never crack a smile, which secretly I am happy about because I want them to look as they do to me right now in this moment. Inside though, I want to cry – these kids look like pawns in a game that reminds me of Guatemala & Mexico.
It’s Wednesday why aren’t they in school?
The accordion boy’s hands look older than he is and reflect a lifetime of manual labor. I want to know their story and help them but in an instant they are gone and I am left thinking about them. Their faces and attitudes etched into my brain.
The train stops and I am at the next stop – ‘Piano’.
The scene changes instantly.
About 50 high school boys rush the train hooting and hollering. The bus is so full they sit on each others laps and I snap another picture. I wonder silently if the accordi0n boy and his brother are on a school lunch break but I seriously doubt it.
The school boys spot the camera and turn into instant hams, blabbering to me in Italian. I am so mad I don’t speak Italian. They want to take a few photos and at the worst possible time the train heads into a dark tunnel and I scramble to adjust my camera settings so I can capture this elaborate display of popularity.
They want a copy of the photos.
Marco (who appears to be the self-pronounced leader of this gang) hijacks my notebook and scribbles his name and the names of his buddies in it. It is concluded that I will look them up on Facebook, friend them and send them the photos. I give him my name on a piece of paper so he can find me online. He stands up and declares ‘Bethany Salvon’ to the train multiple times, which is a little bit embarrassing. He says something else and then interestingly enough Marco is slapped across the face by one of his comrades.
I should be lost in translation because apparently I missed out on something big (and probably much more embarrassing) but it seems that bitch slapping and Facebook transcend all language barriers.
“Bethany Salvon” rings out from the slick school boy donning a cardigan and a popped collar, white button-down shirt; the announcement came seconds after she passed a note to him.
Minutes earlier, the wild-eyed teen and his mates got worked into a fantastic frenzy about getting their pictures taken on the bustling Sorrento to Pompeii train and then having the photos sent to them via Facebook.
We now have eight new friends.
Beth: I love Italy and don’t want to leave.
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