Tourists of every color (and perhaps creed) fill that beautiful city - the birthplace of the famed explorer, Marco Polo. When we first arrived at the train station we were accosted by a man who attempted to give AP a rose. He was practically thrusting it at her and insisting that she accept it. It was only after a stern response on my part that he backed off. The peddlers and almost all the sellers in the stores selling souvenirs were Asians (from Indonesia, Pakistan, or India) or black Africans. They also proliferate in the restaurants - as busboys of course. What else is new? The white populace seems to have no interest in such menial means of subsistence. One observation though: the gondolier labor force has yet to be integrated. I did not see any gondolier of color.
What struck me about the city was how extraordinarily clean it was. I cannot recall seeing any refuse or trash on the ground. Also noticeable was how inviting the canals were. The water had a greenish- blue color and seemed to beckon me to take a dip in its refreshing cleanness. I had imagined the water to be filthy, but it was far from the case. Don't expect to see motor vehicles in the city of Venice. There are none, but not so on the waterways. Motor boats are legion; they are superannuating the gondola.
I noticed that a number of tourists had their children with them. Venice is a city of romance. That reality strikes you the minute you land there. It is not a place for children; it is a place to conceive them. If you are planning on visiting, simply leave the children at home.
And ah! Nothing beats walking around the city at night. Traversing the numerous cobbled alleys and crossing the many bridges while walking hand in hand with your significant other is simply fantastic. Not only is the city immaculately clean, it is also unbelievably safe. And one or two nights in the city will not cut it - a week will be ideal (giving you time to get the time-consuming museum visits out of the way while still allowing you time to relax and enjoy the city). Any more than that would be like consuming a delicacy that is exceedingly rich. One should not over-indulge in his or her consumption of Venice. Like any good thing, too much of it is not good. On the other hand, too little of it will leave you craving more.
[Photographic Art by Angela Pereira]