Posted by: Jerry Garrett | June 13, 2017

Driving My Mercedes From LA To Italy – Day 31 Italian Standard Time

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 1.54.38 PM

The red box is the ship.


The Duesseldorf Express is not here today, as it was scheduled to be.

For a month now, the cargo ship carrying my 1973 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL from Los Angeles to a rendezvous with me in Genoa, Italy, has been running on time like a Swiss train – through a dozen ports, across more than 5,000 miles of ocean. Despite wind, waves, high seas and strong currents, the 282-meter-long ship has admirably kept to a tight schedule – until it reached Italian waters yesterday.

Then it plowed into a nearly immovable force we call Italian Standard Time. Instead of numbers, an Italian clock face has “domani” at each hour.

The ship was supposed to arrive in Cagliari, on the island of Sardinia, early Sunday, and leave by late Sunday evening. Instead it was slowed down being allowed into the port, and slowed for its clearance to leave. (Not much happens anywhere in Italy on a Sunday, so maybe that part of the schedule was a little ignorant of local mores.) It was supposed to arrive in Livorno, on the coast of Tuscany, late last night, and leave for Genoa (Genova) by this afternoon.

Instead, it just left Cagliari this morning, and is chugging along the busy shipping lanes off the coast of Sardinia, as I write, at about 14 knots. It is now not due in Livorno until tomorrow morning. Domani.

And that will subsequently delay its arrival in Genoa until sometime the next day (Thursday).

Italian Standard Time is this gotcha in Italy that roughly translates to “whenever.” It’s like trying to play golf underwater, read while looking in a mirror, or climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.

Everything seems to happen in slow motion (if at all).

Here’s an example: We recently had to wait for three weeks for a plumber to come boost the low water pressure at our apartment; he finally came the other day, adjusted it a bit then left. We were actually left with less water pressure, because he adjusted it the wrong way, without telling us what he was doing or why; we called him immediately to come back and really fix it correctly this time. He says he may be able to come back in a week or two – and the guy’s office is a half-mile away from our apartment. It might take him five minutes.

If you try to buck the system, or ask for things to hurry up, you just piss people off. So, the Mercedes arrives Thursday, June 15 now. Or whenever.


Jerry Garrett

June 13, 2017



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