A quick update before I forget to do this in the morning (please forgive any typographical or syntax errors):
Bar culture in Italy is apparently very different than that of my unfortunate home country. I walked in a circle around the canal for a solid 30 minutes searching for a decent place to plant myself. Turns out, very few bars around here have actual seating at the bar, which is completely contrary to the ethos I adopted in New Orleans. I explored for a while before realizing that I had no legitimate form of identification on me. Being a prisoner of American drinking habits, I returned to the apartment and retrieved my passport despite a complete lack of necessity.
Venturing back onto the roads of canal-adjacent Milan, I made my way to a bar called Pinch, about 2 blocks down from where I am staying. I walked in and sat on the far-most stool available. Both bartenders started speaking in slow Italian, apparently sensing something was amiss. I comprehended about half of what they were saying, but begged for an English conversation anyway. Mercifully, one of them was relatively fluent and ordered one of the waitresses to get me an American menu. After skimming, I ordered their signature Manhattan. That shit was so fucking good that I tried my best to express it in a foreign language. I predictably failed miserably, but they seemed to understand the sentiment all the same.
About ¾’s of the way through the drink, a Luigi-without-the-green-looking man stumbled to the bar and started bellowing Italian, occasionally clasping my shoulder for emphasis. I went along as well as I could. The bartender, Fabio (dope name), eventually informed my newfound friend that I spoke literally no fluent Italian. This sparked an immediate shift to my native language as he assuaged me with mostly English apologies. To keep a long, relatively uneventful, story short he ended up buying me two drinks because he felt bad that my poor country had elected Donald Trump. This guy is a fucking legend.
I left shortly thereafter, feeling that I should save myself for another day. The night ended with both a lower tab and a better resting place than expected. I can’t ask for much more. No curbs to speak of. Maybe tomorrow, miei amici.