Trouble in Naples

My wife and I rented a car in Rome the latter part of April. We drove north to Siena, Florence, Venice and down the Yugoslav coast to Dubrovnik. From there we took a car ferry to Bari, Italy, and then to Naples. That was our undoing. We stopped at a traffic light in town (natives rarely do), a young man yanked open my wife's door and grabbed her purse from the floor between her feet. Away went most of our money, travelers checks, passports, credit cards, etc. After reporting to the police we found a hotel that would house and feed us, using the card out of my wallet.

Next day the American Consulate issued us two temporary passports but would not give us both because we had to borrow $12 from the staff for passport photos. We found that the American Express refund officer had no interest in reissuing our checks after three trips walking and running across town. We tried our luck at Bank of America d'Italia to see if they would give us some money--they did. Back to the consulate to pay them back.

The one-passport situation cost another $150 for a mediocre hotel and one equally mediocre meal. The car was parked right in front of the hotel and was missing its spare tire the next morning.

People we met had similar troubles in Naples. A U.S. Marine told us that in his two years there he heard of many similar cases, and for that reason Naples is not a popular duty area. About half of the cars showed damage caused by either the wild traffic or thieves.

ELLIOTT FULL

Port Hueneme

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