Alone in Rome
Rome Travel Blog› entry 65 of 66 › view all entries
It had taken a lot of haggling and hours in waiting queues for 2 days to find myself standing watching two Italians argue. On my left was an overweight, sweaty, pasty as over-boiled pasta policeman bellowing loudly and waving his arms wildly. I thought he would hit something. To my right was a slim, pretty blonde woman from the information desk. She was firing back admirably. I was the subject of this seemingly fierce debate (probably an everyday conversation) but only stood there watching this savage drama. The cop was a loathsome character his spittle was spattering out with every remonstration. Obstinate, ignorant, bureaucratic, slovenly, emotional, and arrogant to me he was the personification everything wrong with Italy. She was holding her own against this brute. Her blue eyes sparkled with anger. Caring, intelligent, commonsensical, professional, poised, and passionate she was everything to be loved about Italy.
There was nothing to be done but buy another ticket, this time from a Romanian airline-Blue Air.
After that things started getting somewhat better. Back in the city I stopped at the Spanish steps and the Piazza nearby .For the first time in my stay the sun was broke through the grey sky and the marble sculptures were bathed in the afternoon rays. It was a beautiful sight and my heart warmed a bit as I stood there taking it in. The steps themselves were crowded with tourists snapping cameras, teenagers trying to be cool, brown skinned hawkers with their plastic wares, bald Italians (lot of baldies in this part of the world) in leather jackets and cashmere scarves licking on gelatos. I didn’t find the whole atmosphere very romantic but maybe because I was alone. This feeling of out-of-placeness grew so I walked of past the Piazza where a small string band was playing “O sol amio”. The atmosphere here was quite quaint with the fountains surrounded by open-air cafes where fashionable Romans were taking their cappuccinos and arguing (probably complimenting each other) or so it seemed. Some parts of Rome are very peaceful indeed. In the maze of alleys one never knows what delightful little niche he can come across.
Back at the hostel I moved to another dorm on the floor up and this time was in luck to find some interesting people. Arriving back one evening I saw two pairs of English students playing cards. “We’re playing cheat you want in?..” they were amiable (pot-headish) fellows the girls wore spectacles and looked very bookish. “Sure why not?” I took a seat in their circle. During our game, which the girls always lost, we found about each other’s adventures and misadventures in big old Rome. “We went to this spaghetti museum today” said Ian a comedic hobbit-like chap from Nottingham, “It was just a lot of pictures of fat Italians eating a lot of spaghetti. Couldn’t believe we paid 2 quid to see that.” This guy made me laugh he was a natural. I could just imagine this impish curly haired elf darting around Sherwood Forest in green felt with a feathered hat. “Ohh..damn you” the bespectacled girl chirped as she picked up the deck once again.
I also chatted with an amazingly friendly Canadian pair (I mean, which Canadians aren’t friendly?) who were traveling Europe they had big red Maple leaves on their packs. “We’re Canadian not American. After living in UK for the last six months we found its necessary to let people know that.” “If it weren’t for your accents I would never mistake you for Americans” they seemed relieved to hear that.