Tuesday, May 25, 2010
How to Be A Tourist 101
Long flights tend to create a sense of timelessness. One's watch, even if one had remembered to bring it on her trip, is no use because it only reflects time at the point of departure or arrival, but never serves to pinpoint one's place in the universe. On-flight movies onlly exaggerate the sensation, making reality still more distant.
Can I just interrupt and question WHO thought it was a good idea to show an Amelia Earheart movie film while traveling over the Atlantic? Probably the same person who designed the USAirways cabin to remove any square inch of personal space or comfort. Sorry, Cheyenne...!
Anyway, in spite of US Airways' desire to ruin the first leg of my trip, all it took was a very dramatic, very breathless run across the Charlotte airport to board my flight to Rome just as the doors were closing.
The first day in Rome has been, to put it mildly, interesting. A shuttle ride with two teenagers from Finland who were quite possibly high on an illegal substance or two, a moment of being stranded without a map somewhere in the city because a shuttle driver's mother died and he couldn't finish delivering us, and a very long, scenic and completely carsick taxi ride through the city...but I arrived at the oh-so-lovely Daphne Hotel. I'm sitting on the shared third-floor balcony as I write this...as you can see from the photo, it's too small to be shared. **Please don't criticize the horrific self-portrait abilities...there are going to be many more off-center shots!*** There are only three rooms on this floor, however, so I feel quite generous in sharing "my" balcony.
Here are some of the interesting sights from today:
Nuns. There are nuns everywhere, and all I want to do is to go talk to them and ask important, deeply spiritual questions such as what do you do with your hair under that habit? Do you ever read newpapers? What, exactly, ARE you doing at the Trevi Fountain? And my favorite question: are you really so focused on God that you didn't even notice that the Italian guy who just walked by you looks like something out of a movie?!
The most shocking thing about Rome, apart from the life-threatening traffic, of course, is the graffiti. I can appreciate some good urban wall art, but can't grasp the thought process of someone who sees a wall that has ben around for centuries and decides the best way to celebrate history is with a can of spray paint. To quote my dear friend Seth Myers: "Really? REALLY?!"
I had expected my first day here to be lonely, but that has been far from the case. On the plane I befriended a professor from NAU (on the flight to Rome, that is - on the flight to Charlotte I befriended then de-friended an 80-year-old man from Naples who spoke no English but thought it was his hands' duty to guide my butt into the seat anytime I left then returned to my chair. Welcome to Italy!) My new friend (her name is "Octavia," isn't that beautiful?! I could never be exotic and complicated enough for a name like that) is staying across town but we're meeting for dinner tonight. The one flaw with my day is that I have not yet had gelato. I plan to fix that shortly.
I also befriended a rich, bossy American couple on the tour bus. At first I thought they were impatient, but grew to really like them - especially after they had the patience to pick tree leaves out of my hair when I had an unexpected run-in with a branch while on the top of the double-decker tour bus.
I must go for now so I can find something unwrinkled enough for my first dinner in Rome...bonna serra! Or buon giornio, for you Americans who are still in bed right now.
Posted by Beth at 7:57 AM