A chronicle of movement aimed at synchronizing thoughts and keyboards with said movement.


When in Rome - Installment One

Ahhhh! There's too much to write to do this all in one piece. We'll all have a lot more fun if I don't get too verbose over one long piece.

I'll do it over three or 10. Anyway, this was one of the best weekends in the history of my life and the world. Hoooorayyyy!!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Have a Japanese tour group take your pictures trying to signal with your hands that you want to be able to see the whole group with lots of stuff in the background. But anyway, the main characters, from small to tall (right to left): Claire Tynan, Emily Fox, Joe Downer, Kevin Scheitrum.
Supporting cast: Plato (left), Aristotle (right). Not pictured: Raphael, Michelangelo, The Pope, various salesmen, hundreds of deadly Vespas, The Collusion of Science and Imperial Passion, Hundreds of Birds that Sat on Trees and Planned Their Attacks Before Carpet-Bombing, The It's-OK waitress, RyanAir, Hostel workers, and all the rest who flew by.

This panoramic view (from the Italian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier-type building...huge) between Trajan's Market and the Colosseum is where lots of things went on, including, but not limited to: The Building of the heart of Roman Empire.

Piazza San Pietro. The plaza in front of St. Peter's Cathedral, into which we eventually went when we got over the fact that this was all built before Popes didn't fight in wars.

The Roman Forum, where the Romans went for everyday things, like shopping, the post office, or riots.

[With more than 250 digitograph pictures of the weekend on my ca-me-ra, check out Webshots for a bulk of them -- they're not cropped or edited yet, at least most of them, but it'll be a good appetizer...like the pounds and pounds of mozzarella-based dishes we had]

In the 2004 film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (starring Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate and a cast of other considerably jocose characters), Mr. Burgundy occasions to bedtime with his new lovething, Miss Veronica Corningstone. Without going into such devilish details of the deed, we see the always gelastic yet befuddled Mr. Burgundy admit he has no idea what "When in Rome" means. Oh! the joy! Please alert Mr. Burgundy that any questions hitherto have answers!

Now, at least two stones heavier with pasta and dirt and head-grease, I sit to collect myself and sort out everything we saw, all the feats of human passion and civilization that had previously existed only in textbooks and abstractions within the dream-oriented mind; everything we did, from destroying new pairs of sneakers and body joints that are quickly becoming old with miles and miles of walking to a wine waltz that brought us in front of the Pantheon; and everything that was lit anew inside of us, the re-emergence at the Eternal City of wonder we all know in youth.

I guess I'll go about this chronologically -- at the very minimum, in a sort of looping, swooping way that fits things that are extremely awesome.


We began without sleep and with great hopes at 4.30 a.m. on Friday, when the cab pulled in front of our apartment with misses Emily Fox and Claire Tynan in the back, looking rather cloudy due to a lack of sleep and the compensatory hormones that prepare the body for moments of great excitement or great strain. We humbly hoped for the former as we made our way through the empty and dark London streets, eventually to a train carrying us through the countryside north of London to Luton airport, the Anglican hub for economy flying (and the host of the 264 RAF Fighting Squadron during the Second Teutonic Migration).

We flew Ryanair, paying 60some GBP for the round trip to Rome, which includes (and is completely limited to) a round trip to Rome. Leathery plastic covers the seats which don't feature the recline function. That's one weird thing -- I had no idea that planes actually came with non-reclining seats. Almost like you have to custom-remove the joint.

But we got there, after taking a bus past miles of junkyards, scrapped cars and houses and walked around Termini, the bus station, four times as we tried to orient ourselves to get to our hostel, which was very much a hostel and looked like a place that Janis Joplin would have painted. And built. And then sweat all over. It rained a little bit the first day (only when we got close to the Colosseum), so when we slept, it was as if the walls, the lights, the floor were all pouring out sweat. So that was pleasant.

But we'll get to the good stuff, at long last. Just like

Rome's gross up where the hostel is. Fountains dribble out water as birds, in hundreds, sit on top of trees and cover entire benches and people in poop. But move southward, ambling through streets that grow cleaner and cleaner and then finally,


To the right is Trajan's column, with its war story spiral ascending skyward. To the left sits the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, built in the 20th century to commemorate the Italians defeating somebody else (the French?), including themselves. Then they unified and made 1700 statues of Garibaldi.

A walkway surrounds the building, and offers views everywhere, as sights extend into the mountains and fades into the fog.

Rome. God. 2000-plus years of civilization. Buildings that are seven-to-eight times older than THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, which is older than at least half of the people alive. Really old!

So at any rate, we made our way down the Tomb toward the Colosseum.

And that will be the post for Monday!


Post a Comment

<< Home