Saturday, May 26, 2007
Now with pictures:
Figure One: Me in front of the Collosseum looking like the cracker that I am
In my last post, I forgot to mention an essential aspect of the calamity of my not speaking Italian. You see, almost everyone with whom I've successfully spoken here has informed me that they assumed I was a native prior to opening my mouth. As the picture above illustrates, however, I am the most Aryan (and lame, probably) thing this side of the Italian alps. I was thinking it might have been my fashion sense, but as I mentioned before, the only thing Roman about my fashion sense is the fact that it doesn't even remotely match that of any one person here, whose does not match his or her neighbor, and so on. Initially, this hodge podge bothered me since Italy is supposed to be such a fasionable country (perhaps that's only true in Milan?), but I'm beginning to see it as positive rather than negative. It's completely and totally enough that there are millions of tools in the United States (ZOMG!!1111 AberKromBy ShoutOUt!!!111) who look exaclty like one another, right down to the accessory level. That said, there does seem to be a sect of "straight" men who believe that wearing a pair of nondescript jeans, a pair of nondescript shoes, and wearing a nondescript button-up shirt qualifies as well-dressed, which sounds slightly like the "straight" Italian men in New York.
Figure Two: Pleasuring the collective Italian phallus
If you don't know me, you're probably questioning why I've placed the word "straight" inside quotations, and if you do know me, you're probably asking "for what reason this time, Robert?" Well, the answer is that the only remotely straight behavior in which I've seen any man in this country partake is kissing a woman, and even that seems to be done half-assed around here. Before I left, I actually began to have an epiphany RE: sexuality (it's essentially a societal trap), and I'm still very into that, but on a very societal level, the men here couldn't look gayer, and that's saying something, considering I said the same thing about the men in other countries in Europe last time, all decked-out in their man capris. I'm happy/sad to report that the man capri is back and gay/straighter than ever, but Italian men beat this in spades, wearing tighter clothing than I do in all sorts of feminine shapes and textures and sitting on each other's laps on the subway. "Gayday" here compared to its American counterpart must be like comparing the respective pizzas, or something.
Figure 3: He's got the whole world (ed: well, at one time, Rome was the center of the world!) in his hands (ed: er, extending from my fingertips?)
I'm having such an amazing time here I've forgotten several times that a Tori Amos tour is beginning in 48 hours.
Figure 3.b: Teatro Sistina, where T-money is playing
The negative things I can say about Rome dissolve every time I get out of a negative situation, i.e. the confusing layout that retards my normally Pointer-like sense of direction and the mediocre night bus system. The food, so far, is excellent, the vegetarian pizza (ed: who'da thunk that "peperoni" meant "peppers" in Italian?) I snagged for five euros hands down better than any pizza I've eaten before in my life, and this was at some nondescript kebab shop on a random corner I couldn't find again if my life depended on it. The scenery is, of course, incredible. I rode by the (lit-up) Collosseum last night on one of those uber-hip scooter things and it's just...um...wow. There's such an electricity here. I won't say that Rome is my favorite city and it's few (but very fundamental) flaws might prevent me from ever saying that, but I will say that Rome is a place I would happily go out of my way to visit again.
Figure 4: The view off my hotel balcony--yes I said balcony
And I will certainly stay at "One Step from St. Peter" again. It's an incredible little hole in the wall that's better than any hotel I stayed in last time, and comparably priced. At about 45 euros per night, I get breakfast, a full-sized bed, internet use, and a location only three metro stops from the geographical center of town. I'm also within walking distance of an incredible fruit market that's only incredible in reputation because my lazy ass just got around to sleeping off jet lag and the 25 plus miles I've walked so far. One last gush about Rome before I call it a (cyber) night and go find something to do with myself before I lay me down for good tonight: I think I'm going to break down and shop here. They actually make dress clothing for skinny people here! I can get a hot pair of pin-stripe pants, a fitted button up, and a real Italian silk tie for less than 40 euros (about $55) here, out the door, at almost every shop I've been to. And some are cheaper! I'm tempted to wait until Milan, but my thought is that while the selection there will be greater, the cost will be too high. Any thoughts, please leave them. Otherwise, check out myspace for more pictures in the meantime. I'll post more tomorrow, provided I don't get hit by a motor vehicle walking across the street, which, for the record, is one of the most exciting feelings in the world. I can't really expand upon why I think almost dying every time one crosses a Roman road is exciting; all I can tell you is the second you step foot (and I do mean foot; your other foot will be in mid stride when you hear the engine humming) onto, say, Via de Cavour, you will know. Get thee to Rome!