Saturday, August 6, 2005

dimanche, le 24 juillet 2005


Today has been . . . interesting. The saga began with us "sleeping" in the Geneve airport last night. We took shifts, which meant that Monaca slept about two hours, and I slept about one. Wendy not happy when Wendy no sleepie.

Our flight arrived in Rome at 8:00 A.M., and we stood in a long line for police border check. We finally got through and got on a bus from Ciampino airport to Anangina. From there we took metro line A to Ottaviano, the stop for our hostel (Pensione Ottaviano). Now, keep in mind that we hadn't bathed in quite some time and had hardly slept. It was sweltering hot as we walked, searching for the hostel.

When we finally found it, we were thoroughly hot and thoroughly tired. We checked in, hoping for a double, only to find ourselves assigned to a six-person dorm room (praying that the other four people were female). Then the people who checked us in told us we had to leave until 2:30 P.M., a good five hours later. Needless to say, we were disappointed; we had wanted to sleep.

So we got lemon gelato and headed to Piazza San Pietro, where we people-watched for a while, trying to avoid eye contact with the leering polizia who kept circling on their Lamborghini golf cart. Then we went souvenir hunting for a while, as Monaca's family expects souvenirs. After this, Monaca mentioned that she had to use the bathroom, so we set off in search of a potty and a grocery store. After much wandering, we found the latter. Our relief, however, was short lived, as the store seemed to carry only food that needed to be cooked. So we gathered what we could and headed off again, Monaca still attesting to a full bladder and an aching back.

Rome seems short on grassy, shady areas--and on public restrooms. I finally made Monaca prioritize: Which was a more immediate need--a bathroom, or a place to sit? She chose the latter. We finally found a scrubby patch of brittle grass in patchy shade, next to the Castel Sant'Angelo. We settled down to a . . . peculiar lunch of lettuce (no dressing), a plastic-wrapped slab of Fontina cheese, olives, and raw gnocchi. Mmmmm. We had three unopened, warm bottles of beer, which we realized (too late) didn't have twist-off caps. They remain unopened.

At last, 2:30 rolled around. By now, both of us had just about run out of patience for one another and for our situation. We set off in the direction of our hostel, only to realize, to our dismay (and after much walking), that Castel Sant'Angelo and its grounds are a very effective fortress--there's only one exit. We finally found our way out . . . only to find ourselves thoroughly lost.

At this point, I was exhausted, as hot as I've probably ever been, and filthy. I was not a happy camper. I was sick of being the one trying to navigate us around the picturesque (read confusing) and winding roads of Rome. Comments like "Aren't we supposed to go this way?" and "Do you want me to look at the map?" were not well received by me. At one point, I threw up my hands and dropped my head, moaning, "I give up!" I just wanted to sit down and morph into another statue to add to Rome's already burgeoning collection.

At long last, we found our way and I, no longer harboring a shred of decorum or vanity, drenched my sweat-soaked head in a drinking fountain. When we arrived at the hostel, I couldn't undress and get in a cold shower quickly enough. I felt so much better. After a four-hour nap, during which I think I went into a coma, Monaca and I were ready to be civil with each another once more.

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