TOP 10 Things Learned on a Roman Holiday…

Romics Festival Fun!!!

Before I run off for another round of reclusive toil surrounding this whole ‘new project thingie‘, I simply must share some essential nuggets unearthed whilst pacing the cobbled pathways, butchering the native tongue, and exploring the ancient-meets-cosmopolitan splendour that combined to make my little Italian escape such a memorable one!

1) Geeks may be the same all over, but Italian geeks are a special breed. The guys are handsome and articulate (see attached pic). The gals are foxy AND friendly. And the teeming masses of fandom are actually interested in how you’re contributing to geek culture as a whole. Not only did a room of nearly 2000 cosplaying Romans give me their undivided attention for an hour+…they asked questions. Interesting questions. Challenging questions. Passionate questions. And in BOTH languages!!! Shit, I’m still receiving question-packed emails almost two weeks on. Bravissimo (which, if examined closely enough, I’m sure is even more linguistic abuse – Ciao, ciao :P!!!).

2) It was sunny and 20C/70+F every day. In October. And supposedly it doesn’t get much colder than that. I even saw a few ‘winter coats’. This particular mediterranean boy – trapped by birth in the Great White North, and cursed with half-years of drizzle in the two-season Pacific Northwest (Dry…Wet…deal with it) – found a little slice of climate heaven.

3) And speaking of slices…I had pizza. REAL pizza. Thin, crispy crust. Orbs of succulent mozzarella. Savoury crimson tomatoes for lifeblood. Crowned with forests of spinach or thinly sliced provolone. Man….this is something you approach with patience. Appreciation. Absolute reverence. Ya’ get me? So fuck you, Pizza Hut. Just fuck you.

4) More food. Simple food. Divine FOOD. Pasta. Paninis. Gelato. Rest. Digest. Repeat. Joy. Ten extra pounds later…I have no real regrets 😉

5) Need I say anything about the local wine (which they are so proud to share and discuss with you at length)? Or the whole-body experience that is Italian coffee (which EVERY Roman seems to embrace, moreso than Sunday prayers and bad politics)? The only thing that stung regarding national beverages? A big bottle of San Pellegrino mineral water – a guilty pleasure here at $4+ – is less than one damn Euro in Rome! Another reasonable excuse to relocate, I would think…

6) You know how waiters in LA consider themselves ‘actors on the brink’? Taxi drivers in Rome, as a whole, honestly see themselves as back-up Andrettis. Racing is worshipped there…so what better job for the heavy of foot and quick of wrist? The next time you come hurtling down a 10ft wide S-curve back-alley – with pedestrians, mopeds, and a 45deg decline – and essentially plunge into a mass of fast-flowing traffic that somehow self-organizes into two working ‘lanes’ without alarm or incident…well, let’s just say I can see now why Italians tend to hog the pole position in F1 😉

7) Not only do the men know how to drive, but they actually look good on the dominant transporatational machinery: scooters. That’s impossible here. Laughable, even. But in Rome? After the hundredth perfectly coifed, pinstiped-suit wearing, even-stubbled, mirrored sunglass-sporting, French cigarette smoking, Prada shoe-loving young businessman zoomed by – in between the odd Smartcar and duct-taped Yugo – I started to get the point. In Rome…it’s not what you drive – but how you drive it.

8) And the women? I could go into explicit detail, but shall focus on the one thing that immediately snared my fancy; Italian girls know how to walk. They don’t shuffle. Or shimmy. Or clomp along aimlessly. Italian girls glide. And saunter. And strut. Whether clad in a basic sport shoe, or towering over the weaker sex in a pair of 8-inch black leather devil-heeled slut boots, these are women who walk with poise and purpose. Which is so contrary to their North Amercian counterparts. And God bless them for that…

9) Everything of real interest is right downtown. In the core of the city. Everything you could want. Or have heard about. Or didn’t even think to expect. Standing there side-by-side with the ‘ordinary’…just down the block. It takes a while to process it. It doesn’t sink in completely at first. Like your very own film on the History Channel. And it’s all…so…beautiful.

10) The Catholic Church has wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much money. Obscene amounts. Sickening piles of the stuff. And they flaunt it. It’s something we all kinda ‘know’…but you don’t truly get it until you’re standing in the belly of the beast. I’m glad I saved all of that for my last day – it was the only thing that made me long for the simpler shores of home.

12 Responses to “TOP 10 Things Learned on a Roman Holiday…”

  1. Optimistic says:

    I agree with everything you have mentioned about Rome, I was only there briefly 5 years ago, for about 3 days. I especially agree with comment 10, I saw churches all over Europe that summer and I was actually disgusted by the wealth shown off at the Vatican. Oh well, glad to hear you had a good trip.

  2. Elise says:

    I want pictures of Italian chicks!

  3. Rexfelum says:

    You know what? Those pictures are reminding me of my single solitary cross-oceanic travel (to St. Petersburg). Just standing next to something old and beautiful is fantastic. Here, in “New” England, the best we get are Lovecraftian underground networks of cellars and sewers that are uncharted and quite possibly less than uninhabited.


  4. Wow, there is little I can say to fully encapsulate the scope of my envy. Oh, well, I’ll just go drink some Italian soda. That will *almost* be like going over. 😛 Still, I’m glad you had a great time. It’s always nice to be able to visit paradiso, even for a short time.

    I would say something about the Church, but then I’d be pretty hypocritical, my personal “billionaire dream house” in my mind’s eye looks suspiciously like a cathedral (with statues of myself instead of Jesus and Mary :P). Also, I find it funny that despite the ostentatious wealth of the Vatican, it’s not even the richest religion per capita.

  5. chapulin says:

    I second Elise’s request. 🙂

  6. dumbwhiteguy says:

    Tell me you got one of those “I go nuts for Italian butts” T-shirts.

  7. Saggio says:

    Man, Roma. You are a very lucky bastard, Brooke. Did you go and see the Forum?

  8. Kim says:

    B here – actually, I almost got a pair of ‘Statue of David’ spandex undies, with a big blow-up shot of a specific piece of his stone anatomy 😉

    And yeah, Sag’…the Forum was WICKED. That and Trevi Fountain were my personal highlights, for sure.

  9. stroy says:

    Beautiful country. A magnificient ghost of ancient glory.

  10. tobias says:

    heh heh heh… I knew you’d ‘get’ the food once exposed to it in person. You don’t know how happy it made me that waxing poetic about Italian food and wine came BEFORE going off about Italian women in your list! And here I thought I was the died-in-the-wool Epicurean? Seems it’s a family trait after all…

    nice synopsis, we shall have to go back and do it together sometime – you show me Rome, I’ll show you Tuscany… deal?

    I thought so…

    (ps… good thing you didn’t get the David undies, it would have been tacky to get them in Rome – the dude himself is in Florence… actually, most people who think they’ve seen the original haven’t, as the one in the original location in the square front of the Palazzo Vecchio is a copy. The original is in the Academy of Fine Arts for better preservation.)

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