- Sunday was beautiful and sunny but the apartment still had a damp cold feel to it – our building is concrete with marble and terra cotta floors – so we left the house with jackets on. Totally unneeded! If the neon sign at the Farmacia was right it hit 31C by late in the afternoon. We wandered through the neighbourhood, stopped for a gelato, did a quick detour into the 3rd Century Basilica of Santa Constanza (though its just next door Laurent had never seen it) and sat in the condo complex park for a while. A nice way to spend a Sunday.
- Though it wasn’t part of our normal Saturday subscription we decided to catch Handel’s Alexander’s Feast at the Academia this past Saturday night. Handel isn’t really in the Italian blood so though it was a fine performance it missed the spark needed to set the piece on fire. However I must admit the young Slovak tenor Pavol Breslik was pretty to look at and he could sing too.
Its been years since I’d heard it and while rereading John Dryden’s text I was struck by the following passage on the fallen Darius, dead on the battlefield:
Deserted at his utmost need
By those his former bounty fed
On the bare earth expos’d he lies.
Without a friend to close his eyes.
Surely that last line is one of the saddest in English poetry.
- It is estimated that 50% of the people who ride the buses in Rome do so without a ticket. If caught there is a hefty fine – EURO150.00 or about CAD225.00 – but as the enforcers normally announce their intentions by congregating in uniform at the bus stops …
Though Romans complain about their transit system we’ve found it exceptional, if at times crowded. A ticket costs E1.00 ($1.50 CAD)and is good for unlimited travel on any combination of transit for 75 minutes. A monthly pass is E30.00 ($45.00) – though I was asked two months ago if I qualified for the E20.00 Seniors Pass – the bitch! I understand that back home in Ottawa its now $3.00 per ride and a monthly pass is $73.00.
Saturday night the only option for getting around town was public transit. We tried to get a taxi from the Parco della Musica but there were none to be had. So we hopped on a Number 2 tram with a gang of football fans returning from a Roma game, changed at Piazza del Popolo to Metro A and again at Termini to Metro B. It only took us 30 minutes; the traffic was so bad that if we had waited for that taxi we’d probably still be sitting somewhere along Via Flaminia with a two days growth of beard.
- We were headed for I Fiori di Cina (Flowers of China) to meet our friends Vin and Larry for a late (well late by North American standards) dinner. By the time we got there it was 9:30 and the place was packed – so packed we couldn’t get a table on the gay side!
The gay side???? Yeah I guess that does sort of require a bit of explaining. As our friend Kevin said after Laurent’s birthday dinner: Well I guess I can cross eating at a Gay Chinese Restaurant in the Historic Centre of Rome off my list of things to do before I die. Its not that its officially gay, its just that its very, very, very gay friendly. The hostess knows most of the clients and seats people pretty much according to perceived sexuality – lesbians and gays to the right, straights to the left and undecideds where ever there’s a free table.
But as I said on Saturday it was so packed we could only get a table on the left side – along with a table of 8 twinks – who were replaced by 8 daddy bears, a table of 4 hairdressers, two or three tables of gay couples and a table of 4 lesbians. The Straight side??? Yes! There was a table beside us and there was a straight couple sitting there.
- Yesterday (April 21) Rome officially turned 2761. Yes back on April 21, 751 BC Romulus and Remus tore themselves away from pulling on She-wolf nipples and founded a village on the slopes of the Palatine Hill. Buon compleanno Roma, you don’t look a day over 2000!
22 aprile – Santa Leonida