It has been Friday here for quite a few hours, though it is just 6:38 am in CA it is 15:38pm here in Rome. I have been up for 6 hours but it seems like at least 24. Who knew you could see and walk so much in one day? My mission today was to simply explore my new neighborhood, to get a lay of the land, to pick up a few things. Today there was a Bus and Metro Strike (common here) so Brian and Sarah, my team leaders said to just spend the day exploring by foot. So that is what I did.
I would love to tell you I had a fantastic time, but that is not so. Sure there were good points, and I saw a lot of cool things, but it is CALDO (HOT) here, and the sun beat on my skin all day long. And I not being the stick figure I hope to be after living here for sometime and walking like I did today, was feeling it as I finally approached home, and my legs were sticking together, meaning that just because my feet were moving forward did not mean my thighs were coming along without a fight. Ahh what I wouldn't give to get rid of my inner thighs. (Which if things continue on like they did to day may just rub themselves away) I apologize if this is too much of a visual, but someone else should feel my pain.
I said there were good points. I found the old city wall, not hard. (to find, the wall is hard.) Then I meandered through the walking arch and found myself facing the Terme Di Caracalla, a huge area covered in ruins of what used to be one massive Roman Bath. Somehow bath just doesn't fit. It was more like a elite spa/country club if you ask me. Spread out over a huge expansive area, which I traipsed all about taking pictures, and trying to envision the Toga wearing pool party that must have always been taking place when Caracalla was opened in 217AD. The space is now used for Opera's and theater productions, and I have to admit it would be a great venue. It is also serving as a home to some of the most obnoxious birds I have ever heard. Yes, even the Seagulls speak a different language here in Roma. They are crazy sounding, reminiscent of The Joker's laugh in the last Batman movie. The Seagulls are not alone in their annoying calls, they were surrounded by other much more invisible birds and I still cannot describe the sound they make. Some where between loud telephone wires, and nails on a chalk board and a dentist drill all amplified and in surround sound.
Roma is a city of noise. A fact that somehow helps me to sleep, but can grind on your last nerve in the heat of the mid afternoon sun. There are sirens constantly, which either means the cops and ambulance drivers just enjoy making noise or there are a lot of issues in this city. There is constant traffic and horns, and engines. There is the sound of the birds, the people, the construction the buses that are driving by empty.
I walked through the noise all the way to San Giovanni Church, though I was too hot and exhausted to try to cross the crazy traffic to go inside, maybe tomorrow. Then I found it, the store I had happened upon last night, a new department store called Coin. Did I mention it is 4 stories of air conditioned loveliness?! I meandered about, and made my way all the way to the top, to use the restroom. Which by the way looked out upon San Giovanni. As I stepped out I saw it, a salon, it was calling my name, "Come, sit, get your sweaty hair washed, and cut, and feel much better." So I did. I had wanted to get my hair chopped before I left for Roma, but there had not been time or money. Now that I had enough of both I decided to brave my first Italian hair cut, I fumbled through asking for prices, and explaining that I would love it if they wouldn't mind cutting my nasty sticky hair off. They wisely handed me some hair style magazines which I quickly flipped through and chose my new look. My hair dresser Massimiuano seemed pleased with my choice, and sent me back to get my hair washed!!! What a nice feeling. I was returned to him, much cleaner, and he set to work promptly cutting my hair with confidence. He made it look just like the picture, so I think I can safely say that I have found my new hair stylist here in Roma!
I left there feeling much more put together and less like a half drowned animal. I wandered back into the heat, found a pharmacy, bought some sunscreen, found a store with cheap sunglasses (because I forgot my wonderful brand new ones at home) purchased a pair and then finally found a spot to eat something. Originally when I headed out this morning I had intended on finding a coffee bar and having some little bite, but I had been unsuccessful and thus did not eat until after 2pm.
Lunch was lovely, I was surrounded by art, over my table hung The Last Supper and across from me was a painting of Moulin Rouge, ah, Roma the constant intermix of the sacred and profane.
Me and my thighs shuffled home, made it to the 9th floor of my building, and my third fight with the 100 year old lock and won. Maybe someday soon it will just give up the fight and let me in the first time I turn the key. Maybe.