What a city!

I never gave Rome too much thought… names like ‘Roman’ Catholic and ‘Roman� Empire were all just names to me and I never stopped to consider that those things, plus many other, all originated right here in this city.

Last year I was amazed at Athens, with the Parthenon on a hill right in the center of town, lit up at night… but Rome puts Athens to shame! This city is an entire museum unto itself. You cannot walk one block without seeing some very old ruin or massive statue or fountain… and most of them are so magnificent it makes you stop and gawk just like the multitudes of tourists who flock to this city.

I didn’t go to the Vatican, although we walked all around it… there are two people you don’t want me to get too close to… George W. Bush (actually, Cheney and Rumsy too) and the Pope. I may unleash my murderous rage upon them if the opportunity presents itself, so better to keep my distance for now until the time comes.

It is really amazing how some of the icons of Rome are literally right there, in the city… like, if you can go to Rome and NOT see pretty much everything (ie. Colosseum, Pantheon, etc) then you are legally blind or comatose. Everything is right there, we drove past the Colosseum in a taxi at least 5-10 times.. and it’s not like it is behind some fences and away from the street, it is right there, like just off the sidewalk… it is really amazing.

Because of the history of the Colosseum (what an amazing history it has, if you aren’t aware of it, check it out on the internet) I figured that the Colosseum would be the thing that impressed me most, but it wasn’t. The place that impressed me the most was the Pantheon. Google it if you don’t know about it… it is one of the most glorious, amazingly designed buildings I have ever seen, and the fact that it was built thousands of years ago is mind numbing. In fact, they still don’t know how the built the giant domed roof without it collapsing of its own weight… and the fact that it is in almost perfect condition is a testament to the amazing craftsmanship of the builders. Compare that to the Big Owe in Montreal, built 30 years ago and falling apart! Nowadays, we build junk and we, as people, are pathetic in comparison to those in the Roman Empire.

I am at the airport now going to Barcelona after 4 days in Rome… I have numerous reasons for this:

1.. Hotels in Rome are incredibly expensive (I averaged nearly $400/night and I would say those same hotels in Bangkok would cost $25/night or less). As well, every hotel is practically full, so I had to move every day just to find rooms, which brings me to the next point

2.. This town is FULL of tourists… I can’t blame them for coming here, it is the most amazing city I have been to in terms of ‘tourist attracations’, by far… but it makes for a stressful feeling as every place is packed full of gawking, overweight, middle aged tour followers with map in one hand and camera in the other. I don’t know how the Romans put up with it

3.. The nightlife sucks. There is no nightlife to speak of in Rome, at least in terms of the kind of nightlife I prefer and am used to. I like to go out, have some drinks, and go to some nightclubs and meet girls and stuff… they don’t really do that here. The lifestyle here is to go out around 10 or 11 for dinner, which will last a minimum of 2 hours, while they drink a minimum of one bottle of excellent wine and have numerous courses of AMAZING food, and chat with their friends all night. Italians love to just hang out and talk and spend time with their bf/gf’s and friends… it is actually a really nice vibe, very appealing, but the chances of meeting an Italian girl in Rome is slim to none, so…

I am going to Barcelona. I hear it is really great there, so we will see… I have been to two places in Spain before… Ibiza and Madrid… both were great and I hear Barcelona is even a lot better than Madrid so am looking forward to it.

After that, I am not sure, I am giving a lot of thought to doing a quick tour through Africa… I’d especially like to see Zimbabwe right now where they are experiencing hyperinflation (money loses value by the hour, literally) and want to see that because I expect the US dollar, and most currencies will be doing something similar in the next few years and want to see how things work in those situations.

But, again, I have only been gone from Bangkok for a week so far and I miss it a lot. So, depending on how I am feeling, and how things go in Barcelona, I may head back to BKK fairly quick… Bangkok is just so perfect for me, right now, I find it so hard to be away from there for more than a few weeks at a time.

So, until next time, arivaderci