Continued from Europe 2011.
Italy is a funny country. It’s like a cross between a third world country and a first world country. They do make some pretty badass high tech stuff. Ferrari F1 team is from Italy, nuff said. Then there are things here that make you scratch you head. While awaiting for my luggage, my new friend A(I am going to refer to people I meet by their initials from now on so they too can be semi anonymous) went out of the luggage area to buy a Rome Pass(one of those combined passes that gives you discounts on museum visits). It took a long time for my luggage to arrive(of course, we are in Italy), and A still had not returned. I then realized that she probably went past customs and immigration and they can’t let her back in.
When my luggage finally arrives, I picked it up and headed for the exit hoping to find A right after the exit from immigration. As I was about to exit the luggage claim, I saw her heading back towards me. She said that even though there were only two people in line in front of her, it still took forever(again, Italy). That fact wasn’t that amazing, but what was amazing was that customs and immigration did not even stop her when she came back through into the luggage area going the wrong way. She could have walked all the to the terminal! Total lapse of security!! This meant that any person could have walked in from the exit with a bomb, bypass customs, immigration, and handed the bomb to a person boarding a flight!!
Immigration itself was also a joke, and this is when it’s working correctly. I handed my passport to immigration, the guy literally opened it, looked at it for less than a second and threw it back to me. No stamp, no scans, no matching my face, no flipping through the pages, nothing. Public announcement time. If you would like to illegally immigrate into the EU, go through Italy because they won’t give a flying fuck.
At the train station in the airport trying to catch an express train into Rome central station. While trying to buy our ticket for the train, the kiosk person tried to upsell on a shuttle service that costs an euro more and was claimed to be just as fast. Yeah….Right…Sure. This whole sneaky way of upsell reminds me very much of Mexico.
Rome reminds me of Taiwan again.
The rectilinear apartments. The drying of clothes on the balcony on a clothes line. The tiled roof. The disorderly zoning. Taiwan is like the Italy of the Pacific.
Hmmm, it says it’s on the first floor, but I don’t see anything resembling a hotel over here. It’s nothing but an empty lobby and an elevator. I got so confused that I walked out of the building and looked around some more, but everything points back here.
I had checked in by noon and after unpacking a little, I had to head straight out the door to try to fit in some sightseeing. There’s just so much to see in Rome and not enough time to see them all, No time to waste, marching onwards!
One of the random awesome buildings in Rome. Seriously, buildings like these are around every corner in Rome. I don’t even know what building this is and I am too lazy to look it up. (OK, I looked it up on a map and its Palazzo delle Esposizioni. No I don’t know what it is).
It’s so weird to see a fruit stand, of all things, in a high tourist area. What’s crazy is that it was jam packed with customers. Ah yes, I am in Rome on vacation, standing next to the Colosseum, what would make this visit complete? Grapes, of course!
Now, remember, I am traveling by myself, so except for a few self photos, I’ve had to ask people to take pictures for me. It’s the Colosseum, I MUST have a picture of myself taken with it. I asked a lady standing by to take a photo of me.
Now, she cut off the right side of the Colosseum. Seriously people, how hard is it to take a fucking picture? What the fuck! I stood in a spot knowing that the whole Colosseum could fit into the photo and asked her to please capture it in its entirety. After two failed attempts, she gave me attitude and said “I am not a photographer! This is the best I can do”. One, why the fuck are you giving me attitude? Two, I am not asking you to be a photographer, but just a half competent person. She was American, so I feel like I get a free pass on bashing her.
Let’s face it, this is the fucking Colosseum. I have to have a good photo of myself with it. I waited around for a while, and then found a guy with a nice digital SLR camera. He’s got a nice camera, he must know how to take a simple photo. Again, I asked him to please take a photo of me with the Colosseum in its entirety. He agreed, lined up the shot carefully, I stood in front of him and put on a big smile while he snapped the photo. I thanked him for his help and went on my merry way. Success! That is until I clicked on the button to review the photo.
Excellent, perfect photo of the Colosseum, and…..he completely omitted me out of the photo!!!!! WTF!!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!! This is so ridiculous I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I decided that a photo of me with the Colosseum in its entirety just isn’t in the cards for this trip, and gave up after this one last comical attempt. I am just flabbergasted.
Reason why I didn’t have to wait in line. The line for individual tickets was probably 100 people deep. If you just pay a little bit extra for either a self audio or video guide, then you wait in a line of 2 people. Worth every Euro cent.
Some of the photos from the Colosseum may be odd angles or of weird subjects. I’ve taken these because I am just so tired of seeing the same spectacular views of the Colosseum. I wanted to see what the rest of it looked like.
There were tons of holes like this in walls all over the Colosseum. Apparently, the whole structure used to contain a lot of metal structures and all of those got stripped to be used for other building projects.
Circus Maximus. This is where chariot racing used to happen. Nascar of the Romans if you will. No one wanted to visit this site because I saw no one else around. You could easily have walked by and just thought of it as a giant drainage ditch.
Glass elevator. When I reached the top, I realized how few people knew about this observatory because there were only about 15 people with me up there. Seriously awesome unobstructed views of Rome.
There is actually more to Rome Day 1, but I’ll leave that for the next post at Rome Day 1 Part 2.