Sunday, February 09, 2003

Nostalgia romana

There are many things I miss about Rome. For those of you who don't know (and that's probably most of you), I did my grad studies in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, aka the Angelicum; I was blessed to spend three years there ('97-'00) before returning to the US.

As I was saying, I miss a number of things about Rome. One of them is the traffic. Yes, the traffic. Those of you who have visited or lived in Rome (or are currently doing so) will know of what I speak. Roman traffic is -- IMHO -- a perfect example of organized chaos. At first glance, it seems like a complete mess, and the typical American tourist initially wonders how anyone can get anywhere.

But it works. There is a system, and there are rules. Among my favorites: pedestrians have the absolute right of way, when in the crosswalk. There is nothing as invigorating as walking out in front of oncoming motorini, only to watch them swerve in front of or behind you so as not to knock you over. No, they aren't mad: that's just how Rome works. Nota bene: don't even think about hesitating or even worse, stopping. The drivers have already calculated your rate of advance, and they have planned their own course based on that pace. If you stop, you'll mess things up, and probably get nailed. Just make and maintain eye contact and go. It's simple, easy, and fun :-)

The pasta is another story, but that would remind me about how too many "Italian" restaurants in the US get it wrong, and I don't want to go there :-)

Hopefully I'll get to experience Rome again this spring, but that depends on a successful completion of the dissertation as well as a couple of other things, so your prayers would be much appreciated.


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