rain, rain go away…

by sam on 09/21/2005

It’s been unusually rainy here. It’s rained at some point almost every day that I’ve been here. For the most part, it’s been at times that are OK (like 2 in the morning, when I’m asleep), or tonight, when I only had minimal exposure jumping from my taxi to the hotel doors, but on Saturday night, right at the point when I made my way to the bottom of the Spanish Steps to scout out a place for dinner, the skies opened up and just poured. I got drenched from head to toe in about 30 seconds. At which point I started making my way back up the steps.

Now, you have to understand that Saturday night was supposed to be this big festival in Rome – La Notta Bianca (white night). All the shops were staying open late, and they were having music and parties in all of the squares, including, obviously, mine. So the place was teeming with people. Wet, wet people. One group of whom started yelling at me while I was trekking up the stairs, soaking wet and still getting rained on, about why wasn’t I wearing a white shirt…(I should point out that these were not Italian guys, but definitely of the british hooligan variety). Oy. I thought I had reached the age where I no longer attracted (or whatever you want to call it) the youthful oglers, but apparently no age is too old, and no weather too unpleasant, for some segment of the male population to think it’s an opportune time for you to show them your…*ahem* (no need to encourage dirty google searches!).

So that was Saturday night. needless to say, I ordered room service when all was said and done.

I should say that I’ve been compiling a list in my head of all the things I swear I will never complain about when I get back to NYC (and which I will promptly forget about 3 seconds after getting back there)…

  • the condition of the paving of the streets and sidewalks
  • the width of the same
  • the "out of control" drivers, including the drivers of the taxis that I am in
  • parking
  • traffic (did I mention that I got to experience the wonders of a transportation strike today?)
  • street vendors
  • tourist trap scam artists
  • the size of my apartment (which is a palace compared to the ‘european sized’ hotel room I’ve been in for the past week
  • the channels that I get on my TV when I stay in a US hotel (seriously – I have the CNN International lineup memorized at this point)
  • the size of my office (ok, I never actually complained about it before, because I have one of the biggest associate offices on my floor (it’s a quirk of the building layout – basically they couldn’t fit another office in, so each of the two "end" offices on each side of the floor, right next to the giant corner partner offices, are a little bit wider than everyone else’s), but I appreciate it all the more after working in a cube for all of 3 days)
  • the speed of my home/work internet connection
  • the clearly defined rules for walking down the sidewalk, crossing the street, driving, etc.
  • red lights and don’t walk signs
  • elevators that are big enough for two people
  • the price of diet coke (my hotel seriously charges 6 euro for one – that’s, like $9 for a can of soda – needless to say I’ve switched to espresso, which might be why I haven’t fallen asleep until 2 in the morning every night I’ve been here)
  • the fact that my office stays open 24 hours (I worked at the client’s office late last night, and when I got downstairs discovered that the building had been locked, with me inside, but with a "visitor" ID card that only works during regular business hours, and no one in sight – luckily, after about 10 minutes, someone else who actually works there, who spoke english helped me out)
  • public transportation

I think of new things every day too…this isn’t to say that it isn’t absolutely beautiful in this city (it’s frankly one of my favorite places I’ve ever been), and I’m in awe of the sheer amount of history everywhere I go. And I could compile a list of things the Italians do better than us as well (I so want a smart car), but right now I’m craving sushi, bagels, diet coke and HBO. And traffic lights (really – there’s one point on the route back to my hotel that involves a major four way intersection, where the only way to navigate is for my taxi to basically push its way through the continually streaming traffic going perpendicular to us – no stop signs, traffic lights, or anything – my heart ends up in my throat on a daily basis).

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