Saturday, March 3, 2018

Reflections From Roma #4

Reflections From Roma #04
03 marzo 2018

Photo Update Alert:

Hello there… Rodger French here.

As time passes here in Roma, I find it more and more difficult to expeditiously execute these postings. I surmise a number of possible reasons:

1. So much has been written - often quite excellently - about this region, and especially this city and country, that I feel I run the risk of being redundant, nay, superfluous.

2. This is our last State Department posting and so - weirdly, paradoxically - motivation seems lacking.

3. Generating the forward inertia necessary to do the hard work of writing becomes burdensome with incipient old age.

Now we can add to this rather lame-ass list the fact that I will soon begin working part-time at the Embassy. Which is a good thing, what with two years left in our hitch. I will be part of a team (or cog in a machine, if you prefer), make good use of my Top Secret clearance (eat your heart out, Jared Kushner), and squirrel away some cash (places to go, sites to see).

And, of course, our Official 2018-2019 Visitor’s Spreadsheet must be maintained and guests graciously accommodated. So, yeah, I have accumulated a sufficient aggregate of sorry excuses for not writing. Nonetheless, in the interest of maintaining my diminishing bona fides as a globetrotting correspondent, permit me to offer these short, but brief observations:

Vatican Necropolis - If you can book this small-group tour, prepare to descend 30 feet and go back in time 2000 years. Utterly fascinating; and, you exit through St. Peter’s Basilica, there to skylark with the multitudes.

Pompei/Napoli - We took the quickie two-hour tour of Pompei. It was surprisingly poignant, but equally frustrating. If you’re seriously into checking it out, book a private tour guide and plan on staying all day.

Tourist ProTip - Taxis in Napoli do not have meters, so get a fixed price. Then, hang on… riding with Neapolitan cab drivers offers amusement park-level thrills, without those pesky seat belts.

Bonus Weather Report - The recent “historic” snowfall did, in fact, cripple “The Eternal City.” Two inches of snow. Shut the place down. Just like Atlanta, but with infinitely better scenery.

Unavoidable Political Sidebar - Italian national elections are scheduled for Sunday, 04 March. No one is quite sure what the turnout will be, but it is widely expected that the Fascists will do well and that Italia will once again be led (de facto, this time) by Silvio Berlusconi. Esto no saldrá bien.

I would promise to be more reliable in my future reportage, but… nah. Suffice to say, I’ll be in touch as I am able and the spirit moves me. That does not, however, mean that I am incommunicado. Recommendations are always welcome, and if you have a question that you think I might know, find, or make up an answer to, please ask. E grazie mille per la tua pazienzia.