Saturday, June 14, 2008

Roma-13th Sept 2007

FIFO. (For those who've been lying in the dungeons of acronym land-First In, First Out)
Am applying this to restore order and to finally finish what I started last year- My Europe travel diary. Other interesting and life altering events have since, taken place but knowing that my memory is only marginally better than Dory, I will keep that narration for later.
And so, G and I headed to the eternal city of Rome. The train journey was pretty uneventful-of course, there was the unkempt artist who sneaked in a portrait of G and the cheeky steward who spared me a knife and fork and also a kiss on my hand- but then this was Europe and we had heard enough about the Italian penchant for flamboyance. Any gents attempting this in a train in India would have said hello to my heels.
The start was less than perfect- after a 3 hour delay, I realized my body clock had gone cuckoo at the wrong time and to add to the misery, we lost our way- we spent about 15 mins walking in the wrong direction! A heavy bag and cramps can really alter your perception of time and space!!
Help came in the form of two charming Italian guys who directed us to Via Boezio- where stood our abode for the next 3 days.
Colors hostel ( lives upto its name and reputation- It was bright, cheery and well, colorful. The rooms are huge and airy; the bath/toilets-clean and very well maintained. I might sound a little senile raving about hygeine factors but trust me, the privacy of an attached loo and bath was a welcome change after the very tiny and very open Paris bathroom.
G did the groceries and whipped us a delicious salad and pasta. (Colors has a well stocked kitchen and a lovely dining area). That was followed by a walk to Castle St. Angelo, a rather dilapidated building which is now a museum and then along the Tiber.
The phenomenon of generosity from absolute strangers was to become a common theme for this trip-the Bangladeshi porter who refused to charge us for the internet joined the Generous strangers club. He also plied us with his own story and other sordid tales of Italy. He described Italy as a the dustbin of Europe!- something which shocked us when he said it, but gradually struck us a near-truth- the place is full of grafitti, pick pocketing and corruption (there are touts outside the Vatican Museum who let you cut the queue for 40 euros when the standard admission fees is 13 euros). The first impression led me to despair- was this another country ready to neglect everything in the present and content in resting on past laurels? Though not ready to write off Rome- admittedly, my first impression of Rome wasn't all that great. The place seemed to have neither the charm of Paris nor the dynamism of London....And then, we had Italian food and all the above was promptly forgiven and forgotten.
This was G's day-News about the Pasricha Index ( travelled far and wide and gave us a superb reason to celebrate. We went to a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a marvellous dinner- Pizza, white wine and Tiramisu. Both the pizza and the dessert were top-notch, melt-in-the-mouth fare. I must rave about the pizza- it had just the right flavors, a divinely thin crust and enough and more veggies to keep me happy-in short, it was, what pizza should aspire to be-definitely not the overdone mass of cheese, maida and ketchup that usual pizza companies serve their sorry customers.
Mood was sufficiently uplifted by the dinner and yes, the wine also played a role. The after-dinner course was an hour of peppy Hindi numbers (baadal pe paon hain etc..), before finally hitting the sack at 1 am.
The Roman holiday had begun.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Open Letter to Sheen
I will update my blog.
Will surmount the problem of plenty.
Of abundant thoughts and events.
That I simply can't sort or rank.
And if I tell it all in one go.
It will resemble this lumpy mess of a post.
So wait, dear Sheen while I gather my thoughts
and brew something more palatable.
The potion will be bittersweet, even if the wait isn't.

Much love,