Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Italy ~ Pompeii
So one of the day tour that I took from Rome is a day tour to Pompeii
. I first heard about Pompeii 2 years ago when la Gioia asked me if I was going to visit it. It wasn't in my plan 2 years ago. However I did some reading about it (wikipedia is my usual source) and it sounded pretty cool. Part of the things that I wanted to do in Italy this time around is not to do the same things that I did in my previous trip. Well it's logical that I had to explore new things right? My dad was already protesting that I was taking a trip to Europe again and mom was like telling me, didn't you already go to Rome that time around? So something different was really necessary. So this time around in Rome, I chose 2 day trips, one to Pompeii and the other to Capri. We did the Pompeii tour first on Saturday, May 14th.
We actually started in Napoli first, to pick up the local guide. We saw a bit of Napoli, not much. It seems like a big city. It didn't seem rich. I saw a few homeless people. The guide, Vittorio, was complaining about the mayor of Napoli. The mayor earned 15,000€ a month and according to our guide the mayor didn't do much. I was pretty stunned hearing the 15,000€ / month salary that I wondered if I heard wrongly but I seemed to hear him correctly. It was a really high salary. The majority of the world population do not make that much in a year. Anyways, Italy was having election for new mayors in the period when I was there. I think spain too actually. Anyways I think the people decided to have a new mayor for Napoli now. This reminded me of the guide in Milan who was saying that they were going to have an election for a new mayor. She said that most likely the incumbent mayor was going to stay, however I think the people chose differently. They voted for a change. All these incumbent mayors were from the prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's party. I think the Italians are getting really tired with his scandals and his party. An American who was in the same tour with me in Milan was asking who's Silvio Berlusconi. I was flabbergasted on how ignorant people can be. I know he's not the only person in this world who doesn't know who Silvio Berlusconi or even cares to know. I just still can't stop shaking my head sometime with this kind of people. This American also said, if he's not a good baseball player then I don't need to know. Well ... okay, what can I say?
I'm digressing. So we went to Pompeii. At this last leg of my journey, I was actually feeling pretty tired that I decided to just follow the guide. He did give us a map and gave us the option to explore Pompeii on our own. However the place was massive, it's hot, and I just didn't want to end up getting lost. We saw a few interesting stuff there, starting with the amphitheatre. The we saw a small vineyard. Obviously it's not the same vineyard as in the ancient time. The plants were planted in the same place just to give an idea to the visitors on what it was like back then. I was pretty moved seeing the plaster casts of victims, especially seeing the kids there. It's so real and to think that there's actual body inside it, it's kinda freaky and very very sad at the same time. You can see the pictures here
. From the posture you can see that they didn't really have much time to save themselves and they just died. Very very sad.
Other than that, we also saw an inside of a house. Obviously I have forgotten many details of what the guide told us. I remembered there's these stepping stones in the middle of the road which the guide said were used by the people in the case of heavy rains that the street was pretty flooded. I had Mau take a picture of me in that thousands of years old stepping stones :P However obviously I never post any picture of myself here or even in Facebook :P One of the major attraction was apparently Lupanare or the brothel. There was a jam of many different tour groups in that small street, all waiting to enter the brothel. The guides were negotiating which of their groups should enter first. The Lupanare was actually very small. I think there were 4 paintings on the wall depicting sexual acts. The people of Pompeii seemed to be really liberal in their sexuality. There were obvious signs pointing to the Lupanare. What I mean by obvious is a big penis sculpture on the road or on the wall pointing to the direction of the brothel.
The last stop was seeing the forum and the open area around it. Pompeii is very interesting. It's massive though, so walking exploring all of it will require a lot of energy and appreciation of the history :P It may not be a place for everyone. Will I visit it again? Well it's not on the top of my list to see in Italy anymore. Just like I think I'll be okay about not visiting the Vatican the next time I'm in Rome. I'm glad though that I have seen Pompeii and walked inside this ancient town :)
Leaving Pompeii for Rome, we had a break along the way. We met these 2 nice ladies from Texas and in one of the break, we sat with them. They're really nice, saying you can sit with us. We chatted a bit. The funniest bit was when one of them pointed and said, look at that guy with the pink scarf. It was pretty funny because them being from Texas, they just felt it's so not gonna fly in Texas. Well perhaps if the guy is gay, it's okay. It's pretty funny how unexpected topic like this can come out among strangers :D
We reached Rome quite late that day and we decided to just have dinner at the restaurant next to our hotel. I was tired and it's late and so I was rather annoyed that it took quite a long time for the waiter to come to us. I noticed that there's a weird restaurant system in Rome. I am not sure if I'm right. It just seemed that each of the waiter is assigned a certain section and they only have to deal with that section. So even if a waiter is quite free with not many people in his section, the waiter is still not going to serve the guests in another busier section and the guests are left waiting. So we were left waiting for our waiter who had to deal with other quests. I was very annoyed with it. Eventually he came and we placed our orders. We had to wait again and they seemed to be very slow that Mau decided to go up to our rooms and charged her phone and left me alone. The waiter then finally came bringing our drinks and he asked me where I'm from. I guess he was perhaps wondering who this impatient girl was. As I said I was very tired, pretty annoyed with the long wait and on a mental state like that, I didn't actually welcome the question much. For some reason though or perhaps simply because I didn't welcome the question much, I didn't give him the answer straight away. I said, "indovina", which means guess
. That took him by surprise and he said, "indovino?", which means I guess?
. It actually took me 1-2 seconds to understand him. That 1-2 seconds was enough to make me question if my Italian was correct :P but I was correct. Jokingly he said, Italian? which of course I'm not. Then he said, Singaporean? This answer made me feel better because if he had said, Phillipines, I think I would have been more annoyed :P His guess made me smile and I told him, I live in Singapore but not a Singaporean. Next he guessed, Malaysian? Which I'm not. Up to this point, I decided to stop him because I was feeling Phillipines was going to be next, so I told him I'm Indonesian. I asked him if he hadn't seen an Indonesian before, if there weren't many Indonesian tourists there. He said it was his first time seeing an Indonesian. It was a nice moment for me, being the first Indonesian one met :) I should have asked him if he knew where Indonesia is. I tried my best to speak Italian but when you're tired it's even more difficult. I wanted to ask for some ice but I did it wrongly that it made him laugh. I asked him how to ask it correctly and I actually wrote down what he said in my phone. I guess this little conversation made him nicer to me and it's good to be treated better :) Our last dinner in Rome was also in the same restaurant and in his section again and he was really nice to me :) These kinds of little connections and interactions are really the memorable ones for me and so I remember them pretty vividly. Well as for now that is, I know I'll forget them someday or perhaps soon so it's good and important for me to write them down :)
:) eKa @ 8:56:00 PM •