Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Rome: Locally owned cafes with any kind of coffee you would ever want for less than $1 on every corner.
Home: The poop-streak(s) left by the last person in the lav.
Rome: Plastic toilet brushes left next to EVERY toilet so you can clean up your own mess and spare your neighbor.
Home: Feminine deodorant spray.
Home: Low-carb diets.
Rome: Eating bread, pasta and wine yet still being in shape.
Home: Mini-vans and SUVs.
Rome: Vast and easy to use public transportation system,s Vespa and SmartCars.
Home: Thinking Boston is old.
Rome: Walking in the footsteps of Caesar.
Home: Buying bottled water.
Rome: Carrying a bottle and refilling it from fountains flowing with fresh spring water.
Rome: Daily walks.
Rome: Red wine.
Home: Hating people who don't speak "the" language.
Rome: Helping people practice when they try to learn your language.
Home: Stiff handshakes or uncomfortable hugs.
Rome: A hug AND a kiss on both cheeks.
Home: Ginormous portions and doggie-bags full of leftovers that more often than not get thrown away.
Rome: Portions that are the exact size you can eat. The translation for "doggie-bag" is "sacco di cane," or "sack of dog." You can only imagine what the Italian waiter thinks you are ordering.
Home: The workday's 20-minute lunch which includes getting and eating your food as well as doing any personal hygiene.
Rome: The workday's 3-hour lunch including two courses with wine and a siesta.
We had an additional lab day on Tuesday to make up for not being in the lab over the weekend. In the morning we learned a lot of Mac stuff which, being a PC owner, didn't mean that much to me other than it was cool and made me wish I had a Mac. For example, creating MP3 files and making 'songs' on GarageBand. Then Rob Latousek, one of the course organizers, talked about different software that is available for classicists. I knew about a lot of it, but some of it was new so that was interesting. After a lunch of ziti carbonara made with guiancale (pig's cheek) instead of pancetta, we learned an animation creation tool called SwishMax. I really had fun with that and see how it could be a great attention-grabber in the classroom. And it's actually pretty easy! Tuesday evening the six ladies in the apartment below us hosted an Italian soiree. They had gone to the famous Roman outdoor market the Campo di Fiori to buy supplies earlier that morning and bought cheeses, fruits, meats, breads and wines. We had a beautiful feast and enjoyed being able to mingle on their large balcony. Afterwards, Kathy, Karl and I went to a local ristorante for a little pasta and dessert. We were missing Chris and Ramona because they had gone to see a concert in the ancient amphitheater at Ostia. Some crazy rock/alternative band called The Mars Volta. Anyway, the ristorante was air-conditioned which was a huge plus until, just as they delivered our steaming plates of pasta, the power went out. Luckily, it came on again a few minutes later. I had pasta bolognese and shared a fruit platter with Karl who had veggie risotto. Kathy won, though. She had a cheese/honey/pear purse of phyllo dough that was amazing, and followed that with a chocolate lava cake. Holy yumminess! And that was Tuesday!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday we began the day by climbing Mount Vesuvius, which is not an easy undertaking, but I survived. At one point, rocks started falling from above me like an avalanche and for a second I thought we were all going to die. But we didn't. We took the requisite shots of the crater, us in front of the crater, the Bay of Naples from the volcano, etc. I have to say that I'm always amazed that people live there (right there, and lots of people!!) beneath one of the most volatile volcanoes in the world. I guess that's why they are so passionate about everything in a "carpe diem" sort of way. When we had finished, we enjoyed some lemon granita (aka slushy) and had an hour and a half bus ride down the mountain and to Oplontis. While riding through the city, I noticed that many of the shops and restaurants were closed because it was Sunday, but there were men selling mussels and clams from coolers on the sidewalk. I wished I could have had some! The site we were visiting (Oplontis) is a large villa that was likely the summer getaway for a rich Roman family. It has been fully excavated and is most known for its beautiful frescoes. We spent an hour there and headed to Herculaneum. Kathy, Ramona, Chris and I decided that we were sick of pizza and panini, and we really wanted to SIT, so we walked to a Neapolitan trattoria called Tubba Catubba (haven't found out what that means yet) for a great lunch. We weren't given menus, just a choice of pasta or meat. We chose pasta and hoped for the best, which is what we got - freshly made pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella cheese. Delicious! But about Herculaneum...Herculaneum is smaller but more fully excavated than Pompeii. Also, many people were able to escape from Herculaneum because of how the volcano lava, ash and mud flowed. However, recently they are finding bodies in caverns on the edge of town. The caverns would have been close to the bay back then and it was believed that these people died while waiting for boats to take them to safety. One of bodies they found was a woman who was protecting her two small childen with her bent knees. It gives a real human face to the whole thing that is very moving. Three hours back to Rome and we all got a good nap in on the bus. Finally, our dinner gang went to Station again since it was close and we were completely exhausted. I had my fried zucchini flowers, shared some crawfish tossed in lemon juice with Kathy, shared some wine with Karl, and had spaghetti cacio e pepe for dinner (again). We then went for gelato and I had stracciatella (chocolate chip) and fiori di latte (not sure what that flavor would be at home, but it's basically just ice milk). Got home and basically passed out from complete exhaustion, but since I had started the day by climbing up a volcano, I think I'm allowed. Ciao!