Monday, October 24, 2005

I am in Rome

People of the world!

I have been to Rome. So I am standing there in the Plaza Navona, and it is such a paradox. On the inside I feel ill to the point of near collapse, glancing at Italian policemen with the flashing thought - maybe they can save me (yeah, right...); and on the outside, I look like any other tourist. I agree to take photos of a Canadian couple. I make jokes about the plethora of pope postcards. I pat Italian dogs. I sit by the edge of the fountain and think 'I am in Rome.' I repeat it over and over like a mantra. After an hour, I get a taxi back to my shabby 3 star hotel and fall into a comatose sleep for 10 hours of the day.

The next day Francis and I get a train to Bologna. The rain is Glasgow-esque, clinging to the train windows, greying everything. But the hotel is great. Mineral water in glass, not plastic, bottles. Warm marble bathrooms. White towelly bathrobes. Sanctuary. Thank God, or Teenage Fanclub.

On Friday we're speeding along the autostradle towards Milan, music playing, eating pizza slices -everything that's bad for my illness but I'm defiant, tired of limitations, past caring. I think, good! Bring it on. Don't show me the price tag.

I was reading William Leith's 'The Hunger Years' - a fascinating memoir/analysis of hunger (in the literal and wider sense). He explores the consequences of our 'buy now, pay later' consumer world where people are programmed to want more and sod the consequences. Nothing like me, then.

In Milano it was dull but 20 degrees. In the cathedral square everyone else was in coats but I was damn well going to wear a t-shirt. You've got to take your warm air where you find it. Bella bella.


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