Friday, 31 October 2008

Rome, Saw5 and decent grub

2 weeks in Moldova was FUN.

Got inebriated on their generously measured cognac and scoffed myself on big plates of wholesome food, the taste of which I will miss always.

Slight ding dong with the cab driver when I got to the airport. Despite having checked the tariff twice with the controller and the git driving, he wanted an extra 15 lei for my bag. I told him to fuck off and as there were about 5 cops nearby having a sneaky fag he didn't push it.

Spent30 lei getting my rucksack shrink wrapped so all the awkward sticky outy bits wouldn't snag in the conveyor belt and after I'd checked it in an armed soldier dumped it on a table and told me to open it. Had to borrow his pocket knife to snip off the mummification and then he wanted to know just why I had a pair of handcuffs in there. A bloke with different shoulder bling, so presumably a supervisor was brought over but couldn't speak English so another guy that they all saluted, so presumably a twat came over and asked in broken Queen's if I was a police officer. I demonstrated locking the bag to something as the reason for possessing them and it turned out that the whole issue was not “why” but “whether” it was a problem for me to be travelling with them. The “sir”asked which bag they were in, his lackeys indicated the hold baggage, he shrugged and said no problem.

Nice when it takes 3 separate ranks to solve a fairly obvious issue.

Coming back to Rome was originally something else to do on my attempt to avoid thinking. Getting back here however was something else. Bitterness and rage have driven me forward for sooo long that a change of scenery is as good as a sulk. The hostel I booked into turned out to be a shit hole which did nothing to improve my bad mood. A kitchen the size of a pantry and about 8 people crammed in like something out of the Mary Rose midshipmen's mess.

Only saving grace was the manager's so-sweet 4 year old daughter who brightened every mouldy breakfast with her giggles and smiles.

I see her sucking her thumb.

“What are you doing?”

“I'm eating my thumb”


2 minutes later.

(Giggle) “I'm still eating my thumb”.

A website named had loads of listings for cheap rooms....90% of which were gone when I braved feedback and static hiss to call the listers on Skype. Found a room in Laurentina, about 45 mins from the centre and got the vibe the interview was going ok when the flat's de facto leader invited me to stay for dinner. A nice bowl of soup, some salad, wine and a coffee and one of them even gave me a lift back to the tube station. Appaently they had to see someone else before they decided but I got the phone call 4pm the next day with the good news plus the aside that the other candidate was “a big nerd”.

Saurday I wandered around a bit. I've realised that being on my own for longer than about 3 hours causes the foetid sewers of my memory palace to bubble over, spilling self indulgent, self pitying mental masochism into my waking world. I'm in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, in front of the Spanish Steps and all I'm thinking about is how badly I was treated by my last job.

Knowing this shit shouldn't be there doessn't stop it from staying like an unwelcome relative on Boxing Day. It has to be shoved out the door and its coat thrown out after it. During a stroll past the Colosseum I paused to film the thousands of students demonstrating against Berlusconi pissing on their chips. Next to me being chatted up by a drunken Fresher was an American girl. Got chatting and spent a very pleasant 4 hours with her and her friend traipsing around the Roman streets. While at the Trevi fountain we were awash with rapture at the beauty our eyes beheld, spoiled only by the little shit with a telescopic rod with a magnet on the end who was fishing coins out of the pool.

Being lonely is one thing. Being it in a city of millions sucks big time so I signed up to's visit to the Quirinale (Presidential palace) and arrived an hour early due to daylight saving time. No probs, nice cup of cha and a stroll and back to meet my hosts. Try as I might I can't go googly over architecture and don't go all slack jawed when in the middle of “The Room of 7 Stairs (1747)”. As captivating as it should have been, I was more amused by the people trying to snap sneaky photos before the haggard old farts on Guide duty sprang on the rule breaking wretches. Spent the rest of the day mooching about the city feeling like I had a hangover and got to my new flat at 6pm, in bed by 7 and slept for 12 hours.

Something I've tried not to get addicted to but have done, is the Saw movies. I was off work sick last November with a slipped disc and was invited to take my painkiller-fuelled arse to the flicks. Expecting it to be Elizabeth 2: The Golden Age I was quite surprised to find out that it was in fact Saw IV which in the field of gross out barfsville yuck was up there with slipping in dog shit. Imagine watching an autopsy with living people. Stayed away from the other Saws until about a month ago when I bittorrented the first part and then its siblings. Depressing in the extreme though they are (noone wins, the hero usually dies and the villain is strangely likeable) they are incredibly well written and cleverly link together across all the films. Part 5 was due out last Friday in the UK and I naively believed it would also be around in the land of gnocchi. Unfortunately not, and as they are getting Quantum of Solace a week later than the US or the Brits it might be next year before I get to see the sodding thing.

Some bloke at the Youth Hostelhad the backpackers' wet dream of a laptop. The tiny yet versatile Eee series. Light and small with something called a “solid state” hard drive which means if you drop the bastard thing it won't break (well at least not as easily anyway). In Rome I wandered, getting pisswet through in the first rain for months looking for one until on the 3rd day I finally found one right on the outskirts of town. Only €199 touch typing is a pain in the arse due to the mobile phone-esque keyboard.

One thing I loathe with an unhealthy passion in England is Revenue Inspectors on public transport. It's as if they all failed selection for the police or the prison service and are deterimined to bully and victimise anyone who commits the heinous sin of travelling without a valid ticket. Cunts!

Last time I was in Italy the inspectors here were just as bad if not worse and yesterday, being the penultimate day of the month they were out in force at Anagina station, blocking every exit turnstile to examine tickets. Unfortunately they appeared to be impartial and behaving professionally and I can't make gargoyles out to be demons, no matter how hard I try so I was unable to loathe them for merely doing their jobs. It was the equivalent of meeting someone who used to bully you at school 20 years later and finding out that they are now quite likeable.

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