Saturday, October 6, 2007

Pompei rocks.

Pompeii, the sad city destroyed/preserved by a volcanic eruption, is about 30 minutes outside of Naples, which in turn is about 2 hours from Rome. The problem with it is that everything is like broken. Sadly however the most noteworthy thing about our day-long travels wasn’t the destination, but rather the voyage back to Rome. We had started out our travels at 6am with the notion of eventually eating pizza in Naples. After all this is where pizza was created, according to my brother’s travel book that is. While Pompei seemed cool, my attention deficit disorder struck earlier than usual here. At some point all ruins look the same. I can only visualize the grandeur of half torn walls for so long.

Upon returning to Naples at about 3pm our family burst onto the scene in Naples, and the result was shocking. Maybe it was a lack of sleep striking in. Maybe it was a good premonition. But I have never come to a city with the incredible desire to leave it immediately as strong as I had with Naples. It reminded me of a scene from the epic movie “Euro Trip” when the wind up in Bratislava. My brother had also warmed us up to the city by reading aloud from his travel book that the city was known for crime and shady alleys. Good stuff. Where’s the beef?
After about 5 minutes in the city we did a family poll. Dad was the pollmaster, and hence exempt from voting. The question: “What should we do in Naples”
My Brother: “Well, the pizza place is
a few blocks in that (pointing) direction…but it’s just pizza…”

Mom: "I'm okay with

Me: "I wanna get the F out of here"

And the funny thing is that I'm not just saying "the F" in some sorta post-conversation-tough-guy-sounding dramatization of events. I actually said to my parents "I wanna get the F out of here." This is a pretty big moment in Indian parent-to-children relations. Anyone who has watched "A Christmas Story" knows that you can't just drop the F-bomb without facing some sorta retribution. But there's something about Naples which rendered all normal laws moot. Instead our family sprinted back into the train station and bought tickets for a train leaving for Rome in 11 minutes. After a mad dash we hopped aboard our train and looked forward to our 6:30pm return to Rome.

We ended up arriving at 11pm.

Train delays in foreign countries are a funny thing. When a train stops mid-trip unexpectantly, it seems like a curious almost adventurous addition to journey. In fact this was the case for the first 30 minutes...and then the next hour. After 3 hours amidst the pouring rain and thunder things started getting painful.

When you're bored, the mind has an incredible ability to read and do almost anything to occupy it. Reading the boring articles of a newspaper, the same ones that you would turn the page in a heart beat, suddently are enjoyably. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, think about the last time you went to the bathroom in a public stall. You'll find yourself reading everything etched on the doors and if you're really lucky someone has left a newspaper on the ground for you to stare at. Occassionally you'll try to turn the page with one toe while holding the paper with the other foot.

In the midst of the wait I hit upon two revelations:

  1. The cartoon strip "Garfield" really is not funny in any way whatsoever. In fact most cartoon strips are really pretty stupid. I dunno who finds them funny. They should not be in a colorful section labeled "The Funnies." It should be called the unFunnies.
  2. Soduku is the devil's game. I watched my dad play it and decided to finally learn how to play it. The game is like mental torture, only without the satisfaction that you're leading to something great.

When we finally got to Termini I had never been as happy to be in Rome during the entire trip. Go figure.


surya said...

haha. what the f is up with this entry? j/k. keep posting about the trip-- great to read!

Shakes said...

haha, thanks thanks. i try to provide the travel insight that Fodor's doesn't...