Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. La Dolce Vita: A December Sojourn in Rome

 

I promised a little while ago that I would be writing about my recent travels, and since I’ve already done a piece on London and Paris last summer, I thought some readers might like a Saturday night sojourn to Rome. 

This trip did not begin in the most auspicious of ways. While it was a 6 am flight out of Gatwick, I needed to board a train there from my university city by 1 am in order to leave my luggage in storage, collect my boarding pass, and get through security. And if 1 am train rides, when I hadn’t actually slept, weren’t enough fun, I also got to contend with an incoherent, screaming vagrant boarding at one of the stops jumping straight into my empty carriage. Living in a city for two years teaches you to not blink an eye at things that would shock you in a small town. Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a Stella Artois; well, it is Friday. 

Security generally doesn’t present a problem (unless they spot my Russian visa), despite the fact that my passport photo makes me appear to be recently captured (and possibly dosed on psychedelics) Sadam Hussein, but I made the mistake of leaving an Arabic language children’s book in my carry on. “I promise, it’s just a story about butterflies, really.” My bag was scanned again. 

As 6 am flights go, mine wasn’t bad. I had entered some kind of transcendental meditative state because I am incapable of actually sleeping on planes when I felt someone gently batting my hand. A very polite Frenchman asking if he might take a picture of my Bernard Lewis book because it looked interesting. Sure (on the scale of requests from random men in public places, that wins for most anodyne). 

My major source of anxiety, once reaching Leonardo DaVinci Airport, was to find my cab driver. As a general rule, I try to take the train where I can in Europe, or navigate the public transport system, but my AirB&B host had offered to send a taxi for a reasonable price, and I was welcoming of the opportunity to get straight to where I was staying in the centre of Rome and waste as little time as possible. 

“Good morning Olivia i am Driver” ran the banner across my phone. Once I navigated past passport control, I was greeted by Andrea, a 60 something Italian in a well-tailored long coat who took my bags and smilingly inquired of where I came from while we headed out. On our way to the car, he paused for the obligatory lighting of a cigarette, and then we proceeded. It had four wheels and looked reasonably functional, even if a lot of the floor’s upholstery was mysteriously torn up, so I was happy enough to get in and start our journey, while he had what I hoped was a friendly argument with some kind of parking attendant. 

As a rule, I don’t frighten terribly easily. Plane turbulence doesn’t tend to bother me, I’m well acquainted with taking a punch to the face, and I can travel alone with little fear. Andrea’s driving terrified me. With the exception of my week in Russia, I have never been more scared to be in a car. At first, everything seemed fairly standard. He continued to smoke happily with the windows closed, and after some slow-moving, we began to merge onto a highway. With a remarkable lack of caution. I don’t speak Italian, but whatever that angry truck driver shouted out of his window, along with the about 30 seconds he stood on his horn, did not sound kind. 

I was willing to forgive this. Sometimes merging onto a highway is a challenge. Turns out that the entire concept of driving, at least driving like the aim wasn’t to have the highest body count humanly possible, was for Andrea. We were approaching what I think was the Spanish Steps, and there was, as one would expect, a multi-lane traffic light, with a red light for our lane. Naturally, we barreled down the hill, across three converging lanes of traffic, four pedestrian intersections, and some kind of bike lane. At that point, I was watching my chances of survival plummet before my eyes. 

Roman streets are, as one would think, quite narrow and only made worse by people parking their vehicles along them, and as we cut through a more residential area of the city, my friendly cabby took about as much notice of this as his actions up to this point would indicate. We simultaneously beeped at and sped past a delivery truck on a tree lined two way street with incredibly narrow lanes, and, reemerging again into a more pedestrian heavy portion of Rome, continued at full speed towards an old man crossing the street on a green that had only happened halfway through our journey. He yelled, Andrea yelled back, interrupting his very conversational patter with me, and then turned with a fondly exasperated smile to say “I think that sometimes people here, they want to die.” 

Ok, I thought, I get what this is. This man isn’t a taxi driver at all, he’s a mob assassin hired to take out his targets with vehicular homicide, and we’re going to get caught, because nothing about this is subtle, and then I’m going to get to spend the rest of my vacation in an Italian police station, explaining that I am part of neither the Russian nor the Italian mafia, and really seignor, I didn’t want to kill that old man. Well, it’s a way to go. 

By what I can only presume was a miracle, we reached my destination in Sallustiano in one piece and paid Andrea for the pleasure of one of the single most frightening experiences of my life. The joy of this was compounded by the fact that I had caught a cold from one of my lovely Russian teachers, who never fails to get me sick, and by this point, I could barely breathe and was concerned I was going to develop pneumonia. I did not care. I hadn’t slept more than 5 hours a night, had a day free of schoolwork or extracurriculars, or not spoken Russian for three months, and if enjoying myself killed me, so be it. 

The moment I stepped outside, it began to rain, like the almighty himself was conspiring against me. However, Rome on December 13th was a balmy 60 compared to drizzly England’s 31, and you probably could have gotten me to go out in a bathing suit without complaint. (Yes, I was that 6-year-old who’s dad let her run around in snowbanks in a one-piece in the middle of a Massachusetts winter, which probably explains something about the way I am now). When I travel with others, I always try to have a solid game plan, good backups, and everything planned down to a half-hour. Alone, I’m more inclined to pick a few things that I want to do every day and enjoy where the spirit, and my naturally lackluster sense of direction, takes me. 

Knowing that I probably would only make it to five that night feeling so miserable, I opted to keep things simple. I strolled happily from Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps and then to the Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco. The general pattern, when I travel, is to take one set of pictures to keep and one for WhatsApp (dad and my friends), so that everyone knows that I’m alive and can see where I am when they want. My dad has pictures of Heinz Ketchup in Russia, every inlaid door and floor in the Hermitage (he’s a cabinet maker), me leaning out of the window of a castle in Austria, and two friends and I dolled up to go to a Michelin star restaurant in Paris, among many others and refuses to delete any one of them (in fact he figured out how to transfer pics from his phone to the computer just so he could save them), so I feel obligated to take as many neat and funny pictures as I can. And I know he feels better when I travel alone, having updates every few hours. Feeling cliche and quite sick, I retired to my hotel room with a baby tub of gelato, a sleeve of rice cakes, a psychedelic shower, and The Godfather

Public transportation has a great reputation in Europe for Americans, sometimes deserved and sometimes not, but I opted to avoid it on my journey through Rome. If I wasn’t obligated to be anywhere at a certain time or meet anyone, I was going to walk as much as I pleased, which turned out to be 50k steps. I began my day at the Pantheon, trying to artfully dodge Arab trinket sellers (I’m much better at souk negotiation in Hebrew than Arabic, much to the consternation of my Arabic instructor), and made a game plan from there for where I needed to stop to buy Christmas gifts. Looking back, it’s a minor miracle that the Italian border police let me carry on a backpack with foil-wrapped espresso, at least 4 different glass bottles of alcohol (or booze, as my dad so tactfully puts it), high end colored pencils and a sharpener, a bunch of chocolate bars, and a silk tie with a few different tie pins. 

From the Pantheon, I made my way through various ruins dotted throughout the city, and then a few miles to one of the ancient baths of imperial times. I parked myself on a low wall, watching the sun reach its peak in the sky, a few busloads of unhappy school children herded grumblingly into the complex, and Vespas and sports car speed by on the road below, with no particular feeling of a need to move. Why get up and spoil the view? Eventually, I found the strength of will to buy a sleeve of roasted chestnuts made by an elderly gentleman at the base of the baths, and visit a few more museums and art galleries. With a liberal amount of ‘talk by pointing’, I managed to purchase a box of homemade pizza and a soda to take back to my room and sat in the large window looking into a shared courtyard. While I had brought a dress so that I could go out for a drink and maybe to dance, I was felled, especially after so much walking, by illness and ended up spending most of the night working on a project due the next week and drifting in and out of consciousness. 

Although I was disappointed by my inability to enjoy some of the nightlife (I had opted, with my female friends, out of clubbing with the boys from our class in Russia because of some already very unpleasant male interactions, so I hadn’t had as much opportunity to sample as I might have liked), I was determined to make my last day meaningful. It was a Sunday, so naturally, even if I had a less than sunny view of Pope Francis, it was time to get a blessing in Vatican City. Having dealt with French riot police, the Italian police and military and a quick run through metal detectors felt like getting off easy, and I will admit as a Catholic it was quite magical to see the Vatican in the flesh. Especially after having lived for two years in a country where I was a majority, having come from very Catholic Massachusetts, it felt revitalizing and comforting to be there, and even to receive a blessing with so many other faithful. My dad still made the obligatory jokes over text, but I was a lovely, floaty kind of happy and almost missed 6’3”, 65-year-old man in a jean mini skirt and stilettos playing the accordion outside of the square. Living in a city does that to you. 

The rest of the day I was content to wander, and I even put in my headphones that night to listen to Via Veneto by Dean Martin while I walked along the Tiber on my way back, and grabbed a small limoncello gelato to enjoy along my way.

Bright and early, though not quite chipper, I went to meet my taxi driver the next morning at 5:45. We took the scenic route back through the city, speeding passed the colosseum and a handful of other monuments lit brilliantly against the dark morning sky, and turned onto the highway to return to the airport, with relatively less danger (and few cars) then there had been on the way in. Exiting the eternal city in that way was as cliche as any movie, but also just as magical.

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  1. Arahant Member

    KirkianWanderer: Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a stella artois; well, it is Friday. 

    I may be laughing too hard to read the rest.

    • #1
    • June 6, 2020, at 3:16 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a stella artois; well, it is Friday.

    I may be laughing too hard to read the rest.

    I swear, I think I just attract crazy, cross dressing men. The first time I came to the UK as a senior in HS to look at universities, I had to take a bus, after visiting St. Andrews, from Edinburgh to London. For the entire 10 hours of that trip, a tiny male Scottish prostitute in a dress sang bawdy songs, and I seriously contemplated either murder or the logistics of jumping from the bus window into one of the endless fields going by. (The guy I mentioned in my post I saw at 9 am in December on my walk to Russian class).

    • #2
    • June 6, 2020, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Finished reading. Had many more great laughs. Thank you.

    • #3
    • June 6, 2020, at 3:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSulJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You have a keen voice for mood and impression. Keep it up.

    • #4
    • June 6, 2020, at 3:49 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a stella artois; well, it is Friday.

    I may be laughing too hard to read the rest.

    I swear, I think I just attract crazy, cross dressing men. The first time I came to the UK as a senior in HS to look at universities, I had to take a bus, after visiting St. Andrews, from Edinburgh to London. For the entire 10 hours of that trip, a tiny male Scottish prostitute in a dress sang bawdy songs, and I seriously contemplated either murder or the logistics of jumping from the bus window into one of the endless fields going by. (The guy I mentioned in my post I saw at 9 am in December on my walk to Russian class).

    My friends have claimed that I am a mutant attractor. Such as the guy at the bus depot who came up and sat down next to us on a bench, then informed us in a conspiratorial whisper that his girlfriend was a witch for the CIA.

    When he eventually wandered off, the two buddies I was travelling with stated that if I wasn’t there, he would have talked about the weather, or football, or the bus being late. “You project a field, dude.”

    “And yet here I am, waiting for a bus to Chicago with the two of you.”

    He was wearing blue jeans and a Bob Marley One Love Peace Concert tee shirt, though, so there was no cross-dressing, at least none that was apparent.

    • #5
    • June 6, 2020, at 3:57 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    I, too, would like to visit Rome and get a blessing at the Vatican. Also not impressed with Pope Francis. /:

    • #6
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:03 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Percival (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a stella artois; well, it is Friday.

    I may be laughing too hard to read the rest.

    I swear, I think I just attract crazy, cross dressing men. The first time I came to the UK as a senior in HS to look at universities, I had to take a bus, after visiting St. Andrews, from Edinburgh to London. For the entire 10 hours of that trip, a tiny male Scottish prostitute in a dress sang bawdy songs, and I seriously contemplated either murder or the logistics of jumping from the bus window into one of the endless fields going by. (The guy I mentioned in my post I saw at 9 am in December on my walk to Russian class).

    My friends have claimed that I am a mutant attractor. Such as the guy at the bus depot who came up and sat down next to us on a bench, then informed us in a conspiratorial whisper that his girlfriend was a witch for the CIA.

    When he eventually wandered off, the two buddies I was travelling with stated that if I wasn’t there, he would have talked about the weather, or football, or the bus being late. “You project a field, dude.”

    “And yet here I am, waiting for a bus to Chicago with the two of you.”

    He was wearing blue jeans and a Bob Marley One Love Peace Concert tee shirt, though, so there was no cross-dressing, at least none that was apparent.

    I’m at the point in my life where I think some people might attract bad things, and I definitely attract travel disasters. The first time I went to Paris I ended up in the middle of a violent gilets jaunes protest on the same weekend that police began gassing protestors (my parents also accidentally booked me to stay at what turned out to be a French flophouse), the lovely man in a dress in Edinburgh, on my first stay in London I had a 2 hour long bloody nose and quite nearly passed out in my hotel room, I got pulled over for extra screening and nearly denied exit in Russia, ended up having to run away from a guy trying to pick me up in his car while walking along a highway in Austria, and got questioned by military police in Italy. I’m whatever the human opposite of a good luck charm is.

    • #7
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Front Seat Cat Member

    What is your major and was your visit to the Vatican in Dec of 2019? Great post – loved it!

    • #8
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    What is your major and was your visit to the Vatican in Dec of 2019? Great post – loved it!

    I’m majoring in International History with Russian Language, and I was in Rome from the 13th-16th of December 2019. Thanks, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

    • #9
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    KirkianWanderer: despite the fact that my passport photo makes me appear to be recently captured (and possibly dosed on psychedelics) Sadam Hussein,

    Since I’ve reached my majority I’ve never had a passport photo that didn’t make me look like a terrorist. In fairness I should probably have left the AK at home.

    • #10
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:13 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: despite the fact that my passport photo makes me appear to be recently captured (and possibly dosed on psychedelics) Sadam Hussein,

    Since I’ve reached my majority I’ve never had a passport photo that didn’t make me look like a terrorist. In fairness I should probably have left the AK at home.

    Everyone always complains about their passport and driver’s license photos, so I knew mine wasn’t very good, but I didn’t realize how truly bad it was until I showed my passport to my French teacher (she’s English and brought me on my first trip to the UK) and she immediately burst out laughing. It occasionally causes problems because it barely even looks like me (maybe it would be more accurate if I started doing meth), so airport security sometimes thinks that it’s a fake. Thank you incompetent and unpleasant local post office employees for the picture I’m stuck with for the next 7 years.

    • #11
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:18 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    I just stuck some pictures that I’m in to an album in my profile, if anyone wants to see, because I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to add them to the main post. You’ll probably have to click on the thumbnail size to enlarge and get a clear view (my parents always complained that I wasn’t in enough of my pictures, so I did try to take more with me in them, but they still think I look unhappy, so a few are only the top half of my face. I’m also various shades of deathly pale because I was ill that weekend).

    • #12
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Arahant Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I swear, I think I just attract crazy, cross dressing men.

    Percival (View Comment):
    My friends have claimed that I am a mutant attractor.

    My fellow strange attractors, remember that this is a superpower and enjoy the entertainment.

    • #13
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:50 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Arahant Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I just stuck some pictures that I’m in to an album in my profile, if anyone wants to see, because I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to add them to the main post.

    You don’t look like a dangerous pugilist.

    • #14
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: despite the fact that my passport photo makes me appear to be recently captured (and possibly dosed on psychedelics) Sadam Hussein,

    Since I’ve reached my majority I’ve never had a passport photo that didn’t make me look like a terrorist. In fairness I should probably have left the AK at home.

    Everyone always complains about their passport and driver’s license photos, so I knew mine wasn’t very good, but I didn’t realize how truly bad it was until I showed my passport to my French teacher (she’s English and brought me on my first trip to the UK) and she immediately burst out laughing. It occasionally causes problems because it barely even looks like me (maybe it would be more accurate if I started doing meth), so airport security sometimes thinks that it’s a fake. Thank you incompetent and unpleasant local post office employees for the picture I’m stuck with for the next 7 years.

    It’s also been a repeat experience for me. You have to have a visa to go to Russia, so when I went on my class trip there last year I had to go to the Russian visa centre in London with a great packet of papers and have everything verified, submitted, and paid for. They didn’t like the picture I provided, and said that if I wanted to submit for the visa I would need to have it redone at the shop for visa photos down the street, neglecting to mention that what they made sound like a specialist store was an Indian off license run by a 900 year old man. I explained my predicament, and he called for a younger man from the back to come help me. So, without ceremony I was paraded in front of the ice cream freezer, told to take off my glasses, and had a picture snapped of me with a camera that looked like it was from 2003. £3 and 20 minutes waiting for the ancient printer to produce the photo later, I had the world’s second worst picture of me. Somehow, this satisfied the Russians more than the copy of my passport picture, and ended up being the one affixed to the visa.

    • #15
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:53 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Arahant Member

    Just looked at my passport photo. It’s not too bad. My hair was kind of short, only just below the shoulders, and my beard needed a trim, but otherwise, not bad.

    • #16
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):
    I just stuck some pictures that I’m in to an album in my profile, if anyone wants to see, because I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to add them to the main post.

    You don’t look like a dangerous pugilist.

    Haha, you’re not the first person to say that. My Russian teacher can’t comprehend that this is how I spend my free time, because she’s spent the better part of two years yelling at me to be louder and more assertive (I’m not much of a talker, and quiet when I do, though she over exaggerates a bit). Although, my coach takes great joy in getting me riled up to try to see just how hard I can punch (according to him I have “dynamite” kicks and am inexplicably impossible to break a clinch on, probably because I’ve danced since I was 2), he thinks it’s a superpower because no one would ever expect me to be the least bit lethal. 

    • #17
    • June 6, 2020, at 4:57 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Just looked at my passport photo. It’s not too bad. My hair was kind of short, only just below the shoulders, and my beard needed a trim, but otherwise, not bad.

    My hair is inexplicably a different color than it actually is in real life and sticking out in about 7 different places, I have next level under eye bags (like I’ve spent the better part of being 17 shooting something up), my skin is bright red, and by the overall view I look like I’m awaiting the electric chair. It’s almost artful how little it looks like me, and how much it looks like a recently captured Saddam Hussein. 

    • #18
    • June 6, 2020, at 5:01 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… Contributor

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Just looked at my passport photo. It’s not too bad. My hair was kind of short, only just below the shoulders, and my beard needed a trim, but otherwise, not bad.

    My hair is inexplicably a different color than it actually is in real life and sticking out in about 7 different places, I have next level under eye bags (like I’ve spent the better part of being 17 shooting something up), my skin is bright red, and by the overall view I look like I’m awaiting the electric chair. It’s almost artful how little it looks like me, and how much it looks like a recently captured Saddam Hussein.

    Yeah, mine ain’t that bad. It’s just a problem with being the sort of person who always wears hats. “Take your hat off for the picture.” Spend the next ten years with hat hair.

    • #19
    • June 6, 2020, at 5:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Arahant Member

    So, I had a dream while sleeping last night, and part of it involved running into Patrick Stewart on a train (in Great Britain, of course). He was wearing a large and flowing black lace hat to disguise himself.

    I blame you, @kirkianwanderer. I definitely blame you.

     

    • #20
    • June 6, 2020, at 10:58 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Front Seat Cat Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: despite the fact that my passport photo makes me appear to be recently captured (and possibly dosed on psychedelics) Sadam Hussein,

    Since I’ve reached my majority I’ve never had a passport photo that didn’t make me look like a terrorist. In fairness I should probably have left the AK at home.

    Everyone always complains about their passport and driver’s license photos, so I knew mine wasn’t very good, but I didn’t realize how truly bad it was until I showed my passport to my French teacher (she’s English and brought me on my first trip to the UK) and she immediately burst out laughing. It occasionally causes problems because it barely even looks like me (maybe it would be more accurate if I started doing meth), so airport security sometimes thinks that it’s a fake. Thank you incompetent and unpleasant local post office employees for the picture I’m stuck with for the next 7 years.

    It’s also been a repeat experience for me. You have to have a visa to go to Russia, so when I went on my class trip there last year I had to go to the Russian visa centre in London with a great packet of papers and have everything verified, submitted, and paid for. They didn’t like the picture I provided, and said that if I wanted to submit for the visa I would need to have it redone at the shop for visa photos down the street, neglecting to mention that what they made sound like a specialist store was an Indian off license run by a 900 year old man. I explained my predicament, and he called for a younger man from the back to come help me. So, without ceremony I was paraded in front of the ice cream freezer, told to take off my glasses, and had a picture snapped of me with a camera that looked like it was from 2003. £3 and 20 minutes waiting for the ancient printer to produce the photo later, I had the world’s second worst picture of me. Somehow, this satisfied the Russians more than the copy of my passport picture, and ended up being the one affixed to the visa.

    sounded like they were in cahoots and that’s how the photo shop made money….

    • #21
    • June 7, 2020, at 5:04 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Front Seat Cat Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    So, I had a dream while sleeping last night, and part of it involved running into Patrick Stewart on a train (in Great Britain, of course). He was wearing a large and flowing black lace hat to disguise himself.

    I blame you, @kirkianwanderer. I definitely blame you.

     

    from the dream and your description of the passport pictures, maybe better lay off the partying……:-0

    • #22
    • June 7, 2020, at 5:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Arahant Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    from the dream and your description of the passport pictures, maybe better lay off the partying……:-0

    No partying. I am the most boring person in the world. I spend my day typing on a computer.

    • #23
    • June 7, 2020, at 5:08 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: despite the fact that my passport photo makes me appear to be recently captured (and possibly dosed on psychedelics) Sadam Hussein,

    Since I’ve reached my majority I’ve never had a passport photo that didn’t make me look like a terrorist. In fairness I should probably have left the AK at home.

    Everyone always complains about their passport and driver’s license photos, so I knew mine wasn’t very good, but I didn’t realize how truly bad it was until I showed my passport to my French teacher (she’s English and brought me on my first trip to the UK) and she immediately burst out laughing. It occasionally causes problems because it barely even looks like me (maybe it would be more accurate if I started doing meth), so airport security sometimes thinks that it’s a fake. Thank you incompetent and unpleasant local post office employees for the picture I’m stuck with for the next 7 years.

    It’s also been a repeat experience for me. You have to have a visa to go to Russia, so when I went on my class trip there last year I had to go to the Russian visa centre in London with a great packet of papers and have everything verified, submitted, and paid for. They didn’t like the picture I provided, and said that if I wanted to submit for the visa I would need to have it redone at the shop for visa photos down the street, neglecting to mention that what they made sound like a specialist store was an Indian off license run by a 900 year old man. I explained my predicament, and he called for a younger man from the back to come help me. So, without ceremony I was paraded in front of the ice cream freezer, told to take off my glasses, and had a picture snapped of me with a camera that looked like it was from 2003. £3 and 20 minutes waiting for the ancient printer to produce the photo later, I had the world’s second worst picture of me. Somehow, this satisfied the Russians more than the copy of my passport picture, and ended up being the one affixed to the visa.

    sounded like they were in cahoots and that’s how the photo shop made money….

    They definitely were. To be fair, very little about my experiences with Russian immigration officials was pleasant or entirely above board. I had to surrender my passport to them in that packet for a month, to be kept at the Russian embassy while they considered the appeal for a visa and decided whether or not to grant it and the full page sticker that goes with it. The officials and police officers I encountered in Russia were no more kind or helpful than the ones in London.

    • #24
    • June 7, 2020, at 5:10 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    So, I had a dream while sleeping last night, and part of it involved running into Patrick Stewart on a train (in Great Britain, of course). He was wearing a large and flowing black lace hat to disguise himself.

    I blame you, @kirkianwanderer. I definitely blame you.

     

    from the dream and your description of the passport pictures, maybe better lay off the partying……:-0

    Haha, I’m pretty sure 90% of the reason I looked so rough (and I maintain that I did not look as bas as that picture implied), was because I applied to 35 colleges, was enrolled in 3 APs and two self directed classes, and was doing an extra circular before and after school at least 5 days a week. Very little sleep was had, which even the people I interviewed with for schools mentioned. Most of Senior year is an exhausting blur still.

    • #25
    • June 7, 2020, at 5:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. Front Seat Cat Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    from the dream and your description of the passport pictures, maybe better lay off the partying……:-0

    No partying. I am the most boring person in the world. I spend my day typing on a computer.

    Sorry – that was meant for the wanderer!

    • #26
    • June 7, 2020, at 5:13 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. mezzrow Member
    mezzrowJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a stella artois; well, it is Friday.

    I may be laughing too hard to read the rest.

    Evertonian here. Sounds like a typical day in Walton to me. NSNO

    • #27
    • June 7, 2020, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. KirkianWanderer Coolidge
    KirkianWanderer

    mezzrow (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    KirkianWanderer: Screaming Scottish man with a beer belly in a fishnet dress and pumps, carrying a stella artois; well, it is Friday.

    I may be laughing too hard to read the rest.

    Evertonian here. Sounds like a typical day in Walton to me. NSNO

    The weirdest place I’ve ever seen after dark is Sheffield, it’s 10x worse than any seedy part of Soho. Still haven’t been to Liverpool yet, I’m guilty of sticking mostly to the Southeast, where I live.

    • #28
    • June 7, 2020, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.