Friday night in Rome

Last night I went to my favourite watering hole and as usual Thursday nights are when a new art installation is unveiled and all the pretty, clever, crazy and just plain weird people come out.

I generally avoid Thursdays as the smoke – yes everybody still smokes – inside even – gets to me and with my still rudimentary Italian it is difficult to carry on a conversation. However last night was a special occasion. One of the most famous modern art critics in Italy and possibly around the world – Achille Bonito Oliva was presenting his lastest portrait. At age 70 + it was a full frontal nude of him lounging on his sofa! I gather he has made something of a habit of it every 10 or 20 years to “reveal” himself. I have to say I admire his elan. Not to mention that he looks pretty good – never mind his age! Fortunately he didn’t give into repeated requests for a reprise on top of the bar – uncommon good sense!
The weather this week has been typical of this time of year with the Tramontagna – brilliantly clear skies, with sharply defined shadows, brisk winds and bloody cold. I just don’t have nearly enough cold weather clothes and after a point layering cotton t-shirts just makes you fat not warm. Today however was much milder and I know this because the demonstration season has started – quite sensibly “they” don’t seem to organize large prostests if it is too cold, or too rainy or so on… I was sitting in the sun having lunch, minding my own business and all of a sudden a couple of Carabinieri vans pull up, disgorge 20 or 30 big guys in riot gear – including shields and proceed to set up a command post. Then we start to hear the chanting and loudspeakers and what sounded like an honest to god cannon being fired off – rattled the windows for sure. Not surprisingly some of my fellow diners were getting a little nervous, so Marco who runs the place and is a lovely fellow decides to enlist my help – “tell them Madam Kim, this happens all the time – no worries.” And actually thats pretty much true, I’ve seen quite a few demonstrations for all sorts of reasons and the police seem to be well versed in keeping everything under control. Lots of noise, banners, flags, balloons and such (tho’ this was the first time with a cannon!) and once they have had their say, everyone wraps up and heads off for a cafe and a smoke. Having said that, I suspect it could get ugly pretty fast if something went wrong but so far so good.
So there you have it – a snap shot of life in Rome – weird and wonderful.
On a side note I have been working on my India pictures and I should have at least the first tranche ready shortly – probably on Picasa or the like.