Monday, April 27, 2009

Thoughts on Rome vs. Naples

This past Sunday, Gavriella and I went to Rome with the USO to see the Vatican. That I will talk about later, because all my pictures are still on my camera. We had a good time together. After the tour, we were given an hour of free time before we had to get back to Naples, so Gavriella and I ordered some food from a vendor who had a food stand and sat on a wall across the street near some trains. She enjoyed seeing the pigeons (didn’t have a lot of them near our house in Omaha, more downtown birds) and was afraid they would take her food. We then walked to a local market where just about everything was being sold. We got some tchochkes for everyone and I did all my communication in Italian, which was actually quite easy because I just said the same thing. But I was able to understand them when they said something to me too, so that made me feel good. The whole experience brought my confidence up regarding going out in town, which was nice. After the hour, we shlepped back to the bus, and made our way back to Naples. The drive to and from is quite lovely–lots of soft rolling hills and towns perched on the tops of them. You could make out the church because it was in the center of town and thus higher than the rest of the buildings. They looked quite old and I wanted to fly out of the bus and into the towns to check them out. Maybe some other time. It was immediately apparent when we were back in the Naples area–garbage suddenly everywhere, half built buildings, roads in disrepair. Immediately I felt disappointed we had to live here. Rome was so beautiful, even just the small part we drove through (the Coliseum and other ruins are on the other side of the river, so we didn’t see those), and Naples is so, so crappy. It’s amazing how better one feels when not surrounded by rubbish.

I’m currently reading Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano. It’s about the mafia here in Naples and how it permeates everything. They are absolutely to blame as for why the area is the way it is, but we knew that before we came here, or read the book. At least I know I don’t have to go far for a nice reprieve.