Monday, June 18, 2012

How much is too much?

Day 6: Rome

On Grey's Anatomy one of my favoriteepisodes is when Meredith asks the question, “How much is toomuch?” Today I feel like the running theme was “Too Much.”

We had to get up at 6:00 am again tomake it on our tour excursions. Too much. I'm telling ya, I get upevery morning in the school year at 5:00 am but my jet lagged bodyfeels like it has been run over by a train every single time I tryand drag myself out of bed.

The next time I started to question ifit was too much when we saw first hand the traffic of Rome. Therewas no street lines! There can be 3-5 cars, buses, taxis, orscooters riding next to each other on the same road. It was insane! Our bus would just cut people off. One time we were at a stop lightand this little scooter came riding through on the 1 foot spacebetween our bus and the curb. How the little guy didn't get smashedis beyond me. We did see one accident where a motorcycle ran into acar somehow... but the damage to the car looked a lot worse than theguy getting strapped to the board. And don't even get me startedwith the parking! I have a picture of 3 smart cars. One parallelpark facing forward, one backed in, and the third facingbackwards.... all within inches of each other. When we mentioned thecrazy driving to our tour guide Carlo (Oh we'll get to him in aminute!) he said, “Oh driving is great here, wait til you get toNaples... there street lights are only used as Christmasdecorations.”

When Carlo came walking up to our bus,I knew it was going to be a wild ride. He was wearing a Rico Sauvebutton down shirt, of course half way undone with his chest hairpeaking out covered only by his gold chains with huge diamondsdangling. He was probably around 70 years old with a walking canethat had a carved handle in the shape of the pope on the end of hiswalking stick. He carried a leather bag and wore a white fancy hat. But his most distinguished features were either his 4 K diamond ringor his cologne you could smell for kilometers. *Notice, I am turningso European. ;) What was too much about Carlo? Besides his looks,his smell, and his fashion.... his tour consisted of numbers, moreand more numbers. From the number of seats in the Coliseum thenumber of Caesars (76) or the year that the mosaics in the Vatiganwent from black and white to colored... 30 A.D. 30 A.D. Because yousee every time Carlo said a number, he couldn't just say it once, hehad to make sure that everyone heard the number so he said it once,twice, and if we were really lucky three times. So for 6 hours witha radio head set in... I heard numbers to useless information notonce, not twice, but often three times. Maybe too much.

The first hour of our tour wascompletely drive bys only. So for one hour we were looking left,right, left, right while Carlo spouted out more numbers aboutdifferent places. No stories, no cool facts, just numbers. Lots andlots of numbers. By the end of the hour Danielle was dying! She wastrying her hardest to remember while I was trying so hard to rememberwhat I was taking pictures of for my future Roman HistoryPowerpoints. Everywhere we turned there was a new 30 BC building orwall or statue or garden. It was so overwhelming... so much so thatwe eventually too out our headphones until we stopped.

Then we got out of the bus. 92degrees. Doesn't sound TOO bad right? I was just driving through110 degrees a week ago. Let's just say as I could feel the sweetrolling down the spine of my back once again I had to question, whenis too much? I even heard someone from our cruise passed out in themiddle of St. Peter's Square due to the heat.

The crowds. Lots and lots of crowds. So we were moving at a snails pace through the Vatican as Carlo wastelling us numbers over and over and over again. After over an hourof moving like cattle one step at a time I couldn't take it anymore. Erin and I took off in front of the group. We walked way ahead, thensat down somewhere in the breeze of an open window and waited for ourgroup to catch up. We thought we were so clever. The second time wetried it, it was just me and Erin. We hurried up... and sat in thebeauitful cold dark room and just waited for the crowds to pass andeventually Carlo hearding his sheep would catch up. Well afterwaiting 5, 10, 15 minutes... no Carlo and we could no longer hear himin our headphones. We realized we had lost our group. And for thoseof you that don't know the Vatican... it is big, very big, lots ofturns. Luckily I am an expert crowd speed walker (of course due tomy many many trip to Disneyland) So I lead Erin and the 5 otherpeople that had gotten ahead of the group and tried to find ourgroup. When we had been lost for a solid 15 minutes I began to panica little in my head. (I had to be the tough one) I told the group,“They can't leave without us.” as my pace got a littlefaster....

We entered the Sistine Chapel. Iscanned the HUGE crowd trying to find our group. Ilooked up just in time to see the creation scene.... took a pictureof it with my iPhone as I heard the security team yell, "BEQUIET and NO PHOTOGRAPHY!" I smiled.... why does it feel sogood to do something as petty as taking a picture when they say nophotography? But I don't even remember seeing any other parts ofthe Sistine Chapel... but it looks just like the pictures right? Wefound our tour group just in time to exit with them. But it made mequestion if I went again if I'd want to come in the off season...because when is a crowd just too much?

Oh boy, I guess weshould talk about the Vatican. The statues, the paintings, thecarvings, the gold... I guess this is probably where the theme ofthis blogspot originated. When is too much too much? After you seeyour thousandth marble statue.... or your second tons worth ofguilded ceilings.... or a hallway 450 feet long with paints everyinch of the walls and ceiling... you just really have to wonder, whenis too much too much?

I faintly rememberedthe story of the Pieta being attacked by a sledge hammer years ago. But what I forgot was how they did way too much to protect it. It ismy favorite piece of artwork ever. And really.... the security toprotect it now... is a little too much. Sadly it didn't give me thesame overwhelming feeling that seeing the David did yesterday... butyou know, it was wonderful to see it... even if it was behind a hugepiece of glass and 30 feet away.

But really, the laststraw of too much being too much is when I have been descretelypurposely not mentioning the name of my boyfriend on this blog,facebook, or any other place she might possibly hear because one ofthe girls I am with on this trip dated him 4 years ago. I didn'twant to hurt her feelings, I didn't want to cause drama... but todayI just decided that maybe too much is too much. His name is Jasonand he's the best things that's happened to me in a long long time. And the wonderful thing is I think I made her see that it was acompliment that I cared so much about her feelings... but I finallytold her. She laughed. What a sweetheart.

So back to thequestion, when do we know when too much is too much? Today as we gotback on the bus after an exhausting 9 hours in the heat and crowds ofRome Danielle turned to me and said, "yeah how do you know whentoo much is too much?" Within a few moments I look up just intime to see a taxi headed straight for us. We slam on the breaks andthe taxi slams on its breaks when we were inches away from a head oncollision. It was then and there that I could finally say, "Yes.That is too much."

It was a wonderful daybut I'll tell ya what, I am thrilled that I am laying in my bed andready for a relaxing day on the beaches in Sorento.... Caprese Saladand Gelto, here I come.

1 comment:

theriddle said...

Yes driving in rome is hell. You have to see Rome but sounds like it was crowded. I've only been in April and May. It wasn't so bad then.