Wednesday, July 21, 2010

L'Inferno Romano

Rome continues to be a particularly enervating inferno at 37 degrees centigrade and 90% humidity. The apartment is small and stuffy but we've been planning some strategic escapes from the urban heat wave, including forays to air conditioned museums and grocery stores. We took a 35-min. train to the beach at Ostia yesterday and had a full day of sun, surf, and sandy swim trunks. Giulia is determined to learn how to swim and is really making progress. Both she and Giorgio inherited the "I don't like getting me face wet" gene from my side of the family so her newly aquired dog paddle is significant progress! Giorgio fades rapidly in the sweltering heat but unfortunately becomes somewhat overly enlivened (i.e. running in museums regardless of the stern warnings of the guards) in the presence of air conditioning so we've got a bit of a Catch 22 on our hands.

It was nice having Shari and the girls as visitors last weekend. The kids really enjoyed seeing some familiar faces - despite the cramped quarters - so it was a welcome change of pace. Here's a shot of the kids outside the Pantheon where we were accosted by some picture-proffering gladiators.
Thankfully, Ostia wasn't as dirty as we were expecting (or as everyone we know warned). It was also a Tuesday so the beaches weren't as crowded. Much to our delight we also stumbled upon a particularly friendly, non-mangy feline on our way back to the station (see below).

I've started a new morning regimen of running along the Tiber before 7 am when the sidewalks begin to sizzle so that I can continue the daily regimen of pizza and pasta. Gio's culinary creativity hasn't suffered in our piccola home kitchen -- we've enjoyed rabbit cacciatore, pasta amatriciana and con vongole, among other memorable repasts. It's amazing what a pro can do with a fickle burner, two marginal pans and 3 square feet of work space.
The afternoon siestas afford us time to recuperate, plan the next outing, and improve our Italian while watching the latest TV commercials promising
weight loss "senza sacrifici!". Apparently all you need to do is stand on a vibrating podium for a few minutes every day to shed the pounds. A few years ago, attaching low-voltage electrodes to one's midsection was all the rage. It's also apparent that Italy doesn't see the need for a consumer protection agency.

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