Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Coins in the Fountain

The last time I visited Rome was seven years ago when we live in Connecticut. At 11 am on a Friday, I returned from the dentist and B said, "hey, let's have lunch in Rome tomorrow."

I threw in some clothes in a bag and with two other friends of ours we drove like bats out of hell (only the bats are slower) to T.F. Green (about an hour's drive which we made in like 40 minutes) and went to Rome for the weekend.

It was strangely surreal. We were tired and jetlagged and lost track of time. Our friend, M, said, "hey, remember the day we arrived?" We were like, "uh, you mean this morning?"

It was a wonderful weekend, especially because it was such a rare thing. Some people commended me for putting up with my husband like I was some long-suffering wife. Hello!!! I traveled by myself for months in the Indian Himalayas and backpacked through India with my best friend for three months.

I resented being cast as the dutiful, indulgent wife when I could barely wait to throw my clothes into my bag and take off.

I am thinking of Rome because this past weekend was spent there. This time the flight was just about an hour, there was no jetlag and it was insanely hot (yes, me with my heat intolerance and these summer vacations in hot places. wtf?).

Still....Rome was beautiful. The eternal city, alive and lovely at every turn. Built on the sweat of slaves and the blood of millions, it has a certain weary aura and an undeniable mystique. I prefer Rome to Paris. I think it's a more soulful city...and there was very little dog poop on the streets.

The last time we couldn't visit the Sistine Chapel (this time I spent a lot of time there) or the Trevi fountain (I am not much for customs that consist of me tossing money into water).

But there it was, this amazing, beautiful fountain, gushing water on an evening the air was so still and thick I could swallow the heat. And the spray from the water cooled my face and I dipped my hands and arms in it and for an instant got some respite from the furnace of Rome.

I threw in these coins: half a Swiss franc, a US dime, a 20 cent Euro coin and a 50 paise coin: all my homes (well the Euro is more neighbor but you get the point).

Even though I was back in Rome despite not having thrown a coin in the Trevi the last time, this time I wanted to be sure I would return (not in summer though).

I also wanted to be sure that I would also go back to the other places that hold places of my heart. Places where I have left pieces of my heart.

Arriverderci Roma!


Sujatha said...

Brought back lovely memories from two months ago Jawahara. I prefer Rome to Paris too. By a long shot.

Jawahara Saidullah said...

Hey there:

I hope it wasn't as hot when you were in Rome though. The heat really killed me.

Sujatha said...

It was lovely, except it rained cats and dogs for about 30 minutes while we were at the Vatican. This was the end of May so summer hadn't kicked in, probably.