Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Life's Too Short

Today is the fourth day of our stay in Rome and I write this summary with mixed feelings about the city. There is the good the bad and the ugly. What I said about not being able to immerse yourself into the culture of your touring city remains very true in Italy. Perhaps more so in Italy, segregation between tourist and the local does just stop at the cultural and ethnicity level. Segregation in Italy transcends into socioeconomic realm. Which is sort of like a nice way to say that there are a lot of disenfranchised members of society. Which, in turn is another way of saying there’s tons beggars and sketchy people in walking around in Rome. It’s not the nicest thing to say as a first comment, but it is a stark image that is worthy of mention as it occurred to me when I first set foot in Rome. The separation is clear, so much so that the locals treat them like foreigners, these “city dwellers”. Then what happens is that tourists suddenly become the makeshift class of its own in tourist cities such as Rome and Milan. You probably have more in common with the regular Italian than they do with the local lower class, even if you speak a different language or look completely different.

The modern Romans are a diverse people; it is a dynamic city with high volumes of demographic influx. Making matters more complicated is the fact that Rome is a one of Europe’s most visited cities. Making it harder to tell who’s from here and who’s not. Not that it’s important at all, but people there lose track and simply can’t keep track of people coming in and out. The bustling and hustling of the city is the way of life in Rome. Out of all this confusion, Romans are incredibly nice and, with a lack of a better term, understood the idea of YOLO very well. Sometimes too well.

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