November 10th

The Rome Internet Saga    Youíve probably heard me say that our internet connection was tenuous. Until recently the connection consisted of unauthorized use of an unprotected wireless network belonging to someone in the building where we are staying. A small problem was that when the wireless network was being used by its owner (how dare s/he!) it was unusable by us. Additionally, the connection, when it was available was only available in the front yard of our ground floor apartment. Furthermore the signal was pretty weak so usually I had to hold the computer up in the air while typing email send/receive commands in order for the thing to work. Check out the photo on the right.

Last weekend someone moved out of our building and lo and behold Ė no more internet signal. Actually things are better now because we just go down to the neighborhood laundromat where a very nice fellow from Bangladesh who runs the laundromat has a few internet computers we can use for a reasonable price. The internet connections are excellent.

Felliniís Dreams as seen at Romeís Superb New Auditorium    A few years ago Rome completed work on the Auditorium which is a multi venue performance complex designed by Renzo Piano. The Auditorium consists of three large performance venues, from moderate to very large in size plus an outdoor stage, several small venues, meeting rooms, galleries, a library, a bookstore and a couple of cafťs. It is truly a wonderful Parco de Musica. Weíve been out there quite frequently for the Roma Film Fest, the Roma Jazz Festival and simply to have their terrific salad bar lunch. Only an aerial photo could provide a good view of the whole Auditorium. The photo on the left shows one of three domes that enclose performance spaces and the outdoor stage area.

One day during the Roma Film Fest at the Auditorium I came upon a gallery displaying "Fellinis Book of Dreams." Well since Felliniís films have such a strong dream quality that I love, I could hardly resist seeing what his real dreams were like. I wasnít disappointed. The exhibit consisted of dream descriptions as well as cartoon illustrations by Fellini. Fellini believed that "night work" was at least as important if not more so than the thoughts and activities of the waking day. At the urging of his Jungian therapist, Fellini kept a notebook at his bedside where he jotted down dream notes and images. Below are two of Felliniís dream representations that I liked very much.

20 November 1974: "In a jumbo jet headed to New York. It seems I have agreed to present the English version of Amarcord in Los Angeles. Travelling with De Laurentiis and Cristaldi. I donít really know why I agreed to this trip. Iím in no mood to go, I know Iíll get off before we land in America; I havenít even fastened my seat belt since Iíve decided to get off right away. Iím sitting rather uncomfortably next to a restless but not unpleasant young fellow. Now the airplane is making a water landing in the bay of Naples. They open the door to let me out; Cristaldi silently nods goodbye, disappointed, perhaps."

20 October 1961: "Held prisoner in a Chinese castle inhabited by skilled prostitutes dressed as geishas. These courtesans are sadistic in the extreme and practice the highly refined art of imaginative and cruel sex play. I sense them all around me, as strong and treacherous as wild animals. I feel the warm breath of their mouths, like hungry wolves. They bite my shoulders and one arm, flashing razor-sharp smiles that fade fast, and flashing looks out of their turbid eyes Ö Are they toying with me? Are they joking? Leopoldo Trieste appears, scared out of his wits. ĎRun away!í he yells ĎTheyíll eat you alive!í But I go on dueling with the prostitutes."

What Makes Rome a Great Place to Visit    Sueann and I have been here in Rome for just a little more than two months. We have had a truly wonderful time here. What is it that has contributed to our great pleasure? The obvious things first. The Roman antiquities including ruins, sculptures, and the un-ruined Pantheon are terrifically interesting not only for themselves but also because the Romans wrote about them so we know a little more about what they meant to the Romans.

Second I would put spectacular basilicas, churches and sites relating to the rise of Christianity. Churches like San Paolo fuori le Mura (St.Pauls Outside the Walls) are some of the grandest structures ever conceived and built by man. We havenít even been to the Vatican yet.

Next on the list of obvious pleasures is the easy accessibility of wonderful Italian food. Restaurants are everywhere and we havenít hit a bad one yet. And the open air markets are great. I very much enjoy going down to the market for some vegetables and meat that Sueann cooks up into a delicious dinner. To these food pleasures add superb pastries found just about everywhere and delizioso gelati. Of course there is a slight downside to the great food here. Yup, when we are back in the states it will be serious diet time ... sigh, again.

Finally on the list of obvious pleasures Sueann and I add the transportation system. Yes, the metro (subway) system consists of only two lines which skirt the main tourist areas. But the buses are terrific. There are many bus lines which crisscross the town. Bus stops provide good information about buses that stop there and where these buses go. Buses generally come every 10 minutes or so (except yesterday when there was a general strike and we took our first taxi ride in Rome). Altogether it is very easy to get around this town. Sueann and I each buy a monthly transportation pass for 30 Euros which we consider to be a great bargain.

I think I have exhausted the most obvious pleasures one will find on a visit to Rome. The final pleasure on my list is a bit less obvious but adds greatly to the joy of a stay here. I am talking about the charm of this town. Inside the Aurelian wall, i.e. central Rome, there are few new buildings. I'm not sure when the buildings date back to but we find them to be much more charming then modern, sterile buildings found often at home. In addition to charming buildings, Rome is loaded with lovely fountains and statues. The effect is to make a walk around town a very pleasing experience. Rome's charms are everywhere and this is certainly one of Romes greatest assets. Below are some photos taken by Sueann and myself which I hope will help you to find some of the charm of Roma.

We will be home soon and we are looking forward to seeing you.

Yours truly,

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