A flight with God and daring double-doors.
The flight went ahead without a glitch, an itch or even a twitch. Textbook stuff. I was feeling fancy after such a decadent breakfast so I splashed out on a bottle of water which at no point splashed on me; just how I like it. A few Spanish people clapped as the Tannoy announced that we had arrived twenty minutes early.
We disembarked into the warm air of a Roman afternoon and went to collect our bags. A kerfuffle ensued as we had to wait a while for our bags to appear. The restlessness of the crowd was apparent. These people needed to be places. It’s only when you have all the time in the world that you realise how foolish you must look when you rush around simultaneously chasing and being chased by the clock. My bag appeared and As it did a man appeared in a fluorescent vest talking about a guitar. I reclaimed my baby from him and he said something in Italian which I responded to with a look of confusion. He smiled and said, ‘enjoy your guitar’. I thanked him and made my way.
I had bought a ticket in Madrid airport for when I arrived in Rome to get to the central station, Termini. So I was ready to go, a snail once again and slowly but surely making my way to the centre of Rome. I walked up to a man who was co-ordinating buses and through a mix of Spanish and English we established that I had to wait at a different stop. When the bus arrived he let me on first to free me from my shell. As we got moving I took some real eye-opening notes including ‘Rome smells nice and the weather is good’. In hindsight, I may have been a bit sleepy. I noticed too, that drivers use road markings that they have mutually agreed are there and will be the ones they use instead of the ones you can actually see. A concept in Britain which I’m sure would not be received well but one which here works a charm and everyone gets where they want to be quicker.
When we arrived at Termini, I spent a good half-three quarters of an hour trying to find a machine which would sell me a Metro ticket. Snailing around the station, my trail of sweat showing me the path I’d taken like Hansel and Gretel’s sweets. I was lost and hadn’t a ticket so I asked someone who told me I had to go to the newspaper shop to buy a ticket. So I did just that then made my way into the underground. Now as I was descending the steps I realised I had wasted a lot of time faffing about and I was going to be late to meet my friend. At this point I became the foolish version of myself I described earlier and what a better way to demonstrate this that to get stuck in the Metro door. Let me tell you this, if you look like a snail, people who are from the city do not warm to you, but they will help you to get unstuck from the sliding doors. So thanks to a friendly Roman I got onto the Metro faced with many people who correctly identifed me as a foolish snail boy. A foolish snail boy I may be, but a snail travels faster when it catches the Metro.