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As luck would have it, all the taxis went on strike last night about midnight. Over 300 taxis rolled into the central area around the Vittorio Emanuelle II monument and turned off their engines.
I had just finished dinner at a friend’s villa near the colosseum who is a famous Italian actor. I should not say his name, but we have recently become associated in some business I am doing in Rome. Anyway, he had a beautiful villa and owned the top four floors of a fabulous 600-year-old building. He had two level verandas, the second one occupying the entire roof with a 360-degree panorama of the city. He had a servant that brought out wine, appetizers, dinner, everything. At the end, he even brought out three flavors of homemade gelato that we all ate while staring out the night-lit city of Rome… It was really something else.
Anyway, after leaving, I found out about the strike. Walking around, quite far from my hotel in Esquiline near the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, I found a nice man on a motorcycle and I offered him ten Euro to take me back to my hotel.
He said he refused payment and would absolutely give me a ride. We waited on his wife to come out of the restaurant and she let me borrow her helmet, while she used her daughter’s that was stashed away. I tried to pay her since her husband refused, but she also refused, stuffing the money back into my pocket which appeared to the casual passerby as some kind of surreal fight where two people are gesticulating wildly while stuffing money into one another’s pockets.
I got on the back and this guy floored it… He was like the Italian Evel Knieval as we whipped around corners on almost totally empty streets, since they were bereft of the normally clogging taxis. His wife flew along beside us with a pleasant smile on her face. After I got off, I snapped this picture and tried to offer them money again. They refused so I gave them my card to buy them dinner if they ever come to Texas.
These are the best preserved and most grand baths from the ancient Romans. They were built between 212 and 216 AD and could supposedly hold up to 12,000 bathers at a time. Some places say 2-3K, the signs there said 8K… but the baths themselves included gymnasiums, a library, etc., and after being there, I think the 12K figure for the thermae area itself is more correct.
Lusco Fusco is a cool Italian phrase that is meant to define the time between sunset and when it is dark. I don’t think we have a good word for that in English. It’s sort of like “dusk”, but darker and more “glowy”. And “lusco fusco” sounds way better than “darker than dusk but glowy.”
I thought this guy had a really cool scene going on, laying in the park behind the Basilica San Lorenzo with a ultra-bald head and ultra-gargantuan eyebrows, so I shot this picture. He didn’t speak English so I made the international symbol for “I am not gay but I want to take your picture.”
Okay the Mick bit first, since these really have nothing to do with one another.
I was at the Principe di Savoy here in Milan to have a meeting, and I found out that is where the Rolling Stones are staying for their concert tonight. I was first tipped off by the aging and drugged-out hippies that were standing outside the security gates peeking around for a view of any of these octogenarians. While I was inside, I was waiting around the lobby and all the sudden Mick Jagger came out of the elevator. There was a super-tall brunette with him (is that Jerry Hall? Are they still together? Did she dye her hair?).
Anyway, I walked right up to him when he came out and held out my hand.
He looked at me and shook my hand and said, “Hi, I’m Mick.”
I smiled because I thought it was funny that he introduced himself first and I said, “Hi, I’m Trey. I thought you were dead!”
He laughed and said something COMPLETELY unintelligble in British, and walked off with his bodyguards, all of whom were now eying me with a high degree of suspicion.
Okay now for the Duomo part.
From this view, it is not hard to see that this cathedral can hold over 40,000 people.