I am in Rome on vacation. Here are some utterly awesome things:

1. Romans have a different sense of personal space than Americans do. They squish into you, run you over, press into you, and flatten you as they walk on the narrow cobblestone streets.

2. Romans drive like maniacs. There are no lanes, no rules, barely any lights. They whip around corners and plow through crowds in their teeny tiny cars. I will never complain about NY taxi drivers again. Roman drivers and pedestrians play chicken all the time.

3. Your average guy on the street does not speak English. This makes things very difficult.

4. Roman buses are completely unreliable.

5. Travel books warn you about pickpocket gypsies in Rome. Can you imagine travel books warning you about thieving blacks in New York City? Yet people accept this unquestioningly.

6. It is too cold for gelato. How disappointing.

7. Italian meals have a “first course” and a “second course.” It’s very confusing.

8. We had an interesting exchange with one of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican. My husband, who is extremely precise about time, told the guardsman we had an appointment at 2:15 and asked to let us pass. The guardsman said he would when it was 2:15. They both looked at their watches. My husband said it was 2:15. The guardsman said it wasn’t. They stared each other down. The church bell rang 2:15. The guardsman said, “Now it is 2:15,” and he let us pass. Very funny.

Swiss Guard. The one on the right had the correct time.

9. Cobblestone streets are hard to walk on.

10. Water  and other beverages are way more expensive than wine.

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