Rome : Day II – From Tori…

Last night I finally got to bed around 5:30am.  That’s not as bad as it sounds – that time is 11:30pm to my body as of a day ago, and at home I’ve been averaging a bedtime somewhere after 4:00am for the last, oh, three months.   Yay unemployment!

My first conscious experience of the day seemed so sweet; sunlight pouring in the lone open window, a gaggle of birds tweeting and cawing outside.  Ah, I thought, how lucky am I to be up and well rested at such a decent time!  I rolled over to look at my phone for messages, and I saw it was only 72% charged.  That’s odd, I thought – how damn slow is this thing charging, anyway?

Then my eyes panned upward an inch.  7:27am.  God.     Dammit.

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So, we had that to deal with today.  Not exactly the best of sleeping patterns to start with.  I tried to deftly mix naps with doses of strong Italian espresso in order to be fully functioning and non-crabby for the evening, as I had a concert to attend featuring a lovely lady named Tori Amos.

After plowing through yet another supermarket-bought cheap sandwich for lunch – my secret weapon in the war to make big Euro city living doable on a tight budget – I went out for an exploratory stroll around my flat.

Rome is, by intentional design, extremely confusing to navigate; this was done thousands of years ago to slow down and misdirect invading armies.  To the civil engineer who conceived this two thousand years ago – well done.  Even with all the maps I could ask for and fucking GPS, I still can’t figure out which corner is the one I’m supposed to turn at.  If you’re entertained by lost-looking helpless tourists, just set up a lawn chair on any corner in Rome and crack open a beer, you’ll have a grand time.

I eventually settled in to a small café where the espresso was barely over a dollar, and ordered two of those and the marmalade-filled croissant.  The fact that all of that goodness only cost €3.30 is a small miracle.  It seems that, in an ironic twist, the cost of lodging in Rome is higher than Paris, but the things you buy in the course of a day are much cheaper.  For €3.30 in most of Paris, they might let you smell a pastry.

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Later, I was joined by Nat, a new friend from CouchSurfing, for a quick take-out dinner (the bow tie pasta I had was, of course, perfect) on the north side of town.  She would be coming with me to the Tori concert this evening : going to concerts alone would suck, and I was lucky enough to find someone actually familiar with the artist.  Plus, having someone along that actually was familiar with the web of buses, trams, and trains to actually get there was a nice bonus, too.

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The venue itself was gorgeous – Parco della Musica , a collection of three discrete concert halls, with stunning architecture and world-renowned acoustics.

Probably due to my experience with anything remotely administrative in Paris requiring impossible amounts of documentation and time, I came to the will call window of the hall ready for anything.  Having bought tickets online for will call pickup, in a country where I didn’t speak the language, there was potential for disaster.  I had my confirmation email loaded up on my phone, my license, my passport, and my credit card all ready to go.

Of course, the girl on the other side of the glass took a passing glance at my phone, saw the name at the top of the email, and simply plucked two tickets from the top of the small stack in front of her.  Um, ok.  Apparently she was expecting me.  No need for ID, just… here you go.  That was a reminder that Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.  The Italians are a much looser bunch than the French, especially when it comes to paperwork.

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I’ll spare you a 10,000 word essay on the performance – something, mind you, I am more than capable and willing to do – and summarize it as such : Tori Amos is still a breathtaking artist to witness live.  If you haven’t seen her perform yet, go do it this summer.  She was particularly feisty tonight, and I don’t think it was coincidental – given her relationship with the Catholic Church – that she stretched out portions of Pancake (“messiahs need people dying in their name”), Icicle (“well I think the good book is missing some pages”), and Precious Things (you know the line) as we all sat a stone’s throw from the Vatican.

Her voice was as solid as ever, and the acoustics of the hall made for a beautiful resonance of her $200,000 Bosendorfer piano.

At the end of the show, Nat and I parted ways at the Metro station, and I wandered a good half hour through the dimly lit streets looking for a bus stop, before finally throwing in the towel and jumping in a taxi.  A quick drop in to the doner stand for a late-night sandwich, and I was back home in the flat, getting ready for tomorrow’s appointment at the Sanctuary.

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