Day 94 - Rome
15 March 2022
We fell asleep with the fire burning low. It got down to -4 C last night but the room stayed warm. Breakfast is provided. They take their COVID seriously here. It is a buffet breakfast, but we cannot serve ourselves. We have to point out what we want and the sole staff member has to plate it for us.
It does not work on a few levels. Firstly, the staff is not available. She keeps disappearing into the kitchen. Secondly, and most importantly, I get self-conscious asking for cake. Which one? All of them. Can I have some cheese and prosciutto? All of it. It is one thing to be a glutton, another thing entirely to feel like one.
“Sometimes I had difficulty remembering that "all you can eat" is not a personal challenge.” ― Marika Christian
The only negative comment I can make on what is my favourite place in Italy, if not the world. The long way. No tolls. First stop, Peltuinum archeological site.
20 km east of L'Aquila, the site was once a major town in the Vestini region. It is on the way. In the middle of nowhere, we might even get the site to ourselves. These places are better without throngs of tourists.
One thing I admire about Rachelle is her respect for authority and rules. No sooner have we arrived than she has jumped a wall and climbed over a fence with a clear no entry sign. I follow, of course. There is an amphitheater. The site overlooks a valley and sweeping mountains. It is great to have it to ourselves.
“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
The drive is not eventful. More podcasts, Russian and Ukraine. Yanis Varoufakis reminds us of Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been attacking Yemen for almost seven years. An estimated 250,000 Yemeni have been killed. Mostly with US weapons. Last year, the US sold Saudi $110 billion dollars worth of arms. In the next decade a further $350 billion. The US cries foul of Russia while it funds the war in the Middle East to a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world. Saudi has waged war on a neighboring country because they are the wrong type of Muslim.
Yanis Varoufakis asks the question ‘why do we care about Ukraine and not Yemen’?
“The burden therefore rests with the American legal community and with the American human-rights lobbies and non-governmental organizations. They can either persist in averting their gaze from the egregious impunity enjoyed by a notorious war criminal and lawbreaker, or they can become seized by the exalted standards to which they continually hold everyone else. The current state of suspended animation, however, cannot last. If the courts and lawyers of this country will not do their duty, we shall watch as the victims and survivors of this man pursue justice and vindication in their own dignified and painstaking way, and at their own expense, and we shall be put to shame.” ― Christopher Hitchens
Drop the Fiat off. Great ride. Head home. It feels like home, Civicio 7 here in Rome. They have left a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino and biscotti for us. Cook some pasta for a late lunch and relax for the afternoon.
I need to finish this book or stop reading it. I am enjoying it, but I find other things to do because I am not that into it. I might start something new.
I didn’t drink today. There is a tea shop around the corner, Makasar. I had tea this afternoon. I might cut back my drinking. Maybe I will only drink every second day? This sounds drastic. I once read you know you have a drinking problem if you create rules for your drinking.
“Making rules about drinking can be the sign of an alcoholic” - Martin Amis
I am reminded of a news article I saw a few weeks ago - ‘How to redefine your relationship with alcohol’. I did not read it but it occurred to me if you redefine something, you must first define it. I asked myself, how would I define my relationship with alcohol? Mutual. This is the word I would use. I enjoy alcohol and it enjoys me. Redefining is not required.