Monday, August 27, 2007 - 12:00 AM
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The heat of the day — and night
By Terry Tazioli
Seattle Times Travel editor
(Seattle Times Travel editor Terry Tazioli is on his annual quest for good food, good wine, good friends and a new Italian verb form or two.)
Rome has been scorching — 102 degrees on the weekend.
I'm no fool. Part of the weekend I spent lying on the tile floor of the apartment, two fans aimed directly at my body. You think I'd go out in that heat?
OK, so I did.
Blast furnace. I walked past a few restaurants whose waiters were sitting, spread-legged and exhausted, among empty chairs under superheated umbrellas. There was nobody around.
Even the pigeons, which are everywhere, seemed to ignore bits of food tossed their way.
The one thing I treasured was walking by the open entryways of shops that had their air-conditioning on hyper drive. A blast of cool, 20 feet of swelter, a blast of cool, 20 feet of swelter. Maybe it was some massive, coordinated attempt to cool the heart of Rome. Maybe it was a gigantic slap in the face of global warming. I didn't care. You care on my behalf when it's this hot.
The most alluring thing I saw was a restaurant sign that advertised pasta and beer, 9 euro! OK, it was just the beer that was alluring.
I thought about sitting at a bar down along the banks of the Tiber River. But, um, the river has a bit of an odor when it gets to be this warm. No thanks.
I wandered past a couple tourist hot spots (oh, so aptly described).
There weren't the usual hordes around the Coliseum or the Piazza Navona.
Ever seen the tourist trudge? Take the family on vacation, make them see everything they can possibly can cram into one day, add 102 degrees and hot, hot, hot buses and you get the tourist trudge.
I ended up pretty far from home so I hopped on a city bus. I hopped off on the next stop. I thought I'd been jammed into a locker room after aerobics class. Sardines have it better. At least they're dead.
In the evening, I went out late to meet a friend. I sat on an old stone barrier to wait. After a while, I was wondering why I was becoming hotter and hotter. The sun had been gone for nearly two hours.
My pants were hot!
Guess what, the stones were hot!
Guess what? I'm stupid.
I'm going out again tonight. Some dinner somewhere very, very late. Where there will be no stones and hopefully no sweaty people.
And maybe — pasta and beer for 9 euro.
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