Friday, April 07, 2006

Roman Swedish Days - Part III

There is always a moment where you are in charge, or take upon yourself, of hosting duties that the people you are hosting stop being an undefined blob labelled like "the people I'm hosting" and turn into different, distinct, persons you can even remember the name of. It's when you start to know who you are facing and being able to predict their reactions about this or that thing you might do or organize so that you are no longer worried about a possible catastrophes coming out of one bad choice of yours.

That happened yesterday, when I also started to really appreciate them and realize the strikingly differences between them. Unfortunately, yesterday was also the last time I would had seen half of the swedish delegation here, as three out of seven of them are taking off to get back home just about now. So while "Italian" Tarsa, "Russian" Lena and "Cool" Erik (ok, I am still unsure about the spelling of the names) are going, "Beautiful" Kathrine, "Leader" Kristina, "Sporty" Julia and "Tall" Michael are staying.

Anyway, yesterday we were reminded how badly one can be treated in a roman restaurant if you do not know the other (which, on the other side, explains why most of the romans always go to the same three or four places if they want to dine out). After a pleasant and easygoing happy hour at Campo dei Fiori, we headed to this Pizzeria called "Montecarlo", which has quite a given name in Rome for being a "cool" place (even if I seriously don't know why, considering the only good thing they have is the position). In the order, we had a table so squeezed in a corner that even they had to admit it was unfeasible and ended up splitting the long table in two. Paper tablecloth and "place it yourself" glasses cutlery, a few and greasy fried stuff, an ignominious bruschetta (and, let me tell you, it really takes something to make a BAD bruschetta, considering it's just bread, olive oil, tomato and salt) and a barely edible pizza. Dulcis in fundo, and possibly worse than it all, a quite rude "now that you have got the last bite get out of here fast" attitude. All this paying 15 € each, not exactly a symbolic sum.

Now, considering that last time I had been at the same place, years ago, the night had ended with me calling names the waiters and owner for the exact same reasons, I wasn't surprised. The poor girl who had organized it, tho, Francesca (whom I had warned about the place, but honestly without being able to provide an alternative) instead started a short-lived argument with the owner.

The swedish, tho, didn't seem too disconcerted (or maybe they were just being polite, seeing our distress, and decided not to add to it) and their evening continued into this kind of a disco, while I parted and headed home. I haven't heard yet what happened afterwards, but I hope things were good enough to recover for the first half of the night. I doubt it tho, considering the guys who were hanging out in front of the disco with the classic "vulture circling over prospective preys" look.

Speaking of which, poor Kristina, who turned out to be definitely the most interesting of the swedish group (and with whom I had a quite frustrating discussion about multiculturalism, but anyway) has been facing exactly what gives all of us italians a bad name: a guy who falls in every single stereotype about girls and who has a single objective about them. Problem is, he's her host. When she reported the moments of discomfort (and with a smile, at that, where many others would had been much less a sport about it) to the point that she asked another of the swedish girls to move in with her not to stay alone, we couldn't but feel quite ashamed. Unfortunately, even if understandably, I noticed how at some point her focus had turned from "my host" to "italian guys". One more to add to the wonderful fame we have in the world...

On a totally unrelated matter (or maybe not, given that also this subject came up yesterday night at some point while the "italian boys" were being cut to pieces), CNN today published an article that is astonishingly precise on the situation young people have to get by in Italy. It's *here*.

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