Monday, February 28, 2011

The Random Post On Italians

The guards near Pantheon

1. An expat friend from Scotland said that people living in the warm climate areas tended to be more friendly. He concluded this after seeing the happy-go-lucky attitude in most Indonesians. Perhaps, he added, it was the warm kiss of the sun that made the people happy. Hmm, while there had been no scientific research on this issue, I might as well agree with him because Rome (with its mild winter) has nice and friendly citizens.

Every time I was lost and asked for directions, they always stopped to help and ended their sentences with a smile. And if I said,"Grazie (thank you)", they would retort back with,"Brava (good)". FYI, I only know "Grazie" and "Scusa" and "Si", hahaha. A man even patted me on the shoulder after giving me the directions.

Some even knows how to joke with the tourists. One night, when we sat in a restaurant waiting for our pizzas, the waiter bringing four pizzas that were clearly ours pretended to walk past our tables. He winked and smiled when we asked whether the pizzas were ours. Hahaha, a naughty waiter.

Another funny moment was when we're going to have lunch in IFAD. When the chef knew that I was looking for vegetarian menu, he quickly said,"Oh no, you can't have those" with a naughty wink and a smile. Hahaha, you can't fool me, chef.

Also during the dinner a lady walked past our table and said,"Buona appetito." To which we replied,"Grazie."
2. After reading the #1, you can tell for sure that Italians are definitely proud with their language. But it wasn't until I turned on the TV in my hotel room did I fully comprehend this. All of the movies are dubbed in Italian! Anyway, hearing Jennifer Aniston and the cast of Friends speak in Italian was quite an experience. Oh dear, I miss subtitles. Thank God, the hotel's TV also aired CNN and BBC.

Also found during my channel surfing: Italians love soccer. There are at least six channels airing soccer matches all the time. It's like ESPN, but only soccer. I kinda like the soccer channels, though.

The Swiss guards in Vatican city

3. When I told my friends that I was going to go to Rome, one suggested that I bring extra luggage to smuggle a handsome Italian guy to Indonesia. I couldn't help laughing upon reading her text messages. I mean, all Italians I've met in Jakarta are mostly short, fat and balding. Well, they are chefs, so that explains the fat factor.

But as I sat in the waiting room of Dubai international airport and a group of gorgeous Italian males stepped in, I had the urge to pack one of them into my luggage. I think they were athletes, because they had athletic body and wore some kind of uniformed jersey outfits. So yes, there are handsome Italian guys, the problem is they live in Italy.

4. I think Italians are obsessed with leather. When I walked along the streets in Flaminio or along the gates of Vatican city, I could see leather boots, leather jackets, and leather bags being put in the shops' window or being offered by street vendors. I almost bought a pair of leather boots (only 39.90 Euros), but they were the last ones and not available in my size. Argh. I will come again for the leather boots, Rome!

5. A fellow journo said that the receptionist at the hotel where we were staying in Rome was rude and not friendly. I was surprised because the man had always been friendly with me. But then, as I checked out of the hotel, I had this conversation with the receptionist, and I could guess why he was nice to me.

Receptionist (R): Bongiorno
Me : Bongiorno, I want to check out, please.
R : (checked on the computer) Did you take anything from the mini bar?
Me : No
R : Then, everything is clear, Mother.

Mother? He is clearly older than I am. Did he think I was a Catholic nun? I smiled politely and made my way to the door, trying to hold my laughters.

Actually, he was not the only person in Rome who called me 'Mother'. There were at least four other people calling me 'Mother' or 'Sister'. They were a guy at the airline's booth, a guy at the boarding gate, a street vendor near Vatican city and a ticket officer at a station.

I feel flattered being thought as a nun, but then it means I can't flirt with Italian guys who can't differentiate a Muslim hijabi and a Catholic nun.

A painter selling his painting (I forgot the place, but it could be Piazza di Navona). I have a soft spot for men who can create wonderful things with their hands:)


  1. Now that you mention it, I remember that in general I think Germans are cold; not in the way they treat you coldly, but in the way they're just cold in general. Don't know better term, sorry :P; hope u know what I mean.

    And I think Danish are way too serious, while French seem ignorant.

    And I guess weather can indeed be among factors affecting people's personality; given that we usually feel inevitably gloomy on cloudy days.

  2. Yes, I know what you mean. I can't find the right term either, they just don't smile. Some people (I'm referring to Viennese, because Vienna the only European city I visited beside Rome) even look irritated if we ask direction. They need to take a vacation in a sunny country:)