Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Colosseum

Yesterday, I stepped into a place where men and women tested their skills in fights to the death, a place that once represented human blood but now stands as a sort of holy place where Good Friday services are held once a year as a Catholic remembrance. The Colosseum is an incredible structure not necessarily because of it's size or it's worn architecture, but because of the stories that have unfolded within its walls. Did you know that after the gladiator fights, the blood on the floor of the Colosseum would be mopped up and sold as medicine to treat epilepsy?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Photographic Project 1

The past three days, I've been shooting photos outside of Rome's historic area for my first photo assignment. I've been to what you might call the Chinatown of Rome to get away from a typical tourist image and capture a life apart from the Colosseum and capital. I'll be editing and printing photos in the lab today and will post some photos from my series shortly. I've shot over 600 images and plan to make contact sheets for at least 90 today.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rome: Getting Aquatinted

Today, my roommate Ali and I managed to visit all seven hills of the city. In short, we walked our feet off covering as many possible corners of Rome as we could. We breezed through most all of the tourist sites and tried our best to get aquatinted with the city we will be living in until July. Below are a few photos I snapped along our journey —

Like many tourists, we stopped and looked ...
... and, then ran like crazy across the street to avoid speeding mopeds.
We visited many sites, like the capital, which are constantly undergoing restoration.

Ah, the Colosseum, is an absolutely phenomenal site and it's only a few minutes away from our apartment. It's also home to many fake Roman soldiers and Indian merchants selling postcards.
We pass the Colosseum a lot on our way to and from sites and destinations.

This is my roommate and travel partner in crime, Ali Dean.

Nuns passing a liquor store. Had to take it.

This police officer, like many officials, is dressed to impressed while directing traffic.
Historical monuments are EVERYWHERE.
Amazing four-cheese pizza for lunch. Check out that thin, crispy crust. Yummm.
Home sweet home.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Italian beaches

A beach is a beach pretty much any where in the world you go. There is sand. There is water. And, if the sand and water are clean, and bottles of cold water are served, people in search of relaxation and sun will come. European beaches are also very similar to each other because they often showcase fashionable male speedos, female thongs and occasionally bare-breasted ladies. What makes an Italian beach special? Well, the obvious answer is the language. But, an Italian beach to me is more than that — it's a place to enjoy the paradise of a beach with amazingly fresh, flavorful fruit drinks. Among the Indian hawkers that pace the beach begging tan bodies to buy an item or more, there are a handful of hawkers that dominate the sand — those who sell coconut. They will serve you a piece of fresh coconut to enjoy. But, don't stop there, go buy a fruta drink of pear or pineapple. It's usually fresh squeezed juice that moves slowly from your lips to your tongue in the sweetest flavor.

Welcome to my home

I have spent all of two days living in Rome and while my Italian is still a little rusty, I’d like to think I’m trying the best I can to stay out and about, immersed in the culture. In the meantime, I wanted to introduce you to my apartment by way of a few poorly lit images —

I thought about color-correcting the orange out of these photos, but this is really the feel of our apartment. We have bad light and, yes, there are huge cracks on our smudged-up wall. But, we do have a lot of floor space and the students before us left us tons of useful presents — like Rome guides, spices and cookbooks.

This is my desk and our room fan, which surprisingly we haven't had to use. We don't have air conditioning and our apartment hasn't been humid or hot despite the 90+ degree weather we've been having the past two days. You can't see my full window in this photo very well, but it's probably my favorite part of our room (two beds to a room in a four-person apartment). There is a restaurant smack next to our apartment complex and every night, I hear loud Italian voices, motorbikes, unfamiliar cracks and whistles, and if I'm lucky the accordion player (he's my favorite) will show off his skills for some fortunate diners — and surrounding listeners.

This is our sitting area/dining room and the room deep in the photo is our kitchen.

There are unnecessary doors everywhere.

In our kitchen, we have a washing machine, microwave, gas oven, refrigerator, sink, and tons of storage.

Meet our gas pipe. This is probably the scariest part of our kitchen. We have to turn this knob to flow gas to our stove. Then, we push a button to ignite the flame... sometimes the flame doesn't ignite in our oven which requires long matches, but that's a whole other scary story. We have to remember to turn this knob off or our entire apartment could become extremely flammable.

It might not be five-star accommodations, but it's got Italian charm.