Hey Friends,

Just sending a line out to send out a little love and news; what better place, I ask rhetorically, to get a little love from than the city that gave us the word Romance. So know that though we may be far, none are far from my thoughts.

Be that as it may, here’s the news.

Last weekend I went to the Hard Rock Cafe. It was as you may expect, a little underwhelming, culturally vacant. I was happy to do it for a workmates birthday (he’s American, what better gift to receive than a hamburger?), and nonetheless it was a good time. For those of us who feel ourselves smugly superior from general tourists, such as myself, it was an admission of my own fallibility. I may in principle reject cultural imperialism, and may be in Rome to assimilate and learn of the culture history and language, but in practice, I was pretty excited to hit the Hard Rock. Yes the food was mediocre and the atmosphere cheesy, but it did have that little something that has made it a successful institution. Maybe rock n’ roll, maybe waiters speaking English, maybe just a change-up from constant Italian-ness. Whatever it is it was a good time and I was glad that it was Bill’s idea, so I could still retain a shred of smug superiority the whole time.

All of the Three Millennia crew was there. All my fellow illegal tour guides from my “cultural association.” I like them. I like the job too. I’ve started doing another tour-Rome at Sunset. I get paid a regular fee for this one. It’s a walking tour through central Rome (at sunset), the area known as Campus Martius that includes Piazza Navona, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Venezia, and The Capitoline Hill. It’s great to be learning all this history, which I don’t think i’d have the attention span for if it weren’t all around me. However I am still new to the city, if I take one wrong turn during my Sunset tour, i’d be totally lost. I’m a great tour guide…only if we stay between the lines.

I’ve been enjoying time with some political activists as well. A group called U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice organized a film series. I was really into it, because they were all films I had wanted to see, or did as soon as I read about them. Most of them focussed on the American medias’ treatment of/culpability in the war in Iraq. The people are interesting too. From all over the world, though mostly UK, US, and Italy. They’re on hiatus for the summer so my Thursday nights are now free. So rather than give a Sunset tour on Giovedi I’m going to meet some Scandanavians and play a little floorball. Floorballs kinda like hockey, maybe more like floor hockey. I’m not really sure. But rest assured I’ll go bash it out as best I can. I’m woefully underprepared (eg. no floorball stick, never seen it played, no idea of the rules) but I have a secret weapon: after weeks of giving walking tours I am in some great shape. I should be able to walk circles around these guys.

In other news the heat is terrible, I’m reading lots, both fiction and info on the Vatican museum and the Forum (my next tours to learn). In addition my Italian is limping along slowly, but i’ve only been here 7 weeks so it’s too early to call it a lost cause. I’d like to have at least 1 foreign language which I can properly converse in. No more half-steppin’.

I hope this finds you well. Be safe, reach out and touch each other.

Love Ryan.