Wednesday, August 16, 2006

When in Rome, do as the Romans do (and not what the terrorists want)

Never one to miss out on the thick of the action, last week I coincided flying out on my one holiday of the year with the day terrorist cells attempted to blow up 10 transatlantic flights. Somewhat remarkably, in my opinion, none of the planes went down, as the entire plan was foiled before it could at all get underway. Somehow, the press and public seem to have mistaken the operation preventing the biggest united terrorist action in history for a deliberate attempt to ruin holidays and bring airports into disorder. Usually the first to lay into the Labour running of the country, even I can recognise how 10 plane loads of living people and chaos at airports is better than 10 plane loads of people in pieces and hysteria at airports.

But I suppose, I was one of the luckier ones. (Not as lucky as those who would have been on the targetted planes, but close). My flight to Rome being at 6:40am, and with the news only flitering through at the time I and my friend Jon were checking in (4:45am), we were one of the very few planes, as it turned out, that were even allowed to consider leaving. Gatwick, as I later heard, grounded most flights for the rest of the day, while Easyjet valiantly tried (and I hope succeeded) in getting all the flights they had scheduled to leave before 8:15am away. Eventually, 4 and a half hours later, EZY5253 was up up and away, with its passengers carrying nothing but wallets and keys.

Again, my annoyance at losing most of my Thursday in Rome should be considered in the context of actually getting out of the country on the right day at least. Rome, in any case, was fantastic. The whole reason I went out was to meet three friends who are travelling Europe, as a surprise: unfortunately the plane situation meant having to give it away in order to meet them. Still. The city was constantly buzzing, a lively air about the place, yet most of the Italians were completely relaxed about life. I managed to see most of the sights: the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, Vatican City - St Pietro. While we were there, the Pope (the actual POPE) gave his Sunday speech thing, just around the corner from the live feed I watched in St Peter's Square. He spoke 7 languages as well. Impressive, Pope.

Much beer was had, though only at regular intervals and only once mass consumed for getting very, very drunk. Ice cream, pizza and pasta was basically our diet, with a bit of apple tobacco for good measure. Numerous in-jokes and you-had-to-be-there stories arose from the 4 days I was out there, which I won't bore you with. It also took a lot more out of my bank account than I'd hoped to, but you can't put a price on good times. Except when you have an overdraft and no regular income, like me, in which case you need a Good Times Budget and quite possibly a Good Times Accountant.

It was nice to get out of the country for a while, desperately needed as well. I've not enjoyed living at home as much as I used to, I really want to get back to my Bournemouth way of life. Also, the summer's been shit in general due to the work experience, it has actually, in this many words, ruined my summer. The only brighter points have been the World Cup, the Rome holiday, cricket on hot July sundays, and next week, when sixteenpointeight go into the studio to record our fantabulous EP! Watch this space for more narcissistic plugging.

My lovely band