Luqman's Day 5 - All good things must come to an end
Today is our last day in Rome, and it is fitting that we end this journey by returning to the Coliseum and Palantino grounds that we first saw yesterday. Palantino is the site of many ancient Roman ruins, so we are ending our trip by viewing the remains of a once powerful empire. We walked around the grounds for hours seeing mounds of worn bricks where great buildings once stood and the insides of tunnels that must have provided direction to countless Imperial concubines. We saw buildings missing their columns and buildings missing their columns. We saw arches that stood the test of time (not talking about McDonalds this time, but if you are hungry I bet you thought I was). However, it was most beautiful to see these ghosts of Rome's past with a backdrop of modern Rome. There were trees, gardens, and orchards everywhere, showing that life must go on, even when man's vanity reaches its limitations. Inside the huge and extremely impressive Coliseum, we could see where brave gladiators prepared to do battle for the pleasure of bloodthirsty lunatics. I guess it was like a big outdoor UFC fight. The place looks like it wouldn't take too much refurbishing to get that spot back up and popping (throw in some bleachers and A/C, a little velvet here and there and we are done). We could call it….(wait for it…)…UFC Gladiator Challenge! (That phrase is copyrighted and trademarked under the expressed written consent of Rick Bobby and Ricky Bobby inc). But I digress. Anyway, the sites were a wonderful reminder that everything runs it course, thus everything great must have a conclusion. It sure is nice to have stuff like the Coliseum stay around to remind folks that you gave them hell while you were here (speaking of the Coliseum, did you know that there is an elevator in there, and it works! Those Romans had some serious engineers). Of course, I would be remiss to mention the decline of empires without mention of Egypt, who has a few monuments to brag on themselves. How fitting is it that when we fly out, we stop in Athens, Greece on the way to Egypt. It is like we are traveling backward in time to where greatness began. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. In this case, the Greeks and Romans were very fond of their African big brothers. As earlier mentioned, the sheer number and placement of obelisks (tekhen) in Rome and sphinxes (with Roman faces of course) show that the influence is obvious for anyone who knows their history.
Whatever the case may be, it is obvious that the Romans had a good run. We can look at the ruins, chipped statues, and broken columns in Palantino and imagine what this all would have looked like 1500 to 2000 years ago. The Roman legacy has given us the opportunity to remember their influence, even over this great time span. This is crazy because I don't' even remember what I wore yesterday or ate twenty minutes ago (I know this makes me clinically retarded, but I suspect it was no secret anyway). Nonetheless, I challenge people to work to create a legacy and leave people and places better than you find them. I am encouraging you all to build coliseums of love and pyramids of happiness for you and your loved ones. In case you are wondering, I am purposely trying to sound as lame as possible because I usually say real cool stuff and I wanted to turn over a new leaf. Also, I know you are asking, "How can we do this?" The answer is obvious………………I don't know (literally shrugging my shoulders as I type this). However, if you are friends with Hannah, just take her to the local gelateria (Italian ice cream shop). Before we went to the airport, she directed us to a gelateria that had over 100 flavors. When we walked in, this girl lit up like she won the golden ticket on Charlie and the Chocolate factory. I honestly think that the trip has reached a climax for her and everything will be downhill from here (matter of fact, she is probably writing a four part blog about the place right now). If this does not work, another suggestion is to try your best to enjoy the time you have around your loved ones. And if no one loves you, then treat yourself (go to Waffle House since it is less lonely sitting at the bar then a booth or get an ice cream cone or something). Whatever works for you, do this while you can, cause as Rome, Greece, Egypt, and the impending conclusion of The Wire on HBO has taught us, all great things must come to an end…………..
This blog is over now. Peace.