Rome: A City with Some Pretty Cool History
May 21st to 24th
On our last day in Rome, we decided to venture out of the city to visit a place called Ostia Antica. Ostia Antica is sort of like Pompeii. It was a working-class Roman city of 60,000 people that had been abandoned at one point, and was eventually covered in silt from the Tiber River. It was discovered again in the 1930's and has been under excavation ever since. Originally, Meghan and I were going to go to Pompeii, but when we found out about Ostia Antica we decided to go there instead. This saved us the journey south and a lot of money, and it wasn't as popular as Pompeii so there weren't as many tourists. So in the morning, Meghan, Lauren, Ryan and I took the Rome metro out to Ostia. Definitely glad we went there. It was so cool to be walking through the old ruins, being able to see their old sculptures and mosaic tile floors, their theatre, the town bar and everything else. It also seemed like there were still the original street signs on the buildings, which was pretty interesting. At first, we thought that they were just recreated and attached to the ruins, but later in the day, Meghan and I ended up in an area we probably were not supposed to be in and there were all the signs on those buildings too, only they were not all polished and cleaned like the ones on the main paths, which made us think that maybe they are original street signs that have just been refinished. In certain places where they hadn't completely cleaned off the buildings, you could still see all the silt and tree roots that had covered the city for centuries. So we got to explore the ancient city of Ostia Antica!
Part way through our time in Ostia, Lauren and Ryan left Meghan and I because they had to catch a train to the other side of Italy. We decided to all go to Corfu, Greece together and to take a ferry over from Bari in Italy. Ryan and Lauren decided to take an afternoon train and spend the night in Bari, but Meghan and I decided to take a night train so we would my have to pay for a hostel that night, and then we would all catch a ferry the next day. So once Ryan and Lauren left, Meghan and I kept exploring Ostia Antica and headed back to Rome later that afternoon. Once the two of us got back to Rome, we didn't have too much to do. We had already seen the sites we wanted to, and no longer had a hotel to stay at, so we decided to wander and look for a hair salon. Our hair was getting so tangled all the time that we figured might be best to chop some of it off. We set off in search of a place to get our hair cut and finally came across a little place in a mall. We stopped in to ask how much it was to have our hair cut, and since it was a reasonable price we both decided to go for it. Funniest hair cut of my life. Not because the hair cut turned out funny, but because of the experience. Turns out really only the receptionist spoke English, and not the hair stylists, which made for quite the interesting time. Once Meghan and I said that we would both get our hair cut right away, the receptionist brought over books and magazines with different hairstyles so that we could find a picture of what we wanted. We had planned on just having a trim initially, but it seemed that was not going to happen. While we were looking at these books, the receptionist walked out for a minute, and when she returned a couple other women appeared a minute later. One took Meghan over to the sink to wash her hair, and then the other took me to the other sink. Still normal so far. So the women wash our hair and then Meghan's hair stylist takes her over to the chair and Meghan tries to communicate that she wants it to be long enough to still go in a ponytail since we are traveling. The hair stylist does not really understand and so the receptionist, who only speaks a bit of English, tries to explain this to the stylist. Finally the hair stylist nods, and basically starts cutting Meghan's hair, pausing to ask how long to make her bangs, without really using words, and then just cutting. Meanwhile, the woman who I thought was going to cut my hair finished washing it, brought one of the books over and pointed to it to ask which hair cut I wanted. I flipped through the book, not really sure. The woman also flipped through another book and found a hair cut that was really cute, but also quite short compared to what I wanted considering I am backpacking and don't want to do my hair every day. So I said it was too short and she tried to convince me, with her few words of English, that it would be good with my face shape. After I once again said no and kept looking at the book, she walked away and disappeared. A few minutes later, she reappeared to grab a pack of cigarettes, then went outside for a smoke break. Meghan and I, who have no clue what is going on with this woman, just sort of look at each other quizzically. Then a bit later the woman comes back in, and just sits down and chats with the other ladies. Still totally clued out as to why this woman is not cutting my hair yet. I was worried I made her angry when I said no to the hair style she chose. Back to Meghan... So this is going on as Meghan is still having her hair cut. Every so often, the hair stylist (who was a cougar by the looks of her with her leopard print bra hanging out of her low-cut shirt and midriff showing with her chains of necklaces hanging) would look at the other ladies, say something, and then the receptionist and the lady who had shampooed my hair would get up, look at Meghan too, give some input, and then the lady would resume cutting her hair. All the while, we have no clue as to what is being said, so Meghan and I just kept exchanging funny looks. Eventually, Meghan's hair was finished, and despite the language barrier, the woman had done a pretty job good of getting what Meghan wanted done. And it looked great! The cougar lady had done one good hair cut! Then she looked at me and indicated for me to sit in the chair. It finally made sense! The other lady wasn't ignoring me - she just was not the hair stylist! So now it was my time to try explain what I wanted. I had found one picture that I liked the length of so I showed the woman, the other two crowded around to see, and she began cutting. After a few minutes, she paused and said something to the other ladies, held up my bangs, they looked quizzically, and I said "Just make me look good!" and back she went to cutting. Every so often, just like for Meghan, all three would crowd around to look and say something, or the other two would look quizzically at what the woman was doing (which is not too reassuring when the woman has control of your hair and the others look worried), or sometimes they would all laugh. Meghan and I still had no clue what was happening. A while later, it was done! And it looked good. Again, way to go cougar lady! And that was the funniest haircut experience of my life. Gotta love the language barriers!
Our last evening consisted of drinking a bottle of wine and having dinner while sitting on the Spanish Steps. The perfect relaxing end to a great time in Rome!