About a man I call my dearest (Part four)

I woke up finding that my brother had tried to call me, yesterday night. It could be something important. I wondered what could be the matter and I let him know about it. We went to the internet cafe which was nearby. I considered myself to be a pretty good typist but I find myself struggling to type in the keyboard. Here’s why:

Where the heck is the @ sign? And how on earth do I type in the apostrophe? How very confusing. It took me extra time trying to type an email to Geri, Juli and Hema.

Dear friends,

Just wanted to drop you an email to say that I’ve arrived safe and sound in Rome and am having a lovely time here. Have a happy national day celebration and talk to you soon 🙂


I also web-sms’ed my brother to ask him if everything was ok over there. He didnt reply, so I supposed that he was at work or probably taking a nap. A little bit worried. I just hoped that everything was going fine back home. We took a walk around the area. Beautiful flowers blooming in the month of August.

We saw different shops. Most of them were closed though, due to the fact that August was the month when most Italians would take a vacation because it was the hottest season of the year for them. (Funny, it wasn’t that hot when I was there, it was comfortable for me, even. Not too hot and not too cool)

I noticed that many people here loved their dogs. And that there are many of them around.

Allos! We’re just chillin here while we’re waiting for our master

An adorable Beagle

Not a very common sight in Singapore unless you visit the people living in bungalows and terrace houses, mainly the bigger area. Very rare to see them in HDB houses.

But there are quite a number of dogs here. It was kind of nice to see.

He took me to have lunch at a place called Pastarito where we could choose the toppings that goes into our pizza. He exlained to me the different ingredients and not long after, the lady who took our order arrived.

che cosa desiderate?
Umm … *points to the menu repeatedly* I’d like this, this and this
Huh? Whats so funny?
Not a really good combination. We dont usually have our pizza’s like that
So .. What would you choose?

The pizza was ready and I loved the taste. It was a lovely tomato paste based pizza with, tomatoes, special type of mushroom and asparagus (I shouldn’t have added the asparagus in though) with buffalo cheese. Mmmmm! I guess I liked it so much that I even managed to complete the pizza even though it was huge enough for two people to eat.

We then went to a place that he liked and often went to, Villa Pamphili, a park that was open to everyone. One of the places where one could run away from the graffiti filled city.

I liked it here, though there were plenty of people here, but its peaceful here. I liked seeing dads playing with their children and mum’s swinging their kids and people just sitting and relaxing. I could hear the crickets singing.

He told me that he used to study here, underneath the trees. We walked to the waterfalls and recognized some of the places that he took pictures of using his mobile phone which he sent me some months ago. But seeing pictures doesnt do it much justice. It couldn’t let you know how cool the rushing water was as droplets fall to your face or the gentle sound of running water or the smell.

The smell … He had a wonderful scent about him, so comforting …

We sat down in front of a fountain and I leaned towards him. Watching the different people go by. I watched two little girls going to the fountain and their mother walking towards them. The little girls chatted excitedly

Those girls are asking their mother if they could dip their feet in the fountain. Their mother says no.


They speak in such musical way. Naa-Naaa-nana-Naanaa (follows the intonation)


You know, I could spend all day like this, with you
Me too. I like this.


And for a long while, we sat and leaned and enjoyed the late afternoon sun, in each other’s company. Just watching the people go by. Not doing anything at all.

We then proceeded to walk around some more and I managed to see a grand house in the middle of the park. He told me that it used to house a famous person and is now hosted by the prime minister to people all around. I looked at the lovely maze like garden and the ducks and swans in the pond. We walked down the steps and chuckled at a strange jogger who was oof-oof-ooffing as he ran up the steps.

I find myself starting to cough constantly. It could be the air there. I wasnt used to the environment yet. My throat started to itch and become sore.

In the evening, he tells me that we’d be meeting Alt, a friend of his since childhood. I met them, a tall, brown golden haired man with striking blue eyes, his partner, full of brown curls and their two children. I watched in entertainment as how the little one ran about hyperactively.

We went to an ice cream shop and made our order to the man behind the display full of beautiful and colourful ice cream. Pick three flavours he said to me. Umm … I guess I’d pick the lemon, the banana and the hazelnut ice cream and he arched his eyebrows

Whats the matter?
An odd choice
We dont usually have cream ice cream and fruit ice cream mixed together.

The man at the counter handed me the ice cream (which looked something like the one below, but much much bigger portion of ice cream)

I licked my ice cream gingerly.

You’re not supposed to eat that way. Look. And I observed how Alt and his partner ate their ice cream. They twirled their cones round and round and licked the ice cream that way. I did the same. And soon I realised to what he meant by my ice cream being an odd choice.

Tasting lemon and banana and hazelnut does NOT go well together. It would taste good individually but when you lick the sourness of lemon and then the creaminess of banana and hazelnut, it tasted quite odd, almost unpleasant. I’ve duly learnt my lesson.

Never mix cream and fruit ice cream together

We all walked to a carousel that was nearby and had a chat together, Him, Alt, His partner and their children. I wished I could speak the language. I find myself only giving polite smiles and a nod, not understanding a word that they said.

Next morning, we went to the office for him to sign some documents. He was buying a new house and after the meeting with the agent drove me to the place to see what it looked liked. He tells me that the location was different from central Rome and I could see why. The design of the houses looked different, more modern. And there were lesser graffiti there. The air there smelled much fresher too. I like it here, I told him. This is a nice place. Far from the center, he replied. But this is near the workplace, and I can see myself living here.

He then took me to see the exterior of his workplace and I tried to picture it in my head, of him getting to work to this building. It was wonderful for him to show me what his daily life was like. I appreciated that very much.

We had lunch with Alt that day. We first parked outside his workplace waiting for him to come out. I looked at the exterior of the building with a giant horse. This is a building for the natinal television. It looked pretty interesting. I pointed out at the girls who was taking pictures outside of the building. Do you think they could be fans waiting for some big stars to come out? Maybe. But they could be tourists too.

At length, Alt appeared. He looked pretty casual in polo tee shirt.

Where were you? We’ve been waiting for you!
You’re supposed to call me!
We already confirmed that we’ll be meeting at this time!
I thought you should call me first just in case.

I chuckled when he translated the conversation to me. My dearest and Alt talked quickly in their language. I managed to pick up a few words.

sinistra. Destra (Left. Right)

And we reached a place called Gastone. It was a lovely restaurant. It looked nice and cosy and classy. And they served buffet! Hurray! No more too big portions! I can take as much (or as little) food as I wanted and not make the excess food cry! I wanted to try everything.

Becareful, he warned. Some of the food here might contain pork. Let me ask the waiter. (walks towards the waiter and comes back a few minutes later) We cant eat this, this and this. Hmm .. a pity. Alt walks towards me and asked me to try the salmon. Salmon! I love fish. But … (I turned to look at him) Na, I wont eat fish since he’s vegetarian and wont touch meat. Oh forget about him! Just eat what you like. 😛

And then he told Alt about my eating habits. I told them, I found that breakfast of bread and drink was odd to me. What do you eat for breakfast then? Oh we have rice and fish (nasi lemak) and maybe tea or a chocolate drink (milo) and both their eyebrows went up so high, it hurts for me to try to emulate it.

After lunch, we had went to a coffeehouse where him and Alt had an expresso each. I dont dare, I told them, I might get a migraine. And he gave me another of those eyebrow arches. He must have think of me as very strange.

I liked the smell of the coffeehouse though. Something about the richness of coffee that was really pleasant to inhale. He ordered peach tea for me. I could see Alt shaking his head.

We stopped a while at a newspaper shop and I saw Alt buying a toy. For my son, he said. When we go to the swimming pool. I looked at all the magazines in Italian languages. Even the National Geographic was in Italian. Nothing there was in English. Then I saw him buying a toy too. He’s strange, Alt said. He’s always been strange. And I chuckled.

Alt pointed up at the tree and peered around repeatedly. Look! There’s a birds nest there. Oh yeah, he said. I tried to located it but couldnt see anything. I found it refreshing to see that there *are* some people who took the time to notice something. Back home, people wouldnt notice these kind of seemingly trivial matters.

We drove Alt back to his office building and we shook hands and he wished me a safe flight home. What a nice friend you have, dearest. We’ve been friends since we were little boys. We are like brothers.

In the later part of the afternoon, he took me to see the Castel Sant Angelo. It was a stronghold that was connected from the Vatican. Its fuction was to become a ford to protect against the enemies.

See this road here? What do you see there? Thats the San Pietro. Look at the other side, thats the Castel Sant Angelo

We walked on the black cobbled path with many many tourists. There were many stands along the way. He commented to me, I’m not sure even if tourists would buy those souvenirs. They look a little tacky. Look. *points to a street perfomer that was keeping still) They must be crazy to be doing this in such a warm weather. I wouldnt do that myself, dearest.

We reached the Castel. Crowded place.

We admired the wonderful architecture as well as the statues. I tried to take some pictures of the insides but then I heard.

No no no. No pictures (and she pointed to a sign)
Oh well.

I saw a simple bedroom, and then looked up at the ceiling. It was decorated with paintings. What a nice sight to see before you close your eyes to sleep. I told him.

Beautiful scene overlooking the Castel. Gran Belvedere

We climbed inside the steps and walked around the area to see the beautiful sights in front of us.

I enjoyed the walk with my dearest. It was a very relaxing day for us. I enjoyed it very much. Later in the evening, he had to go for his weekly appointment again. I’ll be back soon. *smooches* The same tram again and the same stop. You’ll be alright.

I got ready to go to dinner again and waited at the tram stop. I didnt see anyone around me but I felt confident enough to enter the tram by myself. The Largo Argentina Tram stopped and I tried to enter. I pressed the open button. It didnt open. I pressed it again. It still didnt open. Open! Open! Why arent you opening? And I heard the beeping sound, singnaling that the tram was about the move. Arrgh! Openlah! You stupid @$()&%(U!

A man inside must have taken pity of me and pressed the button to allow me to get in. Flushed, I mumbled a thank you to the kind man. Grazie. Grazie.

We went to have dinner at a Sicilian restaurant. A friendly waitress came over to take our order. He quickly commented to me that she wasn’t a native Italian as she walked away. Its her accent. I think she must be from Eastern Europe.

Yum! I saw Caprese in the menu. I want that. Ever since I saw the picture of the Caprese in DJ’s Blog, I’ve always wanted to try. He tried to order for me, in english! It was really humorously entertaining to see two natives trying to talk to each other in English.

Aye wann two orrderr, mai friend and aye. Arr yew from Eetalie?
Aye yam urr not from Eetalie. I am steel a stuedent and I work here att nite.

Full marks on effort alone!

Try my Caprese, dearest. Its really good! He tried it. I guess he liked it enough to order another one. And he ordered Sicilian cheesecake while I had Creme Caramel. I didn’t expect the syrup to have a slightly bitter taste. It was still good never the less. And his cheesecake arrived. And I peered and stared at the cheesecake. It was a tiny slice.

Is that it? After the days of huge portions for pasta and pizza and everything else.
Well, Sicily makes the best food. So for this price, it’ll have to be small.
How ‘interesting’

We heard a guy singing on the piano and cringed. Somehere in my head, I was wondering where all the karaoke bars were in Rome.

After the dinner, we decided that the night was still young and decided to return to the Piazza Navona. Close to midnight and there were still people there. I admired a caricature done by a man. I loved caricatures! I’d had wanted to do one with him, but it wasn’t exactly the style that I’d liked. And we walked to the Fontana Di Trevi again. This time, I didn’t forget my coin purse.

So what do I do? Turn around? Make a wish? Throw it after or before I make my wish?
Anything you want.

As I threw my coin behind me into the fountain, I wondered when the next time I’ll be here with him again.

(To be continued)

10 Replies to “About a man I call my dearest (Part four)”

  1. That ice-cream reminds me of pistachio ice-cream I had in Casablanca! It was heavenly…u don’t get that kinda ice-cream back home…at least I haven’t found one like it.

  2. Your post has made me unbelievably homesick for Italy…lol. How I loved living there! What a beautiful country! So glad to read that you are having a great time!

  3. finally i am able to see pics from which i only tried to imagine from reading the book of Dan Brown.

    thank you for that.

    By the way, exchange links? hehehe…thanks.

  4. Red : Oh yeah! Pistachio ice cream, yum yum … I love them 🙂 How about bravissimo? They taste just as good I think

    DJ : Aww .. I can imagine that, what a wonderful place, but you spending 5 years there, is nothing compared to me spending only a week there. One gets attached, yes?

    Dops : Dan Brown? Books? Reading? Me? *shocked*

    Nong : Where do you want to go? Australia? Jom gi Perth tengok kangaroo

    Crunchy green apple : Thanks! I did enjoy myself, you could go there if you want. You’d love it 🙂 And I love your blog too! *bookmarks*

    Chuang Shyue Cho : So am I … So am I … 🙂 Which part of Rome did you visit?

  5. At that point in time, I was taking a break from work. I was overloaded with work and was stressed. So, I stayed in the centre of Rome and didn’t venture anywhere or do the tours. I had a couple of books. I wandered around the ancient streets, feeling the weight of centuries and milliennia of history. I can’t remember the street name anymore but I was not far from the Trevi fountain. Oh, if you have not seen Fellini’s film, you must. That famous Trevi fountain scene.

    I have a sketch of the Termini station somewhere. Will scan and put it up soon. It’s a pity I didn’t do many sketches.

  6. Chuang shyue chou : Oh wow, I’ve seen your blog and the type of sketches that you do is impressive! Very lovely. I like them very much. Speaking of the tours and tourists, it reminds me of what he noticed. He could tell if a person was local or a tourist just by their footwear. Italians doesnt wear white socks or socks with sandals it seems. I normally just notice the maps or books in their hands. Nothing wrong with getting lost sometimes and stumble into somewhere nice. Havent seen Fellini’s film either … Maybe I could find them when I can 🙂 And I cant wait to see the sketch of the termini station 🙂

Comments are closed.