Thursday, May 15, 2008
A Shell, A Bird and A Black Man
Well I'm back from the great land of Italy. I'm not sure how to sum up the trip in one entry on this blog...sooooo...be prepared for constant installments of our exciting adventure.
To begin with, we were gone for ten days, saw six towns (well, really seven because we got kicked off a train in Bologna) ate a couple of liters of gelato, took over 300 pictures and shot three hours of footage. It was in a word - amazing.
Probably one of the coolest things we did was our tour of the Vatican. We had scored a private tour with a man named Feliche Noveli, who has the prestigious position of holding the Pope's chair. For those of you (yes, I'm acting like I have numerous readers) who are Catholic that might mean something. To Dan and I - well, I'm not sure if we gave him the proper respect. I think we both said something like, "Oh, really? That's great." I don't know if that was like spitting in his face, but what can you expect from two Mo Mos.
Our tour with Feliche started outside the Vatican. Immediately, after shaking his hand he started to tell us the significance of the obelisk we were standing next to. I felt like I was back in Mongolia listening to some old woman tell me about her sheep. I could barely understand a word he was saying. As he turned around, I shot Dan a look and mouthed, "I can't understand a freakin' word." From that point on, poor Feliche must have thought Dan and I were a little "slow" because after every explanation Dan would repeat what he had just said so I could understand. It was truly like a bad game of "Telephone" or "Whisper Down the Lane." (whichever you prefer)
Anyway, as Dan was translating for me, one of the funniest things took place. While we were standing in the Pope's private gardens, Dan asked Feliche what was the current Pope's emblem. (It was a valid question because throughout the tour Feliche kept pointing out the different emblems of past Popes). To answer Dan's question, Feliche stopped and said, "The current Pope's emblem is a: shell, bird and a...black man." Immediately, I looked at Dan to translate what I thought I had just heard. Dan looked back at me, and repeated to Feliche, "So the current Pope's emblem is a shell, bird and a 'Black Man?'" Feliche, without any hesitation, said, "Yes, a shell, a bird and a black man." Holy crappers - I completely lost it. I had to turn around and shield my face because I thought I was going to erupt. I kept picturing a bronze emblem of a shell, a bird and some guy with an afro, holding a boombox on some beautiful statue. (sorry that's the image I saw...I know not very PC).
Anyway, after I recovered from that comment we toured the private gardens, walked in through the back door to St. Peter's Basilica, watched Feliche elbow every tourist imaginable and ruin just about every Asian's picture, walked into the Sistine Chapel without paying and took a picture of Michelangelo's masterpiece while Feliche stood in front of the guards. It was the total VIP tour.