Thursday, June 05, 2003

Under blue moon I saw you
So soon you'll take me
Up in your arms, too late to beg you
Or cancel it, though I know it must be
The killing time
Unwillingly mine

Up against your will
Through the thick and thin
He will wait until
You give yourself to him

In starlit nights I saw you
So cruelly you kissed me
Your lips a magic world
Your sky all hung with jewels
The killing moon
Will come too soon

How not to do things, Part I

Tuesday night was, according to Dean Jean, "The most formal night we'll have here." Accordingly, we were expected to wear suit and tie as we were to visit the Attorney General's office. But because Ryan Air had such strict weight requirements, John and I had both scotched the idea of bringing a suit (and more than five shirts each). Therefore, we didn't have the 'formal attire' expected. Fortunately, DJ allowed us dispensation, and told us a shirt and tie would be sufficient. Good thing, too. Imagine our surprise when we found that we would all be taking public transportation to (and from) the AG's office. Imagine as well the surprise of the ten or so Italians on the bus when 75 American law students piled in, filling the bus to capacity in only its third or fourth stop. It was a sweltering day, and jamming all of us on the bus only made it worse. By the time the bus pulled into Piazza Cavour, not a one of us was dry. My shirt was soaked through with sweat, and most of the women's hair had flopped.

We then walked across the Tiber and through a winding maze of streets until we reached the AG's building. Once inside, we were ushered into a large, white room, with a resplendant fresco on one end, and the undeniably pungent odor of fresh paint throughout. There were at least twenty, if not more, tables arranged in rows of two facing the fresco, and seating three people each in plush red-velvet-and-wood chairs. Beneath the fresco was an extended bench, with nine high-backed chairs, and a microphone in front of each chair. The ceiling of the room was a good twenty feet above, and pitched. The walls were white, save for the wall of the fresco, and the side walls had speakers placed about six feet high at regular intervals. The floor was white tile, the only interruption being some kind of design in the very center of the floor, the purpose or meaning of which was never explained. The tables, chairs, and floor, we soon found out, were all covered in paint dust.

Presently, the members of the AG's office who were going to speak to us came out and seated themselves to our right, while the instructors for our classes, and DJ, were seated to our left. DJ started the presentation off with a little speech welcoming us, and pointing out that there was a bit of an echo. And that's the last thing anyone in the room understood for the next hour. Supposedly, the members of the AG's office spoke on Criminal Law in Italy, Civil Law, Administrative Law, and the makeup of the legal professions, but the acoustics were so bad, the echo so horrendous and the accents so thick, no one could understand a word of what was being said.

We had been told originally that this would be followed by a reception, and then we'd be able to watch the sun set over Rome from the roof of the building. But, like something out of a bad comedy, things kept turning out differently. The reception was cancelled; the horrible 'world economy' was to blame for the tight budgets. (Somehow, we all figured that the AG would actually like to blame the crappy economy in Italy on us, but decided against doing that.) The rooftop excursion was worse. The first elevator only fit eight people at a time, so, concluding that it would be a while before 75 of us all got up there, they decided some of us should take a different elevator - which fit four people. To make matters worse, all of the people who knew the way to the roof went up on the first elevator, and none of them waited for us once there. So, of course, we wandered through offices before someone figured out that we might have gotten lost, and found us. It didn't matter. It was raining.

For their efforts in attempting to educate and inform us, DJ gave each of the AG's staff a gift. A nice CD holder, courtesy of Loyola Law School. Holds 12 CDs. Even has our name embossed on it. DJ made a big deal about how nice a gift it was, while at least two members of the staff stared blankly at it, wondering (we guessed) what the hell it was. They flipped through it, looked at each other, shrugged, smiled and waved a thanks to DJ. And secretly thought we were incredibly cheap. Not one of the students wasn't embarrassed by the cheap gift. One commented, "for all the money we're paying this school, couldn't they have given them a Mont Blanc pen?"

Afterward, a group of us made our way to Piazza Novrona, where we had easily the worst meal of the trip. Not only was the food bad, but the service was terrible, and poor Lisa didn't get her food until we were all nearly done with our meals. Fortunately Liz, who speaks excellent Italian and has been nominated our official guide, was there, and was able to at least get Lisa a meal. Of course we first had to go through lots of gyration and argument, but we did get it - eventually.

.....and the home.....of the.....pope.....

Yesterday morning was the 'papal audience.' I skipped it, having went two years ago, when I was here with the MBA school. So for me, yesterday was a day to sleep in ('til 10), go for a run, do some reading, and generally relax. I was one of a handful of students in all the schools that are here (Loyola-Chicago, Xavier, and Loyola-Marymount) who didn't go.

Another reason I didn't go was because it's not what you think it is. You don't go into a room, meet the pope, shake his hand, and tell him what a great job he's doing unless you're named Clinton, Blair or Bush. This papal audience occurs in St. Peter's square, where you're one of thousands. The pope arrives in the Popemobile, leaning heavily on the roll bar which encircles it, waving weakly to the crowd. He's driven up the stairs leading to the basilica, where a canopied seat awaits him. Two assistants help him to his seat, where he flops down and is handed a long list. First he does a general blessing on the crowd, and any items (crosses, rosaries, etc) that they've brought with them. Then he welcomes groups in their native language (at least the ones he knows) - French, German, Polish, English, and so on - with each group cheering loudly as they're mentioned. After reading the list of groups for that language, he says a blessing for those groups and their families. Then he moves on to the next language. All in all, pretty anticlimatic, except for the thrill of seeing the pope, even if it is at a great distance.

Since the audience was in the morning, classes were held in the afternoon, with a 'picnic/barbeque' afterward. Of course, as has been typical so far, things went wrong - they ran out of food before they ran out of people.

This morning, we were told that there would be another 'picnic' after our Supreme Court (Court of Cassation) visit next week. And they promised to have more food. I hope so.

I need to go pack. I leave for Sorrento in two hours. And I do have a picture of me with the goatee. I just need to get Tim to post it.

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