Last Saturday afternoon I decided to run to a nearby shop to gather some household items we were lacking. Midway through the bus ride, I realized there was a different mood in the air. Everyone traveling on the bus that day was frantically talking with one another and seemed to be on edge. Conversing rapidly in Italian, I was only able to detect words here and there and began to realize that I didn’t recognize the route the bus was taking. The group increasingly grew more and more antsy until the bus came to a final halt, ending up far away from our intended destination, and everyone, some as equally confused as me, got off.
It wasn’t until I stepped off the bus that I realized exactly what all the worried side glances and frantic chattering was all about. I walked towards a crowd, police marching ahead of me towards the scene. Groups gathered waving flags and drinking wine, people shouted over microphones, crowds cheered and blew whistles. I had found myself in the midst of what seemed to be a protest. As a street vendor approached me in attempts to sell his product of the day, I spotted the metro. Swiftly dodging the crowd while devising my next plan of action, I escaped underground. I would hop onto the metro and get off at the next stop, Termini, where the store lay only a few blocks away.
Walking up the stairs from the metro, the familiar sounds of commotion getting louder, I realized I was yet again smack in the middle of this rally. Termini is Rome's "Grand Central Station" and much to my surprise must have been the gathering point for all these activists.
I was minutes from the store, yet tens of thousands of drunk protestors stood in my way. I decided to try and weave through the crowd. As I maneuvered through the army of shouting Italians and amid all this disarray, I found myself caught in an unexpected downpour. Rummaging through my purse for my absent umbrella, the protestors began chanting and singing. I knew then my mission had been halted. Defeated, angry, and dropping way too many f-bombs under my breath, I surrendered and made my way back. Three hours later safe, dry, and back in my apartment, I quickly decided our apartment could go another day without those items we were so desperate for before.
Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t have a camera, iPod, or any device to take footage so I resorted to stealing a picture of the rally off the internet.