This April, spring had finally sprung and is filling the trees with that sweet jasmine and wisteria, giving Rome it's unparalleled sweet scent. Rome was bustling with the preparations of Liberation Day (april 25th), the huge May 1st concerts held at San Giovanni, combined with the beatification of the Saint who lived amongst us, Pope John Paul II. Not to be outdone, unions across the country continued their organization of major events -- rolling strikes affecting trains, buses and pretty much every other mode of modern convenience. If the Pope could perform miracles, couldn't he vanquish the devil of modern protest? Heck - he could just copy the Wisconsin Governor's approach.
Leaving for the USA this week, I was pleasantly surprised to find Rome Airport's Terminal 5 an absolute pleasure to behold. I breezed in, was courteously helped out by all the wonderful women with - gasp! - could it be? green Alitalia coats on assisting with humour and grace, the thousands gathering for their N.American flights.
I waltzed through security, striking up pleasant conversations with other passengers, including with the Italians amongst us, incredibly not trying to push ahead and cut in front of the crowd. Miracles in our midst.
Even the airport internet connection was terrific, though it took awhile to determine how to reconnect after logging out of Telecom Italia's airport.
The flight was flawless and my only glitch was not seeing my friend patiently waiting in the salon at arrivals - used to drive-by pickups, I was out on the curb - she was inside, reminding me of all those charming Italian families usually gathered to meet and greet their loved ones back home.
Back in Italy, Rome announced a few measures to protect its citizenry: scooters could use the preferential lanes to try and speed things up and keep them from getting knocked down; drivers killing their targets -errr- pedestrians would be severely prosecuted for voluntary manslaughter and get hit with more jail time-seeing that it's reached war zone proportions (begging the question, we can spend billions for planes to protect Libyans, but we can't stop the war being waged against our own citizens?); the police are cracking down on under-age drinking in bars in the city centers and the late-night openings of locales.
Not to be outdone, the local residents are doing what they can - and waging their own spring street protests.