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18 JAN - Naples, Italy

Date received: Thu Jan 18 2001, 04:03 AM PST

I'm still here in Naples, staying with my friends Marc and Rose. Over the past week, I've taken in a lot of sites around Naples: a couple of days walking around Spaccanapoli (the historical center,) a trip to Pompeii, a visit to the anthropology museum, and tours of a couple of the castles.

Pompeii is truly amazing, since it is an entire city which has been preserved, not just a forum or an amphitheatre. It really gives you a sense of what life was like. Strangely, it doesn't seem that different from modern life in some third world countries, like Morocco.

Being here really makes you appreciate history; the Roman ruins seem recent when compared to the Etruscan and Greek times. The Renaissance seems like it happened yesterday, in the grand scheme of things.

I learned an interesting thing at the anthropology museum yesterday; apparently the Romans had all sorts of phallic and sexual artwork about, but it usually is censored out of public displays. In the museum, they have a special "Secret Room" where they hide all the erotica.

Naples itself is a busy town, one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. It also has a high unemployment rate, and as a result, a very high crime rate, but I haven't had any incidents yet. I think the city has a bit of an inferiority complex, since it really isn't part of the tourist circuit; most people just go to Rome, Venice, Milan, etc.

I'm also using the time to catch up on some computer work. I'm busy revamping the photo gallery, and working on catching up on my email backlog. I'm also doing some miscellaneous chores here, to help cover my room and board.

I'll be busy hacking on the computer for the next day or two, and then I'll spend the weekend out playing with my friends. I will probably head off then, making my way to Greece.


Copyright 2000 Peter Birch All Rights Reserved.