Piazza Della Rotanda

January 18, 2010
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Although we were tired, curiosity tempted us to explore. Grandma, Poppy, Henry and I wandered to the Piazza della Rotonda, home of the Pantheon. As Henry bought a souvenir from a stand near the Pantheon’s entrance I noticed a man sitting on a skateboard apart from every one else. I then realized that the man wasn’t sitting on the skateboard. It was impossible for him to be sitting because the man only had stubs for legs. Not only were the man's legs deformed, but as I walked closer I noticed that his arms were warped and sickly skinny. He had three fingers on his left hand and two on his right. The man had a glassy eye that seemed to be looking at something no one else could see. He was dirty with worn cloths and a cup wedged between his two fingers. A kazoo sat awkwardly in his mouth.

I approached the man. He was young, probably about thirty years old. He smelled musty and his knuckles looked tender. As I walked toward him he looked at me. When I was just inches from him I dropped a few euros in his cup. He nodded and gave me half a brown scraggly-toothed smile. After I rejoined my family I kept my eyes on the man. I saw him spit the kazoo into his cup, put the cup into his mouth, and use his knuckles to push himself forward. Soon the wheels of the skateboard took over and the man was rolling away.

As we traveled throughout Italy I saw more people like the man on the skateboard. I remembered my first impression of Italy. I viewed it as a place of sheer perfection. Throughout my trip I realized that Italy’s poverty is masked by its magnificence. It was stupid of me to think that Italy was some kind of perfect a magic land, but how was I supposed to know? In guidebooks, I only got to see the touristy flawless aspects of Italy. Now I can see the whole picture because I experienced Italy first hand. I now know more about Italy’s flaws, but I also know about beauty that can’t be captured in a book.
It is important to me that I see the world and experience it for myself. I am curious about other countries, but learning about them through books just isn’t good enough. My goal is to have traveled to every continent before I die. If I don’t then I will die with an empty hole, knowing that there was more out there that I never got to see.





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