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  • Angela Louie and Allan de la Plante

Do the Hustle in Rome

Rome was an interesting city. I was surprised when we arrived that we did not see many Italians. We saw many North Africans (Somalian, Syrian, etc.), Asians and Indians.

In fact, immigrant Italians ran all the shops beside our hostel (yes you read right: hostel). The elevator fit me and Allan and our luggage…just. As you can imagine, most of the other visitors were my children’s age. But the best part of the hostel was being able to do a load of laundry. Yay! Clean clothes!

I was nervous about Rome from the outset. We had been warned about the thievery. Our hostel clerk warned us about the danger late at night and the security cameras added to this impression.

We decided to go on a walk before it got dark and saw ancient ruins in all parts of the city. But when we saw the Coliseum, we were blown away. We’d seen pictures of the Coliseum on postcards but they didn’t hold a candle to the impressive, enormous structure it was in real life. We were standing in the same place where humans were bred and killed for sport centuries earlier. We were also impressed how carefully the Romans were now trying to preserve the ancient artifacts of its ancestry.

Rome was one of the more expensive parts of our trip. First, Allan lost 80 euros to a pickpocket on the train. “I just had somebody in my pocket.” He turned and saw a young boy fleeing and a woman (presumably his mother) running off the train with him. We were warned that pickpockets were skilled and now we knew firsthand. All along the way we were hustled by people wanting to sell us scarves, iphone selfie poles, wooden carvings and other trinkets. We did get hustled to go to a restaurant where we paid far too much for what we got. But the next hustle was worth it...

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