We went to the Ara Pacis today. I love the Ara Pacis. (Zorro, if you turn on my computer, that’s my background) My Roman history is the Julio-Claudians with some Livy stuff before and some Constantine stuff after. If Robert Graves didn’t care about it, then neither do I.
I’m exaggerating, but only a little.
I wrote a paper on the artwork of the Ara Pacis (actually, in the class in which I met Stick). There’s a whole frieze around the Ara Pacis with natural motifs, animals and flowers and fruit. Through my China eyes, I see wide-breasted birds like hanging smoked ducks, marble lizards worn by time into baobao fish. On the back is a personified wind, sitting on a weird pearl-less dragon.
We had high (nerdy) romance, then we walked around town and finally went to eat in a tiny cafe. I tried to order something with cheese (because my favorite things in Rome are Stick, the Ara Pacis and food with cheese. Oh, and being on Bejing time so I can sleep late everyday!), but the waitress told me in Italian that they were all out.
“Deng yi xia,” I began, because being told in a foreign language that the menu is wrong is not new to me. “I mean….” Why didn’t this happen when I was in Yantai, trying to keep my head above Mandarin waters? The time for my Chinese to become automatic is NOT in Rome.