Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

July 13, 2014

Thoughts from abroad

Corsicana — So, with the generosity of Mastercard and warm encouragement of my friends who went with me, I went to Italy on vacation. Not Italy, Texas, the one in Europe.

As people do, I couldn’t help compare my home to the places I visited.

First, you should know that we’re great drivers. I still want to slap my forehead when someone won’t use a turn signal, or weaves in and out of traffic, or turns left right in front of my bumper, but compared to Italian drivers we’re awesome.

A few years ago, Gloria Garcia invited us to her home in Mexico, so my sister and I rented a car and drove from Cancun to Merida, a long trip through the jungle, literally. People complain about the drivers in Mexico, but even they don’t hold a candle to the Italians for sheer disregard for life, limb and common sense on the road. Stop signs? A mere suggestion. Lanes? What are those? The bus full of German tourists bearing down on you? Not to worry, they’ll disappear before we get there.

I’m so happy to see good old lazy, but well-meaning Navarro County drivers again. You’re all swell in my book, at least for the foreseeable future.

Venice is like New Orleans with a much longer, bloodier history. OK, they’ve got 1,500 years of history on N’awlins, but it’s a touristy, party town on water, with aging infrastructure, beautiful architecture and friendly natives. I really liked it. You want art? Go to Florence. You want fun? Go to Venice.

Seeing Michelangelo’s stuff was the height of my trip. I’m a Rodin fan, always have been, but you see Michelangelo’s paintings and his sculpture and it makes Rodin’s look like a first-grader was given some clay and told to go wild. It was breathtaking, and humbling. I could have spent a day just looking at David. I think I took about 200 photos from every possible angle.

I can’t say enough about Rome. It’s a big, smelly city, like any other big city, but you have to add in the 3,000 years worth of history, and that makes your head swim if you think about it for longer than a minute. The sheer age of everything is mind boggling. Although, at one point I was standing in the coliseum, a building about 2,000 years old. It’s kind of broken down and the scavengers were picking it over a full millennium before my country had been put on a map, but it’s still standing. It could still host an event seating about 80,000 people.

And because I’m from Corsicana, I couldn’t help but ask myself how long it was before Tiger Stadium developed problems?

Sure, the Romans stole ideas and art from the Greeks, resources and people from, well, everywhere, but you have to give them credit for one thing at least: They knew how to build stuff to last.

            —————

Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com.

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