Buon sabato! A couple of photos to give you an idea of where I'm coming from, and the colorful characters you'll find here in my neighborhood, Trastevere.
This here is Giancarlo, waiter extrordinaire at the restaurant next to my front door. He speaks a little of just about every language imaginable, and has been a waiter the world over, from Los Angeles to Belgium. Sometimes he takes to wearing a name tag that says "Chef" (don't ask).
Did you think I was kidding when I said "restaurant next to my front door"? I was not. We don't ever really eat at this restaurant, even though it was once owned by Alessandro's grandfather (and still bears his name, Vincenzo). It's not that the food isn't edible, but it is a bit of a tourist trap. Let me tell you though, when that rare McDonald's craving hits (yes, I am guilty, please don't hate me), I take great pains to hide the massive shopping bag they give you when reentering my apartment. I always wonder if the diners think I'm crazy: you live in Rome, yet you go to McDonald's? Only once in a blue moon, promise.
Now, if you were to turn around, you would see this, the "Antica Frutteria." It is run by Piero (man in the green shirt helping the ladies pick their fruit and veggies), his son Andrea, and their little dog Nano (unfortunately not pictured here!). We sometimes call it the fruit boutique because it is a bit pricey, but Piero is an interesting character and a valuable source of neighborhood info. He is the eyes and ears of my street and pretty much knows everything about everyone. They are from Sardegna and just opened back up recently after the summer holidays, but this photo was taken before summer.
Last but not least. Now, of course you are wondering, what in the world does shortbread and whiskey have anything to with Rome? Well, it doesn't, really. Except that every once in a while I get really lucky and my guests spoil me by bringing me a little present. Such luck occurred last night when some lovely guests from Perthshire in Scotland brought me these goodies. (I'm half tempted to visit after seeing where they come from!) No, this is not simply shameless showing off. I am going to use this gift to demonstrate something useful about Rome, just watch!
So, let's say you get to Rome and can't stand the food (highly unlikely, but we are theorizing here). Where do you go to get something from home (ie, shortbread should you be Scottish? See the connection?) Why, Castroni of course! World food market haven for expats.