Rome is like a beautiful lady who has seen it all and has aged gracefully. Dotted with timeless wonders it is one of the most desirable destinations across the world. We have all read about it in books and magazines, seen it in movies and ads. But there are a few things the books and movies don’t tell. My recent visit to Rome showed me a less known facet of the legendary metropolis.
It all started when a client came demanded a premier location to host an event for their top end dealers. Rome topped the list. So my team and I packed our bags and headed towards the city where all the roads once lead.
And Rome didn’t disappoint me. It was love at first sight. The streets, people, buildings, everything seemed perfect. While we were hunting for the right location for the event, we met some local people, very friendly & supportive, but none of them could speak or understand English. Later I learnt that only ten years ago did the schools started teaching English.
Days passed, the preparation for the event was at full swing. Apart from a few usual communication problems, everything went smoothly. And suddenly it happened. One of our team members lost her handbag. It had all her money, some documents, and most importantly her Passport. The situation was critical. She couldn’t leave Italy without a passport, and it could easily be misused if it had fallen in wrong hands. We had no clue where to go or whom to approach. Amidst the confusion, I heard a faint voice at some distance. I went closer. It was English. I rushed to the gentleman and spoke to him. To my relief, he was the GM of the hotel. I told him about the theft in a burst. He asked me to calm down and gather my team. Together we drove towards the Police Station. On our way, the man told us that we needed to report the Police before we could go to the Indian High Commission, Rome, to apply for a new passport. We had to apply before noon or we wouldn’t get it on the same day. We couldn’t afford to miss the deadline because our tickets were already booked.
Soon, we reached the Police Station. We had to wait for our turn. It took two hours. Inside we met an officer, the man explained him the situation. It took him thirty minutes. The clock was ticking. We were losing time. Now all that the officer had to do was to generate a report on his computer and give us the print. We thought it would soon be over now. But it’s never so easy, is it? The officer was taking his time, slowly pressing the keys on the keyboard with his puzzled face fixed towards the screen. After an hour he came to us and said that he doesn’t know how to operate a computer. We were shocked. An Italian Police officer who doesn’t have basic computer skills, strange? He said he would call a colleague to help him type it. More waiting is what we got. Finally, after waiting for 3 hours we got the report. It was not in English.
We rushed to the Indian High Commission, Rome. We showed them the report. They asked her to apply for a temporary passport online, and get 8 passport size photographs. Now, we had a fresh problem. None of us had an Internet connection. So, we went to the streets looking for a cyber café. No luck. We were left with only one option, to borrow it. We knew it was a huge task, owing to the language barrier. This time we were in luck. We entered a random café and approached the young lady sitting behind the cash register. We quickly told her about our crisis. She sympathized and offered her personal Internet connection to us. We applied for the temporary passport, thanked the lady, and went on in search of a photo studio. We soon found one and got the photo clicked. Rest of the process was swift. We made it on time, and now we had to bid adieu to the dazzling city, Rome.