Nom de Plumage

July 17, 2012

Prostitutes, Porn and Pompeii


Who amongst you: when you think of Pompeii, think volcano, ash and rubble? Well, I also thought the same thing, until I visited the World Heritage Site and realised that there is a lot  more to Pompeii. So come with me and share a journey of shocks, gasps and a whole-lot-of laughing. Our day started early at 5 am in anticipation of our long train journey to Naples. Tired and relaxed; the journey was two hours long through some very poor country. Here, the difference between the south and the north is very evident and although somewhat a surprise, the scenery was nonetheless beautiful. The station of Naples is large and there is already an instant sense of being wary of the people. Gayle and I head straight to a tourist bureau for information on how to get to Pompeii. The attendant was very helpful and gave us a complete train and entrance ticket deal. So with our passes in hand, we walk to the metro station for a 30 minute journey on a very old dirty train. Here, you need to keep your wits about you and your hands tightly grasping all your valuables as one gentlemen found out the hard way. If not for the quick response of a fellow commuter, a pick-pocket was thwarted in his hopeless attempt to lighten the man’s pocket. Travelling through poor suburbs and seeing first hand the decaying buildings, it is sad and a shock to me. The site of Pompeii has its own station. A two minute walk leads you the the gated entrance to the vast ancient site of death and destruction. A day of adventure was marred by heavy rain; so heavy in fact, that landslides were reported and even two tourists lost their lives nearby. Not to be deterred, we covered ourselves in those tacky white plastic poncho’s and an umbrella forever poised, we were prepared. Or so we thought? The master of destruction; Mount Vesuvius, was visibly shy and covered by thick grey clouds. Admittedly, I was disappointed not to see the volcano in full, yet she stood there foreboding and impressive even when dormant. When you first enter the site, you walk through a somewhat narrow pathway. A slight ascent along an uneven stone pathway, the scenery opens up and the remains of red bricks, mortar and solidified ash is just the precursor to the event. There is a huge locked up storage room, dedicated to recovered pieces of earthenware and bodies. And so it begins………….            Pompeii, is just that; ruins. To walk along the uneven stone roads, was painful upon the soles of our feet. Some buildings were almost completely vanished and others still had parts of their roofs still standing. What can I really write about the despair and utter destruction that even to this day, is crumbling under the vast mass of tourists, the weather and the lack of preservation by the Naples Government. Red is the predominant colour of the bricks and dirty white, that of the ash and mortar. But through all this, hints of the beauty, wealth and advanced way of life, is evident when you discover little pockets of delights. Mosaics that cover both walls and floors, that would have decorated the interior of the houses. Baths and fountains are still spotted, giving hints of the cleanliness and outstanding hygiene practices of the populace. Pompeii, was ahead of her time and it was a city on the move until that fateful day. We continued walking along the vast site, discovering many wonderful secrets and even getting lost in the labyrinth of paths. It was on this occasion of being lost, that Gayle found a guide nearby standing alone and she went over to him for directions. Two Australian women travelling alone brought out the niceties or cheekiness in this Italian, for he offered to show us some other ‘locked away’ delights of the city of debauchery. We did not how to take this offer and to be honest, we were very wary of his kindness. We played cautiously and looking back at it now, I laugh, but one can never be too sure when it comes to strangers offering sights of ‘dirty’ frescoes? Warning! Some of this pictures may offend? Really sorry……..NOT!              These frescoes, have been locked away from view to preserve. But Gayle and I had the privilege to view and photograph them. Although damaged, the colours and quality is stunning for something that endured the worst of mother nature and ravages of time. We were also taken along the street renown for the brothels and went inside the best preserved building in the whole of Pompeii – A BROTHEL! God works in mysterious ways!                

Our guide was very polite and although his English was not great, we understood him. He was only happy to show us these rare pieces for s mall fee – of course! But well worth the ten euros. And so we laughed and delighted in the erotic frescoes and thanked the guide greatly for allowing us the privilege. Another wonderful place that we discovered, was a restaurant well preserved and showing again the advancement of the city. What would have been marble slab benches; several large holes are carved out. Within these holes; the cooked food would have been placed, with fires burning underneath to keep the food hot. Would the people of Pompeii invented the ‘buffet’?

         

We walked and walked, with bouts of heavy rain at times dampening our mood, but never for a moment did we think of leaving. Pompeii is huge and I took many photos, more than I can ever show here. Our day spent in the South was long and full of stories, much too much for me to write down in one blog. So, I shall continue my story as Part Two and leave you with some of my best photos of Pompeii………          

         

 

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