After lunch today I went to see Michelangelo’s David. I have seen him before but he was having some work done then and I wanted to see how it worked out for him.
I had to set my bearings at Piazza Santissima Annunziata and that is where I met Niranjan. He was lost, too, also looking for David. So once we figured out where the entrance to the Galleria dell’Accademia was he said, “So, let’s go see this thing”. I thought that was funny, he called me “sporting” so off we went.
The line for the biglietteria (ticket office) was ridiculously long so there I was stuck with this guy for who knew how long. Anyway, we started chatting and he was really quite entertaining. He was about my age, originally from Kota, Rajasthan, India and was in Florence for a week on business. He writes software for the healthcare industry and has been living in Salt Lake City for the last 5 years. Today was his last day in Florence and his only chance to see David.
I asked him what religion he was, Hindu. A Hindu in Salt Lake City, odd mix! When he found out I was Catholic he had all sorts of questions about why all the art was full of pain and sorrow, why Rome was the center of Catholicism, the whole bit. In return, I got the lowdown on the 33 million Gods they have in the Hindu religion and what temples are all about, etc. It was interesting conversation, we got along great.
Long story short, we stuck together through the museum, then he bought me gelato and we agreed to meet for dinner. My friends Lacey and Kim, in particular, are probably starting to read this with interest.
My friend Deirdre had recommended Buca Lapi to me so that is where we went. I wasn’t aware that the place was a bit on the pricey side and kind of a steak house. I was about to have dinner with a Hindu in a house of meat!
On the walk over to the restaurant he made a few remarks about my personality so I asked him to sum me up in a few words, here they are:
- Balanced – aware of the consequences and live with it
- Logical – in my answers to his questions I provided supporting data or analogies to help him relate
- Comfortable with myself
- Passionate about my interests
So what went wrong? You knew that was coming! First of all, he was married. I knew that up front, but the friendship was spoiled when he got a bit too touchy-feely. Nothing bad, just not right for a married guy, especially considering the Indian culture. I may be “free” but I’m not easy!
So, we went to ‘la casa di carne’ (the house of meat) and he had vegetables and I had a huge slab of Bistecca alla Fiorentina. I think that put everything in its place, but to make sure, I insisted we split the bill.
ADDENDUM! After my friend Lacey read this post she pointed out that I almost had Eat, Love, Pray covered in one blog post, and on my first full day in Italy no less! I dislike that book so much (mi dispiace!) that I didn’t even recognize the similarities, the major difference being that India actually came to me (minus the yoga)! So maybe the ‘love’ part didn’t play out like the book/movie, but that was my choice. There was even a religious element to the day!
Just goes to show that the story of that book is not exceptional, it can be yours in an afternoon, and recounted in just 528 words!