Today was a short day of explorations, unfortunately. So I don't have that many pictures, and I want to tell you why.
I have a special talent. A secret superpower, if you will. I'd probably be quite a useless superhero with this ability of mine, but it is what it is.
Although, no, not really. It's two things. You can look at it as two sides of a single coin and how I interpret it on any given day depends on how it affects me then.
Option one: If it's a bad day and I'm in pain, like this morning or on my way home, then my special talent is to get blisters and hurting feet from no matter what kind of shoe I'm wearing, or not. One time, when I was working for a company that "rented out" service personnel to caterers, part of the contract was that we had to get a specific kind of shoe for work so that our feet would be supported and protected even though we were literally on our feet for up to fifteen hours (no kidding, that was my longest shift). Want to guess who was the one person in our team who got blisters before the first night ended?
Option two: If it's a good day, like from today when I took off my shoes until when I couldn't suppress the whimpering anymore and really wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it back to the hotel, then my secret power is to keep on walking almost no matter what. That's what I used to do when I worked in different jobs where I had to stand and/or walk for hours without hardly any breaks. And that's what I did today, because I wanted to see stuff.
As you can see, both options can occur in a single day. Thought I was moody? Meet my feet...
Here's what happened today. For some reason, the soles of my feet have started hurting even though I'm wearing flip flops, which usually feel like colourful cotton candy clouds. I decided to be prudent and get other slippers. A different kind, that would give my feet more support and not have the same structure, which had been part of the problem. A surprisingly smart decision, because I'm not exactly a fan of buying shoes... So, I got the new slippers, took the other ones back to my room (I'm incredibly glad I didn't throw them out immediately) and set back out.
After only a few blocks I started noticing that the new shoes were cutting into some of my toes and rubbing raw the others. What the eff?, I thought. Bad side of the coin right there. I mean, look at this madness!
I didn't want to miss out on the museum I'd just stumbled upon, so I simply took of the shoes when I went in. Afterwards, I figured I might as well keep going barefoot, because I'm already out and I can't put on any shoes anyway until I buy more bandages. This is the good side of the coin.
Then came the big surprise: this coin has three sides.
Not wearing any shoes at all, well that also no longer works.
I used to do that more back in the day; now, not so much. Mainly because in Trinidad there's too much stuff that could hurt you on the streets - no sidewalks, you see. In what I'm going to call a regular city, it's actually pretty easy to be barefoot, at least when the weather is dry. Glass you might step into warns you by sparkling at you as you approach; hot ground can usually be avoided by walking on light-coloured stones or tiles, or finding the shady side of the road; poop and other natural evils can also be seen well enough to sidestep them easily.
That's why I can't explain what the hurl happened today: two gigantic blisters on the soles of my feet. When I say gigantic, I mean they're the size of two 2-Euro coins each (to stay with that image of coins, you know). They're the reason I did have to come back to my room after a few hours, even though I still had a ton of places I wanted to visit...
The truth is, I got a lot of stares again - what a surprise - and some more or less furtive glances, even some passing whispers. Of course, that means I was mentally preparing answers for when somebody finally stopped me to ask whether or why I was barefoot in the streets of downtown Rome. The answers I'd prepared ranged from a dry and expressionless "Why do you ask?" over "Oh my gosh, yes, you're right! I knew I forgot something this morning! Thank you so much!!!" all the way to one scenario I would have been especially happy to perform:
"No, I am test-walking a new prototype of invisible shoes that's currently being developed. Thank you so much for your interaction, I must immediately log this for our researchers!" *takes out cell phone and opens recording app* "September seventh, 2014, Rome, Italy. Man/Woman/Couple stopped me in the street to inquire about the prototype." *wink conspiratorially at the person/people and sprint off*
I'm very sad and more than just a little disappointed to announce at this point that nobody actually said anything.
Now, all my wounds are clean and bandaged, but because of the blisters I still can't really go anywhere. Walking with those is like walking on razorblades. Sharp ones. Not fun.
I'm glad I got to visit the museum and the riverside and Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona before I had to hobble home. Especially because so many people had recommended Piazza Navona to me, and the Fontana Quattro Fiumi by Bernini. Thanks Avidesh, Scott and Iris! You were all completely right!!
Please, wish me luck for the rest of my time here...
I need a miracle!