Sciopero!! Actually, the locals will deny that “strikes” happen. They prefer to call them “meetings”. We had marched en masse to the front gates of the site this morning, ready to meet John Dobbins for his “Forum Tour”, when one of the local tour guides came up and informed us that there was “sciopero”, a strike, and no one was getting in until at least 10:30. We basically thanked him for the information and walked around to the side entrance that the custodi and superintendents use and went right in. So much for “sciopero”. Pompeii is a whole new experience when you literally have the place to yourself. Aside from a couple guys dumping trash cans and spraying weeds, it was just us. We had the entire Forum to ourselves. Much preferred to the hordes of tourists with umbrellas and inappropriate footwear! Speaking of inappropriate footwear; a few minutes into his discussion of the Roman Forum, a rather “interesting looking” woman came up to Dr. Dobbins, interrupted him, and introduced herself as a writer with a new book on temples and that she’d been waiting to see him for over an hour at the campground. He’s really good with quacks – he agreed to meet her after our tour. She was carrying her shoes – a pair of those really tacky, high-heeled cork soled espadrilles! I hate espadrilles!! Anyway, we saw her later, after lunch, trying to walk out of the site with them on. An Italian tour guide seemed to find it quite amusing. “She is crazy to wear those in here!”
After the tour/lecture, we headed up to Region 5 Insulae 2 and began actual work. Things went very smoothly and we’re way ahead of where we were this time last year. Of course, then we didn’t know about the special side entrance, and there were 3 scioperi the first week. A couple food shops, a couple houses and we wrapped up the day as the thunder started to close in. Perfect timing, and now I have time to take a quick walk down the hill for some gelato before dinner! Perhaps the limone tonight…..