Sunday, January 19, 2014

Humans of Rome?

Here is a vignette from my recent visit to Rome.  Apparently swallows are a nuisance.  As a tourist I found them delightful as one evening at sunset, departing from St. Peter's to make my way back home, I stopped to gape and wonder at a massive swallow murmuration.  It was beautiful and a thrilling sight to behold. 

The story:

On my first evening, before dinner - perhaps 530 PM or so - I grabbed my camera and just went for a walk in the dark in the general direction of the Tiber. I knew that I wouldn't go too far as the Tiber would stop me.

My wander ended at Ponte Umberto I and as I neared it, I heard the most bizarre noises. It was dark and hard to see details.

I saw two guys on opposite sides of the street walking very slowly and as they reached a certain point they would pivot and walk in the other direction for a while, then pivot and walk back again. Almost as if they were making a sweep. They were both dressed in white gear from head to toe and were carrying what looked like very large bullhorns.

They were making the most god-awful noise. It sounded like a pig being slaughtered, or something. Very unsettling!

I thought it was either performance art or a political statement about the treatment of animals/meat eaters. It really did sound like an animal being killed.

I was busy taking night street-photos when one came near me, still walking slowly and he didn't break his pace. I hailed him, and asked him what he was doing.

As it turned out, they are swallow control guys! The noise apparently is a distress signal only *very* loud. These guys walk up and down various streets for an hour making these noises! The swallows take the hint that they are not wanted and go elsewhere (maybe to do a murmuration over Vatican City).

I guess Romans don't like caca on their cars!

Here is his photo:


BaileyZimmerman said...

He does look like he belongs at the Venezia Biennale....

Elizabeth said...

Haha! You're right!

MJ said...

>> I guess Romans don't like caca on their cars! <<

My one and only trip to Italy was over 20 years ago and one of my memories was the amount of bird crap everywhere.

Perhaps even the Romans finally got sick of it.


Elizabeth said...

I didn't see a lot of bird crap this time, at all. So they must be doing a good job!

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