After settling into my new apartment and becoming instant friends with my new housemates, we decided to hit the town. One of my roommates met a couple of girls at the grocery store down the street from our place so we invited them over before going out. They showed up in the lobby of our apartment a few too many drinks deep and two hours late. The duo disjointedly explained there was a cab coming to take us to “…a club called something like Hari-Kari”. We tried to get some more information, but between squeals and laughter, the pair were continuously on their phone coordinating meeting up with dozens of people from their program at this supposed club.
Once the cab arrived, we realized it could only fit 4 and we had a group of 7. After an attempt at convincing the driver for an extremely tight squeeze with a huge language barrier, we realized this was not going to work out. Besides, 3 of us were not convinced that getting into a mysterious cab with a man speaking a language we couldn’t understand taking us to a club with a name suggesting it could lead us to ceremonial disembowelment was the best idea. As the meter continued to run, sucking down euro by euro, and as the Italian drivers’ temper started to boil we finally figured out the address to the club Shari Vari.
We set out of Trastevere into the crisp night air. The 30 minute walk to the club didn’t matter because I was excited to explore my new city for the first time. We reached the Ponte Sisto footbridge with an incredible view of the Fiume Tevere (Tiber River) with the Vatican glowing in the distance. Once we crossed the river we started walking through thin cobblestone roads. This is how I imagined Rome. We winded through curved streets lined with tall multicolored buildings and reached an alleyway with light strands draped across the top. The street was packed with well-dressed 20-somethings all headed in the same direction towards Shari Vari. It was about midnight and there was a huge line crowding around the bouncers behind the club—I guess this was the spot to be on a Wednesday night.
We approached the hoard, we realized it was a mass of Americans all speaking english. The line wasn’t moving and the only groups allowed in were Italians and groups with good girl-to-guys ratios. Everyone was pushing towards the font and shouting out desperate things like, “We have 8 girls and 5 guys!” or “…we know Alfredo, he told us we could get in!” We realized there was not a chance in hell they were going to let in 3 American guys so we decided we needed to make quick friends with large groups of girls towards the front. We swallowed our pride and started trying to convince the bouncers we were worthy.
After about an unsuccessful 30 minutes, my friend Christian and I decided it wasn’t worth it. We were in the center of Rome and I had never seen and I wanted to see something mind-blowing. We looked at a map and realized we were a block away from the Pantheon. We turned a couple corners and bam there it was! Just as massive and glorious as I imagined. And how bizarre that one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman buildings, originally built in 29BC stood moments away from some sleazy night club. The night was still and there wasn’t a person in site. This inspired us to go see more of this beautiful city. We then went and saw the Campidoglio, which made put us in eye-sight to the Ancient Roman Forum which led us to wander around the Colosseum at 4am. The sky a dark royal blue, the Ancient marble glowing brightly and no people crowding around the sights. This was the best way I could have imagined being exposed to my new city.