When you go to Rome, this is what you do: You find the Colosseum. It's not hard because it's a really old, big thing. You go down there with your map and you mingle with the people. There will be lots of people because everyone wants to experience this big old slaughter house. Pick your target. Walk up to them as you look at your map, puzzled expression on your face.
“Scuzee... can you tell me where the Colosseum is?”
Regardless of their nationality, they will understand by the words scuzee, Colosseum and your puzzled expression and the way you are carrying the map that you want to know where the Colosseum is.
“There,” they point.
You don't look at where they are pointing, just at their face. Then back at the map. “I think it must be around here somewhere.” You circle an area on the map where you think the Colosseum must be.
“Turn around. Look up. There. There is the Colosseum. Behind you.”
You continue looking at the map. “See, I came down this road, took a left and I think I should have maybe gone right at that fork... do you have any idea where it is?”
They think you are mad and so they move away, telling their spouse that they think you are mad.
You turn around and there are some guys dressed as Roman Centurions. They make their living by wandering around in these costumes, brandishing their wooden swords and letting you pay them for taking your photo with them. Pretty silly way for grown men to make a living. Still, they are your next targets.
“Bongiorno, Centurions,” you tell them.
“Yeah in a minute. Steady on. Firstly, I need to know where the Colosseum is. You must know about the Colosseum? The big stabby place? You know Colosseum?”
Long pause. “Si... yes.”
“Do you know where it is?” You ask. “I can't seem to find it on my map.”
“Eh... turn around. The Colosseum, it is behind you. You cannot miss it.”
They look at each other and burst into Centurion laughter. They say something in Italian about crazy foreigners and the Colesseum. They laugh some more of their Centurion laughter.
“But I can't find it,” you push on. “I need to find the Colosseum on the map. I thought it would be easy to find, but I can't find it. I've been looking for ages. I thought you might be able to help...”
“Signore... I assure you, the Colosseum is right behind you. Trust me. You are at the Colosseum. Look.” The Centurion points with his wooden sword.
You drop your shoulders a little and turn around. You eyeball the Colosseum for a couple of moments, then turn back, open the map again and say, “Okay. Fine. But where is it on my map? I've narrowed it down to this area but I just can't quite pinpoint the exact location on the map...”
There is about as much point in doing this as there is a point to this column, but you will enjoy yourself. And you can take this with you anywhere you go. Eiffel Tower. Sydney Opera House. Statue of Liberty. The Pyramids of Giza. Amusement every time.
Grumpy is Lee Bemrose, freelance writer at firstname.lastname@example.org He still can't find the Colosseum on his map.