Visitors to Ancient Rome

I’m walking along the main road between the Colosseum and the Forum in Rome. I know what you’re thinking, “Did a funny thing happen to me on the way to The Forum?” Well, this made me laugh:

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There are several great perspectives of this Yellow Legged Gull:

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

As I manoeuvre to get some better shots I realise that three other people have joined me and are taking photographs of it with a variety of cameras and phones.

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

As I continue my walk I keep being asked “Are you from Africa?” by people who appear to be from Africa. It’s designed to provoke a reaction, to build a relationship so you end up having jewellery placed on your wrist, having to high-five and fist-bump them and then have a gentle request for your money. It’s fascinating to watch them operate.

I am, of course, an ape with African ancestry, but I’ll let that one pass.

Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There may be a small model of an animal placed in your palm first. And more hand-shaking. Then there’s the request for €2. So far they’ve all taken one look at me and regretted asking me whether I’m from Africa. I must look like a man on a mission with my camera.

I’m more interested in the Gulls:

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s difficult to concentrate on photography when a saxophonist is playing the solo from Careless Whisper by George Michael over and over on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Personally I’d like to parade him to the Colosseum and feed him to the lions.

I was pleased with this quick reaction shot of a gull initially. I managed to get the focus on the beak, but unfortunately not the depth of field needed to make it a decent shot for anyone else to appreciate. It’s also hiding its eye. Shame

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I move along the road but can’t stay too long as a violinist is playing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen over and over again. It’s quite nice the first time, but I wish he was to be crushed by a herd of wild elephants after a few repeats. That’s not possible now. Partly because it’s illegal, but also because the Ancient Romans killed every last one of the North African Forest Elephants and they are now extinct.

This Gull is a youngster. It’s yet to get the intense red eye-ring and hasn’t got the pure white plumage yet:

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

In a year or so it’ll look just like this one:

Yellow Legged Gull - Rome - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Finally I see a selfie-stick seller who, for one second, thinks I might be a customer. I wave my huge camera with telephoto lens at him, raise my eyebrows and mime trying to fix my camera on one of his selfie sticks. He smiles; and so do I.

Colosseum - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I stand opposite the Colosseum watching the old women with headscarves and walking sticks work the crowds for change as a huge brown rat appears at my feet and scurries out of sight.

What an amazing city.

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