Hello again! I’m terribly, terribly sorry about my long absence. It took a lot of time and effort, which sapped the time and effort needed to write for this blog, to finally graduate from high school:
As you certainly know by now, Jurassic World 2 has found its director: JA Bayona, director of a movie called The Impossible, which I assume will get the same spike in viewers that Safety Not Guaranteed did a couple of years ago. You also know that Jeff Goldblum is “an open-faced sandwich” when it comes to returning for Jurassic World 2. I would have loved to scream about that with all of you; instead, I started a prayer circle for Ian Malcolm’s return with Alice Malcolm. So instead of telling you about those news items that, while interesting and important, are well-known by now, I thought I’d show you the other reason why I haven’t posted recently. Please allow me to show you the vacation to Rome that I took with my T. rex. (In case you’re wondering, the Rexy I brought with me doesn’t come with any toy set. She’s from the Jurassic World cake that your local supermarket bakery probably has. My amazing parents got said cake for my graduation party.)
The first stop we made was in Istanbul. We only stayed for a few hours, but that was enough to see the beautiful Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The former had very, very strict rules about what women could wear inside the holy place, and there was no hijab large enough for Rexy to dress appropriately, so she stayed outside. I, however, went in, but not before the staff deemed my clothes too inappropriate and rented me this gorgeous garment.
On our first day, we visited some ancient Roman crypts, which were famous for housing some of the first Christian art ever, as well as the tombs of several popes. Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed several kilometers below the earth. That was just as well; as soon as Rexy followed me down the steps, she began looking at our fellow tourists in a way that indicated that she would’ve liked to have added several more bodies to this burial place. Thus began her country-wide quest for a snack. She had varying success.
That same day, we visited the Coliseum. Rexy was overjoyed to hear about the rich history of this world monument, specifically the parts about how wild animals were unleashed and had prisoners fed to them.
The view cheered her up a little, but then she caught sight of a few men in gladiator costumes taking photos with tourists. No matter how many times I told her, she wouldn’t believe that they weren’t willing to go to the center of the stadium and become her lunch. Her resulting fit made sure that the restoration work going on in the monument will now take another 10 years, at least.
Despite all of this, she still attempted to climb into the area where animals were held before being set loose into the arena. I was about to pull her back up when she dashed towards the approaching group of tourists, shouting some garbled tyrannosaur-language version of “VENI, VIDI, VICI!” My tour group evacuated before she created any more ruins.
We spent the next day visiting the Vatican, both the museum and the various churches. Here, Rexy is completely unimpressed with the entrance to Pope Francis’ private gardens. She wanted to wait here for quite a while before we entered the Vatican Museum. I was thrilled that she was enjoying the sights instead of looking for tourists to consume for once, but then she told me that she was waiting for “one of those delicious, flower-eating” herbivorous dinosaurs to come along.
The sculpture garden was a big hit with her, if only because she greatly appreciated this statue of people being eaten by snakes.
Luckily, it cheered her up to visit another ancient, feared predator. The Vatican Museum had an impressive collection of ancient Egyptian art and artifacts; you can probably guess what she tried to do to its two mummies.
These were the Raphael Rooms, considered by some to be better-done than the Sistine Chapel. Dinosaurs, unfortunately, have no eye for art appreciation. She could barely even see the paintings, since they didn’t move.
This was the last shot I got with her in the museum, as photography rules are very strict there. Instead of getting shots of her with some of the most famous art in the world, I was respectful of the museum guards’ wishes and didn’t take any pictures where it was prohibited. After all, it was important to have respect for a very, very sacred place.
Just kidding! I illegally took 4 pictures of the Sistine Chapel.
Next we paid a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, which was possibly my favorite part of the trip. Here’s Rexy with Pieta in the entrance. Instead of trying to eat the famously malformed Mary, she growled at the statue from afar, and then proceeded to drink a disrespectful amount of holy water before amusing herself by scaring off the pilgrims and nuns that crowded the place.
Here she is with the Holy See, which only the Pope is allowed to enter. Well, the Pope and any theropods with no sense of boundaries.
The day after that, we returned to the Vatican to visit a special Mass given by Pope Francis, or Papa Francesco. Security was very, very tight, although it was a little hard to take security seriously, since it was dressed in baggy, rainbow uniforms. The Swiss guards were very friendly for the most part, but they were still tough and serious– until my little carnivore came out to play. She was burping up blue and yellow cloth for hours afterward.
Because of the aforementioned tight security and because the beloved Pope was very edible, I had Rexy stay out of the Holy City for the duration of his sermon. Francis got even closer to me than you can see here, but I was too busy screaming, “TE AMO, PAPA FRANCESCO!” to take another picture. He rode around kissing babies for a little while, and then spoke to us about the parable of the tax collector and the rabbi. The rumors are true: he is, indeed, a very Cool Pope. (Since it’s the Year of Jubilee, he also granted an indulgence to everyone present and their loved ones, so you guys are spending a few less years in purgatory now. You’re welcome.)
Don’t worry, Rexy enjoyed herself in the gift shop in the meantime. She got the wrong idea about this Pope Benedict statue and walked out with a mouthful of splinters.
Next, we paid a visit to the Pantheon. Rexy had her stomach full of wooden Pope, so she was sleepy and a lot less interested in consuming other visitors, which made it much easier to enjoy the sights.
We had just enough time to enjoy the beautiful altar, as well as the tomb of Raphael, before Rexy learned about the history of the place. She insisted that, since the ancient Romans worshipped ancient and powerful deities in this building, she should be given the same respect because of her “king of the dinosaurs” status. Instead of letting the museum guards do the honors, we escorted ourselves out of the building when she began demanding sacrifices in the form of tasty archbishops.
After that, we took a bus to see the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. It’s not a sight that appears on lots of souvenirs or postcards, but it was a truly astounding place; in fact, it was the oldest standing church in the Western world. Therefore, I spent a lot of my time there watching Rexy carefully, making sure her huge tail didn’t knock into anything old or important. Apparently, this cathedral is “just the palace that the tyrant lizard king deserves”, and she attempted to move into the basilica-like altarpiece and take command of the staff of nuns. Truly, nothing is sacred to a T. rex.
We departed from Rome the next day to take a 2-day trip to the beautiful city of Florence (or as it’s called locally, Firenze). We went to see the Ponte Vecchio first, a bridge with a view so beautiful that Hitler specifically preserved it during his bombing of the region. Even my tyrannosaur was taken aback by the gorgeous sight across the river, and quietly took in its beauty. Then again, the Ponte Vecchio is home to several expensive jewelry shops, so maybe she was just running her tongue over her brand-new gold tooth.
The next day, we saw the Uffizi Museum, former home to the Medici dynasty and location of lots of famous sculptures and paintings. Regardless of how much everyone giggled at the nude Roman statues, it was incredible to see famous works of art like Raphael’s and Da Vinci’s paintings. Security was surprisingly low except in certain rooms, so I took it upon myself to fill Rexy’s stomach with meat-flavored gelato so she would mellow out and not try anything funny. It worked, mostly.
Despite Rexy’s insistences, she was not the most ancient and beautiful thing in the museum. Some of you may have seen that little doodle behind her somewhere before.
The last beautiful thing we got to see in Florence was the Duomo, a picturesque cathedral that I could barely believe my eyes when I saw. I just managed to keep Rexy from running off and finding a tourist snack while my family and I admired the beautiful work of Renaissance art. Speaking of which, that door behind her has panels done by several different artists, including Donatello, and is regarded as the beginning of the Renaissance. Rexy, as expected, was more interested in the nearby cannoli stand than this history lesson.
At the end of our week-long journey, it was time to say goodbye to Italy. We took a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, and then we took the plane that you see here home. It was an eleven-and-a-half-hour flight, and there were no survivors.
That was the end of the photos I took with Rexy; I hope everyone enjoyed them! As a bit more of a personal touch, I’d like to give you a very intimate and personal look into the mind of the author. After a nearly 12-hour flight, none of which I was able to sleep through, I got the idea to draw a few jokes on the airline safety booklet, which my family and I often like to do on airplanes. But, since I had been awake for nearly 24 hours straight at that point, the jokes I made were less funny like “ha ha” and more funny like “I don’t really feel too safe”. So now, enjoy just a small sampling of the darkness that emerged from my cabin fever, Shining-style:
It’s, uh, good to be home.