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Category Archives: reviews

ignatius.jpgLast year, while working in Jerusalem, DryEyedCrab and I used to swap novels – we’d read something and if it was good, the other would read it. That way, we could discuss the books we were reading with someone else, someone literate (an all-too-rare attribute in Jerusalem, or at least in the bit we worked in). One of the first books Crab got me to read was A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I wont go into a lot of detail about the book, but its central character – Ignatius Reilly – is a fantastically unique literary creation. Ignatius despairs of the world and modern culture. He attends the cinema every day in order to document the moral degradation he sees there. He writes to corporations to complain about everything imaginable and trivial. He exhibits hatreds of the most ridiculous things, including Greyhound buses. And he feels beseiged by modern society and likes to think he stands apart from all its flaws.
I say this because Crab & I recently discovered a blogger who we think is Ignatius. He uses a different name of course, but I’m pretty convinced he is Ignatius. Go check him out and you’ll see what I mean.

In Jerusalem, I temped for Select. I was sent on a three-week assignment for them in August 2005 with the provincial Government, and I stayed just short of two years. In that time, I found Select Jerusalem to be ridiculously inefficient, but it didn’t matter because my manager at the government office made everything run smoothly. Before leaving Jerusalem for Rome, I contacted the Rome office, and was told everything would be smooth to transfer over and get an assignment in my (re)new home town.

So as soon as I arrived in Rome, I went to see them. They were keen, but two weeks later, haven’t managed to get my file transferred from Jerusalem. To be fair, this could be the incompetence of the Jerusalem office, but it hardly instills faith in the locals.

The same day I went to see the Roman Select people, I went for a preliminary meeting with Hays. They were much more cooperative and I held more faith that they’d deliver something. In fact, since that day, I’ve had 3-4 calls from Hays asking if I wanted to be put forward for positions, and none from Select.

Monday this week, having left Select and Hays to sniff out vacancies for me, I tried something new. I sent letters to all the employment agencies in the Yellow Pages. Result: a phone call Monday afternoon asking me to go see Sarah at Ambit.
So Tuesday first thing, I went and Sarah suggested a vacancy with the Evil Empire. And since I’m not that keen on the location or the company, I felt a bit despondent. I wandered the city (and Rome’s really bleak some mornings,  this was one of them) and then decided to head back to Caerulia’s rather than spend all day in the city waiting for her to finish work. But the phone rang – Min Ai from Hudson wanted to speak to me. So I went into their office, did an interview and some tests (better results than usual) and met some of their people. They suggested some jobs they wanted to put me forward for. Hudson made a good impression, and I know Alderney found them good when she dealt with them in Jerusalem.

While doing the tests, another company I’d emailed on Monday rang – Kowalski Recruitment. So I made an afternoon appointment, and after lunch, I went in and saw them too. More tests, even better results than in the morning, and more jobs they wanted to put me forward for – including an office manager job out in the industrial sector of Rome (almost across the Tiber).

This morning, I got another call from Hays, and they offered me a few days work next week. Sure, it’s not a long-term thing, but it’s a good indicator they’re actively seeking options for me. And I’m broke enough that three or four days paid work will be something worth getting out of bed for.

One of the main things I missed about Rome was the lovely mix of restaurants available. In Jerusalem, “Asian” food meant hundreds of restaurants making the same kinds of things – Chinese, Thai, Indian and Japanese. And everything was terrible “same” regardless of where you went. But yesterday, I got to try, in the middle of Rome, some Sri Lankan food at the Banana Leaf restaurant. Caerulia goes there all the time and always tells me how great it is, so the first chance I got, I asked her to show me.

We both ordered the Lomprisht – I hate ordering the same as anyone else when I go to a restaurant, but since Caerulia had said that was the best thing to try, I was left little choice.

Lomprisht looks – when it arrives – like… let me explain here what it looks like… imagine someone getting three DVD movies with their packaging, and wrapping it in green banana leaves – that’s what it looks like. You unwrap the leaves, and inside are three curries in one – a chicken one, a fish curry and a vegetable curry. All in this banana-leaf “plate”. And the taste? It’s as good as any curry I’ve ever tried. Not overly spicy – just enough to clear your sinuses – but tasty in the extreme.

If you’re Roman and you haven’t been there – try it.

Disclaimer: I didn’t pay for the lunch. I owe Caerulia $18 for it 🙂