A New Roman Breakfast Special

24 Oct

Spotted in front of Termini station on Monday:

So…I wonder what Sam looks like? I mean, is he friendly?

What if you want to have Sam on the side? Does that cost extra?

And, while we’re on the topic of questionable signage, let’s chat for a moment about the bathrooms at Termini. The other day I was shopping downstairs in the station (surprisingly they have a great Sephora there) and I went to the public restroom—it costs 70 cents. That’s the equivalent of $1 USD. Wow. I never thought I’d have to pay a dollar to use a public restroom. Whatever. The funniest part for me was when I was washing my hands:

Ok, I guess rules are rules. But I can’t help but wonder: what happens if you wash your teeth before your ace? I mean, paying a dollar and you can’t even decide what order? I only washed my hands…was I supposed to wash my ace first? And I had totally forgotten my toothbrush.

I guess I am just totally out of it when it comes to Roman bathroom protocol. I mean, personally, I’ve never used a public bathroom to wash my ACE. Have you? I’m not even quite sure where that might be located.

But the real million-dollar question here is: what in the world were people using these sinks to wash BEFORE they put the sign up? And in exactly what order? Hmmm…


29 Responses to “A New Roman Breakfast Special”

  1. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy October 24, 2007 at 1:51 pm #

    I’m actually more disturbed by the WHITE coffee…what the F is that? I’ve heard of black coffee…do you think they’re racist? 🙂

    Oh, the money you’d save paying us “madrelingue” to proofread.

  2. nyc/caribbean ragazza October 24, 2007 at 3:00 pm #

    I’m with Sara, what is white coffee? Do you think they really did not notice the sign says w/Sam and not ham? ha,

    p.s the Sephora there does rock.

  3. erin October 24, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    This made me laugh so hard…what IS and ace? It sounds like a proper way to say the english word for your backside. But then, who washes that out in the wash basin? SO FUNNY!

  4. erin October 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm #

    oh yeah – and I thought it was supposed to be bread with JAM – but maybe nyc is right – ham. jam ham sam iam where are my green eggs and yam?

  5. Robert October 24, 2007 at 4:31 pm #

    Next time you are out and about pay attention to the signs on the glass covers of the fire hydrants on the office buildings. Can’t recall the exact wording in English but do recall that it was pretty badly wrong…

  6. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm #

    So funny… I thought it was toast with jam too, but see, it could just as easily be ham. But really, I’m tempted to order it just so I can see what it is and then complain that the sign advertised “Sam.” Boy, would that confuse the heck out of them or what?

  7. Jason October 24, 2007 at 5:15 pm #

    Too funny…but also scary…did you notice that the breakfast sign has room for another digit…imagine paying another €10…€20…€90!! 🙂

  8. Mrs.W October 24, 2007 at 5:45 pm #

    I’ve washed my ace in a public sink before. Very refreshing, indeed.

    Hah… love this post. Thanks for the giggles!

  9. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita October 24, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    haha Shelley, this post is so funny! I thought it was “jam” too.

  10. Valerie October 24, 2007 at 8:13 pm #

    But what if Sam wants green eggs with his white coffee? I laughed my ace off at this sign! And you only had to pay 1 euro for such entertainment 🙂

  11. Janavi October 24, 2007 at 9:45 pm #


  12. Christina October 25, 2007 at 12:40 am #

    Ahhh, your poor ACE. I hope you’ve washed it. (Your Face that is…)

    To answer your question about what else gets washed… some Muslims need to wash their feet before they pray, so perhaps that’s one of the body parts they are restricting…

  13. squiggy October 25, 2007 at 8:40 am #

    i don’t think they’re referring to muslims who wash before prayers, i think they’re referring to bums who used to use the restrooms (which were free once upon a time) to bathe their entire bodies. termini also used to have public showers back in the day, so lots of homeless people would go there to shower on occasion. those of us who live in rome have all seen it- homeless people bathing at water fountains, it’s pretty common for them to use any source of water to “freshen up”. so termini is just trying to keep their restrooms from turning into public showers, that’s all (=

  14. Robert October 25, 2007 at 9:41 am #

    One thing I enjoy about the toilets at Termini is watching people trying to get into them – those glass sliding doors are evil!

  15. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 25, 2007 at 2:09 pm #

    Squiggy has a good point… I was pretty sure this sign was directed towards homeless people who were using the restrooms for personal hygiene, but then I figured, there’s no way seeing as how it now costs 70 cents to get in. But I guess they just thought they’d put the sign up (or keep it up as perhaps it was there before the payment plan kicked in) to ward off any stragglers. Funny though that it’s in English. I don’t think that most of the homeless people I’ve seen actually speak English.

    Robert, you are so right, the glass doors are way evil and super confusing. It doesn’t make sense because you go in and out the same way. I was embarrassed the other day when I tried to leave because I couldn’t understand how they opened, then the nice lady behind me showed me that there’s actually a button you have to push. DOH!

  16. liuia October 25, 2007 at 2:48 pm #

    Hey, Shelley! I love your blog -although I don’t comment regularly ^^U, ahem-, that’s why I have given you a thinking blog award! Take a look here:
    About that issue of having breakfast with Sam, I think my boyfriend won’t like it ;P.

  17. Amanda October 25, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    Thank you Shelley, now I know where I can wash my ace after I’ve had a roll with Sam. It has always been a problem in the past, no one likes a dirty ace.

  18. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 25, 2007 at 7:05 pm #

    Liuia: Muchísimas gracias! I’ll have to think about some other bloggers to nominate.

    Amanda: See how convenient it is? The restroom is located just across the street from the breakfast bar. I’m sure they did that on purpose.

  19. eva October 26, 2007 at 8:25 am #

    Those signs are probably meant for backpackers too, kids who are roaing around europe on a VERY tight budget who might use the public bathroom as a personal bathroom (=

  20. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 26, 2007 at 8:42 am #

    Eva: That’s a good point, I definitely hadn’t thought of backpackers but surely Termini would be a popular place for them to go… you’d think they’d have some public showers or something being that the area is such a backpacker “hub,” but no such luck as far as I know.

    Actually now that I think about it, I’d probably be nervous to take a public shower in Termini, despite the fact that it would be locked, etc. For as much as they’ve improved it, it’s still a train station that attracts a wide variety of, ahem, characters. The other day on my way in, I saw two boys who nearly pickpocketed a woman not more than 6 feet in front of me, but luckily she turned just at the moment that they were speeding up to reach into her bag. It still shocks me to see how blantant they are.

  21. Jul October 26, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    And all this time I’ve been washing my ace in the bidet instead of the sink. How embarassing! 😉

  22. Delina October 27, 2007 at 10:48 pm #

    Hahahah You always spot the best ones! Bread with sam please. I don’t get the washing ace thing…The mind boggles.

  23. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 28, 2007 at 12:20 pm #

    Delina: Yeah, I don’t know how or why they would leave the “f” off of face, but “ace” is just so much more fun… And I STILL want to get a good look at Sam…

  24. DiscoverSoriano October 31, 2007 at 2:26 pm #

    All joking aside for a moment… I have often wondered why these insane mistakes exist. I understand people in many cases are using Google as their official translator, but over time I have found that it is a matter of misplaced pride. Two examples:

    Our town, Soriano nel Cimino, has a Proloco (Tourism office) site that is incomprehensible in English. Here is the link:

    One day I took it upon myself to do a proper translation of the entire site. I gave it to them (free) and they smiled and said thank you. They never made the changes. I then explained how poorly their site read in English and they chuckled. Still, they never made the change.

    On another occasion I was at a Barber shop. He was complaining that he was having trouble communicating with the tourists, and wanted to make signs in English to help him. I offered to do it for him right there on the spot (again, free). He refused me, explaining that his daughter had taken English in school, and spoke English perfectly. He added that she even spent a few weeks in the home of a native english speaker, so her English was that of a native. OK, I know her, and her English is TERRIBLE. Of course, I won’t tell him that, so I explained that while her English was certainly excellent, it would be highly unlikely that she would know the terms that he needed. I mean, how many Italians would know how to translate ‘Tapered in the back’ ? He continued to refuse, citing her perfect English. I can promise you that when she does the translation, it will be awful… but as long as he believes in her, it will be excellent to him. Forget that it will completely miss the target.

    So… Maybe Sam was the person that translated the sign.

  25. Jackie November 2, 2007 at 4:49 pm #

    i agree…sam on the side is a good idea (and for only 4,50!) with white coffee of course. afterwards, i’d better go wash my hands, ace, and teeth (in order). Wow, what a town Rome is :)!

  26. Geri November 2, 2007 at 9:29 pm #

    I wonder if you wash your ace before or after bread with Sam?

  27. Brendan November 3, 2007 at 1:25 am #

    They charge 20p at London’s Victoria Station. I tried to hand them a fiver and they let me slip by “you’re alright, just go ahead”. Obviously to prevent people who do no have facilities at home from using the public ones.

  28. Shelley, At Home in Rome November 3, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    Michael: You have a kindred spirit in Michelle. Check out this post. Also Kataroma. Looks like we’re all in the same boat here. Ah! Speaking of boat, did you see this one?

  29. Jan Madeleine December 18, 2007 at 12:05 am #

    Sam is obviously Jam — because all over Italy Ham is written as ‘Haw’

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: