It was my 6th grade history class where I first learnt about Pompeii. An ancient Roman city that was completely buried under the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. – nearly 2000 years ago. I never forgot that image which captured the imagination of my impressionable young mind. The image of a volcano suddenly erupting, roaring rapids of lava charring everything in its path and leaving nothing but a black carpet of rubble in its wake. And that picture never left.
Experiencing a monumental event within the pages of a textbook is one thing, but experiencing it in person is quite another. And I finally had this chance to see, touch, smell and feel Pompeii last week. While I expected to be moved by a 2000 year old display of Mother Nature’s wrath, I came away with a different impression.
With much of the ancient city still intact, Pompeii’s remains provided a window into how people lived their everyday lives back then. There were facilities like amphitheatres, places of worship, spa, swimming pool, fitness centre, restaurants with wood fired ovens, watering holes and a red light district to feed the mind, body and spirit. Imagining rows of vibrant streets alive with song, dance, tears, laughter and chatter; I realized they were not much different from people today.
Now I have another picture that will never leave.