Europe, Travel Advice

Why Its Just Plain Wrong To See a McDonalds Restaurant Across From The Roman Pantheon

January 30, 2011 • By

Roman Pantheon

I have a bias that doubles nicely as a pet peeve. I detest McDonald’s. My campaign to destroy the golden arches began the day that I almost up-chucked the hotcakes and sausage combo on the flight from Los Angeles to back home. This was strange. I’d feasted on those flapjacks and pig parts a few times in my eating career and up to that moment, never had any ill effects. Trust me when I say, it is beyond embarrassing when the flight attendant has to hook you up to the oxygen mask so that I won’t deposit the contents of the last meal on my neighbor who I was sure would gladly end my suffering if I did.

Always a glutton for punishment, I told myself that it was an isolated incident; that the meal simply didn’t agree with me that day. I proceeded to illustrate that I was a prime candidate for a Darwin award by purchasing the same breakfast and (whaddayaknow) got the same result. Lesson learned. Never will I darken the doorway of that god forsaken place again. I don’t care that they sell their cappuccino for only a dollar, I’m not going. Fast forward two years into the future. I am in the beautiful city of Rome. I’ve just visited the Roman Pantheon and right across the courtyard is….a freaking McDonald’s restaurant. After, dunking my head in the nearest fountain to put out the flames coming from my eyes and ears, I refocused and confirmed that I wasn’t seeing a mirage. There was a freaking McDonald’s restaurant a stone’s throw away from a treasured landmark. That was at least three kinds of crazy!  I knew it was time to lodge a complaint at the American Embassy.

Ok, perhaps, I am being inconsiderate to deny my Italian brethren the pleasures of American fast food, but if I wanted to see that abomination, I could have stayed home and literally threw stones at it. And please don’t think that my disdain is reserved for the arches. I hate seeing anything that will remind me of home when I’m in a foreign land. When I book a room in Paris, trust me, it won’t be at a chain hotel that’s headquartered in the states. I enjoy immersing myself in the beauty of little known chalets, B & Bs, mom and pop hotels when I travel. There’s something special about experiencing a bit of culture outside of the one that I am used to. The only thing that I want to remotely remind me of home is finding someone who can speak the English language.  I’m not hating on America, motherhood and apple pie. I’m just saying if I went through the trouble of crossing an ocean……..

I guess there is a light at the end of this tunnel. So far, I’ve seen no evidence of a Church’s Chicken cackling on foreign soil. If god forbid, you do come across this restaurant, you would have a more enjoyable experience (and the same result of) being hooked up to an IV filled with bacon fat. No one should have to wring out grease so that they can digest a piece of chicken.  No one.  But I know my campaign is futile.  I will have live with the fact that these chains will be everywhere before you know it.  At some point, you’ve got to realize when you’re outgunned.  So, I’ve finally reached the last stage of grief: acceptance.