Thursday, June 14, 2007

Divide and Conquer

Last night Regine and I met at the Neptune Fountain for a Friday evening on the town. Our preliminary plans were to go to dinner, and then to a concert by a local orchestra in the Piazza della Signoria. This is a regular summer concert series.

We met at the Neptune, and she had a restaurant in mind, but was not sure if she could locate it. We begin the search. When we came upon the restaurant that she had in mind, lo and behold, it was Bicherriria Centrale, the duck restaurant! Yeah! I of course had the duck, and we shared a bottle of wine.

After dinner we made our way over to the concert. Tonight’s selections were all Giuseppe Verdi, and we were not very impressed. The music was slow and sad, and didn’t fit our mood, or the mood of the rest of the crowd who came and went. We decided we had not had enough wine, and moved to one of the nearby cafe’s to remedy that. We drank another bottle of wine, and by the time we were finished, we could hear the guitar music coming from the Uffizzi, so made our way there to listen. He didn’t play long tonight because Florence has restrictions on how late the street musicians can play and it was about 11:30. We weren’t ready to call it a night so decided to go over to the Slowly Bar.

I have been there before alone, and was a little intimidated by the large number of men, and the small number of women. Regine and I went in and ordered a drink. There was the same ratio of men to women as before, about 10:1, but with Regine there to talk to, it was manageable. It wasn’t too long before men began coming over to talk to us, and I am proud to say that we could hold our own speaking Italian to them. Regine is 2 weeks ahead of me in class, because she did not repeat. She also has just begun taking afternoon classes in preparation for the DEGLI test which is an international language designation/certification.

After a few hours at the bar, we decided to call it a night, and as always, walked together to the Neptune. Regine lives near the Ponte Vecchio, so Piazza della Signoria is a midway point for both of us. As we approached the fountain and were beginning to say our goodbyes, two men approached us and begin talking. They of course wanted us to go for a drink, but we were having none of it. We had already had too much to drink and we’re tired. We told them no, but they continued to persist. I turned to Regine and said, "Sono vado a casa, tu vieni anche, Ciao!" (I am going to my house, and you head for yours) We hugged and parted in opposite directions walking quickly towards our homes. I didn’t look back to see where the men were, but in just a couple of minutes, one of them was behind me, asking me again to go for a drink, to which I replied, "No basta. Sono vado a casa". (No, that’s enough. I am going home). I pulled out my phone and started to dial Regine. I think he thought I was calling the police, because he was gone in a flash. Regine answered, and she was not alone, so I offered to come back and meet her. But she said it was not necessary. I told her to call me when she got home. In about 10 minutes my phone rang and she was at home. We laughed and decided that it worked pretty well, and next time we would need to work out the signals to maintain the element of surprise when we separated so quickly.

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