After a four-hour drive from Hanover to Amsterdam at 200 KPH (130 MPH), I arrived at in plenty of time for my flight to Italy. I was collected in Genoa by Gian-Carlo who suggested we stop by Pisa, on our way to Saline de Volterra, and stroll leisurely across the Arno River and climb the leaning tower. That sounded like a good idea. The tower and everything that surrounds it, mainly a baptistery and a mausoleum, including the walkways are made of white marble. It's quite striking, and I was glad Gian-Carlo made the suggestion. |
Saline de Volterra is a walled village that sits on top of a hill. Looks like a movie set for Romeo and Juliet. The main entry to the village is the original one-thousand-year-old wooden gate that is now permanently open. Within the walls is an ancient Roman ampitheater estimated to be two-thousand years old, which is part of an archeological dig that continues to this day.
Early afternoon Gian-Carlo and I are sitting at the main piazza enjoying Comparis and conversing in English. By the way, this area of northern Italy is the hotbed of the Italian Communist Party. Anyway, five burly men, whom from their appearance probably work in one of the local alabaster mines, occupy the table to our right.
In a high, teasing, sing-song voice one of them calls out in broken English, "Hey, American boy," his voice rising on the last syllable.
His co-workers stifle a laugh. You can kind of see what's going on here. I mean, you know guys...a few drinks after work, and one says, egged on by the others, "Hey, Mauro, I dare you to yada, yada, yada..." and finally he does, with his buddies laughing as much at him as with him.
I smile at Gian-Carlo who does not smile back, him being a sweaty palms, highly strung, nervous type threatened by the slightest provocation.
"Hey, American boy." More choked back laughter and snickering.
This time I look directly at them with a toothy grin and up-turned palms. Gian-Carlo's practically having a seizure.
In unison, they chant, "Gorbachev, Gorbachev, Gorbachev!" and collapse with laughter.
I laugh with them, and when Gian-Carlo realizes all will be well, he joins in. We spend the remainder of the afternoon drinking and laughing together with our new friends; our contribution to world peace.
Gene Myers http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/AfterHours.html Find out what else happened in "After Hours" available from www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and www.borders.com
New in August 2010 from Gene Myers: SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE, PublishAmerica
Both now available from Amazon Kindle
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