Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Being Seen"

Although Venice is behind us I wanted to post about being seen in Venice. The day after the ball we dressed ourselves again and set off for St. Marks. In exchange for my outfit I promised Mr. Weaver at Authentic Wardobe that I would take pics of it all around Venice.

We did our best. I swear. But our progress was very slow. Cameras came from every direction. We would go 5 feet and be stopped by a dozen cameras and 5 people wanting photos with us. Because some of the walkways are very narrow in the city we did out best to not block traffic but a few times we literally stopped traffic. What normally takes 25 minutes to get to St. Marks took 2 hours. One there, it took an hour to cross the square itself, only about 100 yards.

Let me just say that the attention whores in us were mighty happy. I took what pictures I could, but the ones in St. Marks were super crowded. I found a few semi secluded spots and the shots came out pretty well. I wish we had taked some in a Goldola. But those are NOT cheap, even for pics. And getting Rossana into and out of one would have been a major feat.

We circled about until our feet started to give out. On our way back we stopped for dinner at a restaurant. People kept taking pics through the window and causing backups so we moved to the back of the eatery. About 1/4 mile from the hotel a strap gave way on Rossana's petticoat. She caught it before everything went bad and held everything together until she got home and made repairs.

I wish I had done more research before this trip. There are some lovely and secluded spots in the city that are so picturesque. But you need to get up waaay early to beat the crowds. Like 6am.

I'll post some of the picsw of us and the costumes we saw on the square as soon as I can filter through them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blog post at last!

I have managed to find a small corner of the hotel where wifi is working. Alas, there is so much to tell. The biggest thing was the masked ball of course, and it was splendid. We returned from a day of sightseeing to our hotel only to learn that the dinner started an hour earlier than we thought.

We dressed with all haste. But Rossana's dress is an engineering feat and it still took over an hour before we left. Once underway we found ourselves turned around. Although we had plotted our way to the palace the day before it had been daytime and the streets had not been filled with thousands of drunken youth. After a quick inquiry we were set again on our path and arrived "fashionably in time". We were one of the last guests to arrive and were introduced by the master of ceremonies to a very attentive crowd. We took a table away from the quartet so we could converse with our fellow guests which consisted of four ladies from New York, a Gentleman from London and his daughter whose accent gave her away as being from Manchester.

Wine was poured and the dinner began. Every part of it was deliscous; served by wigged porters in a silent and efficient dance. The ladies at the table all marvelled at Rossana's dress and our card was well received. The ladies themselves had flown in that day. They had rented their lovely costumes but had made their own maks from hundreds of Swarovski crystals. These were ladies of some means. Not only were they attending this ball, but the Mascherende Ball the following night.

As the dinner moved along I found myself regaling my fellow diners with all manner of stories and history about the Serine Republic. It amazing how many bits and pieces I have picked up over the years. At one point I noticed a couple over my left shoulder and I politely stopped as I thought they wanted to speak to someone at the table.

"Oh go on, please! We were evesdropping from our table next to you."

More wine, more food, more stories. At one point, despite the ingenious vents that I had requested for my hat from Msrs. Poznanski & Martin of Blonde Swan , I had to cool off a bit and take in the palace. As I left the wandered the halls I was stopeed by a lovely French woman and had some kind of conversation despite my lack of French and her lack of English. She was very kind however and complimented my ensemble. There was more talk, much of it from her. The subject of which I cannot guess, marking the first time that I regretted taking German instead of French back at school. Our convesation at an end, she offered her hand and I gave it the correct response (which is not, in fact to kiss it, but instead the thumb of your own hand. Again, useless trivia). She then winked at me, flipped her fan, curtsied and sailed off gracefully.

Our host M. Casanova made an appearence with the first of several escorts. The first being an opera singer of some skill. Later a German magician performed for the room, and then at table, followed by a male singer and then another Soprano. I took my leave again, this time with Rossana to wander the palace and take what pictures I could given the dim light. The space had been decorated beautifully and the candles gave it a magical appearence.

Later in the evening, Casanova led a brief line dance before the guests retired to the first floor for more dancing and drinking. We spoke at length with a lovely German lady and learned that most of the event staff were German, not Italian. It made no difference to me. I was still very happy. We spoke of travel, places we each liked. Somehow it was 2:30 am when we began to make preparations to leave.

The hostess had promissed us a bottle of Champagne as a way to make up for the troubles we had with the payment process. But when she went to look it was all gone. "Would you prefer a bottle of Dom Perignon?"

"I suppose we can make do" was all we could cough out.

She asked if she could get us a water taxi but as we were staying nearby we thought it unnecessary. In hindsight we can see why she wanted us to take the taxi. To get back to our Hotel we had to pass through a Piazza that hours ago had been filled with thousands of young revellers. Most of them, for reasons that I am unsure of, had drawn fake mustashes on themselves. Including the ladies.

The piazza was much less crowded now, but absolutely strewn with the debris of one hell of a party. The greatest risk to us, were the many bottles, whole and smashed, that littered the ground. Make no mistake, this would all be gone by morning and the piazza made spotless like the rest of the city. Possibly with the use of magic or fairies. But aqt the monent it was a dimly lit minefield.

We were almost through when a very... energetic young man came running through the sparce crowd. He seemed to be keen to knock peoples hats off their heads. He went at several people to our left before spinning around and seeing us. He made a slight play for my wife's enormous wig but she flung up her hand quickly and he dodged off. I did not see him come back for the second pass but as soon as he did the bottle of Dom, that had been in my left hand was gone and a very angry wife was using Italien that made the young people nearby gasp.

She swung a broad arc that hit the young man glancingly in the shoulder. The young man did not seemed scarred and laughed a shrill giggle. By now I had gotten some of my wits about me and I raised an imperious voice to bring some sense to this scene "Rossana!" I yelled and all eyes fell to me.

"Not the good stuff!" I shouted, indicating her impromptu weapon.

She gave the bottle a glance and then tossed it to me. I grabbed a bottle from the ground as did my wife and we proceeded to advance on the man, which was not easy considering our shoes and rather cumbersome dress. I believe my wife said something along the lines of "C'mere, I'm gonna beat you to death you little (Sicilian word for donkey fucker)"

The young man, yelling and spinning and likely high as a kite made a short advance, then thought better of it and circled around. We watched him bounce off a lightpost, which spun him around 180 degrees back our way. Rossana did not need to thrust the bottle per se, he just kind of fell into it, letting out a bit of a whoosh. I am also fairly sure that the bottle did not connect very hard with the mans chin when she brought it up while shoving him back. At this point I believe the man realized this was not where he wanted to go and stumbled sideways into the night.

There were no more incidents that evening.

The balll

In the hotel lobby works quite well so I will blow about the masked
ball later today from there inluding pictures. For now we are off at
dawn to see the city empty and visit the island or Murano, known for
it's glas blowing.

Sent from my iPhone