Is this a UFO?
A tango party birthday surprise
Finally we are getting some rest, sitting on our terrace overlooking the surrounding hills. Most of our guests have arrived and linger around enjoying a drink or some of the culinary delicacies that Annette, my wife, and our friend Christina have prepared for the buffet.
It is mid August and though the sun is hovering already deep down over distant Monte Amiata, the heat makes everybody feel very relaxed. Or should I say drowsy?
Nobody seems eager to move more than necessary.
Today is my fortieth birthday and we have invited all our friends. Germans and Swiss who run organic farms in the neighbourhood, some people from Castel Rigone, our neighbours who share with us the same gravel road and a lot of tango dancers from Perugia.
A lot of organizing, decorating and cooking, though I have to admit that most of it has been done by Annette, who wanted to spare me from work on my special day.
The scenery changes after the sun´s last golden glow has vanished behind the hills.
We light the torches in the garden. Music starts to fill the air, mainly Tango Argentino we like most but also Salsa, Swing and Italian evergreens.
Everybody comes to life again. The chatting gets louder. Wine glasses are ringing. Somebody is bringing out a humorous toast, making our whole company shake with laughter. The first couples start dancing…
In the midst of a romantic tango all at a sudden we are bathed in glaring light.
What the hell is that? Two enormous lights at the entrance to our property cut through the dark.
Is this an UFO? Do we end up in a Spielberg movie tonight?
Taking ourselves a heart we approach the lights and come upon a group of profoundly shaken, terrorized Italians, mainly women in their very late forties, unable to speak (which is a rare if not impossible thing among Italians), staggering downhill towards our terrace.
Drawing nearer to the lights we don´t trust our eyes.
Outside our gateway, stuck up in the narrow gravel road, we see the bulky shade of a seventy seater overland travel coach.
This very moment I remember. Some days ago one of our tango friends, a nice italian lady, owner of a travel agency, had called and asked whether we´d still organize tango balls at Passignano.
She had a group of single travellers to care for and wanted to offer them something really special. She had been to our house for dance parties several times and obviously thought it was something special…
Of course I had invited her too, according to the typical italian saying “Se siamo in tanti, è piu bello.” – More people we are, the nicer it is.
I had never imagined though, that anybody would have the crazy idea to come to our place with an extra long overland bus, since our road though fairly well maintained, is narrow and very curvy. I really wonder, how they were able to get that far.
What to do now? Our company at once drops back to their traditional roles. Our ladies, each of them a Florence Nightingale, care for the stranded travelers, giving them wine, food and encouraging words.
Most of the men are up at the bus not sparing with good hints. Finally, with united forces we manage to make the bus turn on the bordering meadow. Fortunately during this time of the year the earth is dry and baked hard by the sun.
In the meantime our new guests have recovered a little and some of them are even trying to do their first tango steps. Their travel guide, all excited, is assuring me several times that the driver had told her he knew the zone and would have no problems, begging thousand times pardon for causing us trouble and damaging our road. Then she is off again, comforting her clients. I try to stay serious, but really can´t hide a laugh.
Half an hour later most of our single travellers are anxious to leave again. They like our place but they are frightened to death at the thought of riding back two kilometers of nightly gravelroad in their bus.
In the end the bus sets off without passengers. Some of our friends bring the members of the travel group to the security of the asphalt road in their cars. Some last thanks and greetings and our surprise guests are gone.
We all pity them, as there is still a whole night of fun and dancing ahead.