Field Report from Audrey

Earlier today, the lovely Audrey sent this report from Venice to update us on the progress she and the Independent Observer are making on their Italian research mission.

8:30 a.m. The IO woke with a start and saw it was too early to get up. He channel-surfed through CNN, Sky News, BBC World Service, ten Italian stations, one French station, and one German station. 'Street Legal' was on in Italian. Another Canadian drama was on the French channel, with subtitles en francais.

9:30 a.m. Breakfast in the elaborately frescoed dining room with Audrey. The IO tried to ignore the insistent American tourist who kept badgering the Japanese waitress: 'Two cappuccinos... two cappuccinos... two cappuccinos... two cappuccinos...' The IO ate a croissant with jam, two slices of ham, two pieces of Swiss cheese, a bowl of tinned peaches and fruiti di bosco yogurt. He yearned for fresh fruit. Although he was longing for a coffee, he delayed ordering his caffè Americano because of the irritating American tourist.

A gondolier sailed past the window singing O sole mio and the IO turned to the window and focussed his camera on the party of tourists in the boat. One of the tourists, a cute brunette, focussed her camera on him.

10:30 a.m. Leaving the hotel for a day of sightseeing, the IO says hello ('ciao!') to the comely receptionist, and wondered yet again if she was really Italian (she seemed to speak perfect Italian), or if she was Austrian, German or Swiss. Or Swiss-German? She was fair with freckles... He thought about asking her where she was from but Audrey's beckoning kept him on his path to the front door.

11:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. The IO was kept busy with tourist activities: the John Singer Sargent exhibition of Venetian paintings (marvellous!), shopping with Audrey (Her frequent plea: 'Sorry, sorry , sorry, but could we just look in this shoe store...'), a tour of the Doge's Palace, a walk along the canals, making mini-movies of pigeons in Piazza San Marco with Audrey.

8:30 p.m. Audrey asks 'Is that your friend?' The IO turns to see. A glamorous blonde floats across the Piazza San Marco in a long white skirt with a tight, light-pink blouse. It is the friend the IO is to meet. She embraces the IO and extends her hand to Audrey. All the men nearby are envious. The IO decides that it will be an interesting evening...

11:30 p.m. All have finished dinner. They are walking along the street, near the Rialto Bridge. The glamorous blonde is looking for a café that she remembers from the week before, when she was out with her classmates. Audrey is looking dejected - she is footsore and tired of drinking. She does not love wine as the others do. Plus, she is the third wheel! The IO does not notice that the glamorous blonde wants to be out and about, to have fun, to be seen, to be admired. His repeated requests to stop at quiet bars or to sit at quaint piers are rejected. However, when it is time to go home, he gallantly escorts the glamorous blonde to her boat, and then across the canal to the island where she has an apartment. He kisses her goodbye, on the cheeks. He returns to the hotel by vaporetto.

Venice has blindsided this reporter with her beauty.

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