The OGs In African American Female Group Travel Experiences
Encouraging black women since 2006
Well, my busy summer tour schedule is over and I finally have time to start interviewing again.
My weekend started out on a rainy Thursday night with me and one of my partners in crime planning to check out a new bar/lounge. We had chosen this particular spot due to the fact that on Thursdays there is a live Burlesque show, the perfect place to learn some new moves for future home entertainment.
Upon my arrival at the bar, I was a little confused by the size, wondering if the show would on the bar. The place was so tiny, that I could hardly walk without bumping into someone ... not that that is a bad thing. I have met quite a few people bumping into them "accidentally on purpose". Sometimes, I even do a full stumble into someone's arms but this was too tiny for "trip" flirting. Oh well, I am here and going to make the best of it. After all, I was dressed too dang cute to return home. I have on my new boots from Milan and a pair of super booty lifting jeans.
After standing a few moments, I walked to the back looking for my friend. I ask a waiter had he seen another Black girl. He said no but, suggested I check the backroom. There is a backroom??? Oh yes, he said with a joyful tone. He grabbed my arm and led me to the back and around a corner. All of a sudden, I felt like Alice walking into Wonderland as I entered the eclectic room filled with disconnected furnishing, mix-matched tables and chairs, old sofas from grandma’s living room and even a beat-up bathtub. The DJ was spinning global lounge music for a hollow-out 1900’s hi-fi. My visual senses were on overload, I love unpredictability. The crowd was a good mix of singles, couples and small mixed groups, my kind of a place. I made a mental note, to bring clients here next spring and summer.
I asked and was informed that there would be no show tonight due to the rain. Yep, that is Italy … nothing is EVER 100% confirmed. To keep from being constantly upset, you must leave your American standards for service at the airport and learn to have a “wait and see” attitude. If things happen as scheduled, "its a good day", if not … welcome to Italy! I was seated at an end table with two high back living room chairs, I felt like a cross between the "Cheshire Cat" and "Mad Hatter" waiting to stir-up some trouble. After a few minutes, my friend arrived and the night began with two Italian mojitos and light girl talk. Since our plan to watch the show had been rained-out we chatted it up for about an hour before heading out for one of our favorite bars.
We walked to the cash register (normal in Italy) to pay for our bill. I pulled out my credit card, only to be told that the phone lines were not working due to the rain… once again … welcome to Italy. The cashier suggested that I walk 3 blocks to the nearest ATM … my reply … "not in my new boots". It seemed like time stood still as we had a “what are you going to do” stare-off. Since, I already had plans to stop by an ATM before our next stop for the evening; I told the owner that once my taxi arrived, I would make a quick run to the ATM and return with cash. He was a little distrustful and asked that I leave something of value, my reply “if you don’t trust me, why should I trust you with something of mine”. Checkmate, game over! Soon, we were in a taxi heading to the ATM three blocks away.
Now, to live in Rome is to understand that nothing is as close as it seems unless you are walking. Due to all the one way streets, piazzas (squares) and zoned streets, a three-block walk can be a 2-mile drive … no joke. Before I knew it, we were on via Nationale, at least one mile from where we started. At this point, I am a little suspicious that the cab driver is taking the long way and I questioned his route. He and I are going at it, me in my broken Italian and him in limited English. I have perfected my "non sono un turista, io vivo a Roma ( I am not a tourist, I live in Rome)". My friend is laughing her head off in the back seat, soon so am I and the driver. It is hard for me to stay upset long. Born on the cusp of Libra and Scorpio, I can give you a terrible sting but balance out within minutes of the string. So, playful banter after a heated debate is not unusual for me. Well, as it turns out, his route choice was a good thing as it triggers my memory about a party that was on the same street… somewhere at SOME hotel. Hey, I can't remember everything! lol
I make the ATM stop, return to the bar to pay the bill and we are off to find Mark’s party. I do remember that the party is at one of the luxury hotels on Via Nationale. As we are riding down the street, I am looking for something to help me remember which hotel. "Stop, Stop … this is it … pull over!" I jump out the taxi, to confirm with the doorman that the party is in fact there. He said yes, on the 8th floor. I walk back outside and wave for my friend to get out of the cab. As we walked back in the door, the door man says the “private” party is on the 8th floor. We both pause for a moment! I am thinking, this should not be a PRIVATE party, well not the one I was looking to attend. As we walked to the elevator, I tell my friend we are about to crash a party and "not to let them see us sweat". The elevator doors open and we walk out as if it we were entering “our” party. Giving them just the right amount of smile and diva attitude ... you now the look. You can admire me from afar but only the strong should dare approach. It is a mating technique to scare off the undesirable or in this case anyone that was even thinking about asking who invited us. It worked and we were in without questions!
After a quick glace around the room, we immediately knew this was a super upscale "we have money" crowd as most women in Rome are not known for being as fashionable as their counterparts in Milan and Florence. In Rome, men are the true fashionistas but this group was different. The women here are giving you FASHION and major diva attitude all the way down to their $2000 euro boots. Designer labels filled the room. We had crashed a who’s who birthday party and I am in jeans, a fashion faux pas that can only be countered and upped with attitude. Hey, we are "Black Girls in Italy" and that trumps Italian in designer dresses any day. We are not intimidated! There was free food and open bar the entire night. The room was fine men at every turn but, it took everything in me not to start flirting. I was being on my best behavior, seeing how we were uninvited and quite noticeable because of both being over 5'9 and the only two Black people in the room. We drank, ate and danced as if we were close friends of the birthday boy... whoever he was. We had a great time.
As we were getting our coats to leave, a cutie came over and introduced himself and asked why we were leaving. As I looked into his deep green eyes, I was wondering the same thing. “My name is Christian” he said. I am Fleace, nice to meet you. “You two should stay a little longer”. “Sorry, we must leave now” I left out the part about "before the birthday boy figures out we don’t know anyone at HIS party". “May I have you phone number, maybe we can go out. Are you free this Saturday? “ In my mind I am saying HELL YEAH but, out my mouth came “I’m free early evening on Saturday” . We exchange phone numbers and a two cheek kiss. I get on the elevator with my friend and we start laughing about the night. As we are stepping out the elevator a tall drink of water is heading our way. We make eye contact and I give him “the smile”. We past each other and I do a full circle to turn back and check him out him and of course he is looking back. We both stop in our steps and he walks over to me, “Hi, my name is Luca” “I am Fleace are you going the party on the 8th floor?” “Yes, were you there?” “Yes, I was waiting for you but you are late” He smile and said “then I must make take you to dinner for my mistake” Yes, you must, I said with a coy little smile. What is your phone number? I give him my phone number and take off to join my friend waiting by the exit door. We flag a taxi and off we go to the next destination.
When we arrive at the lounge, the crowd is perfect, enough people to make it interesting but not too many where you can’t move around. We are luck and get a sit near the door, a prime spot to people watch and be seen. Normally, I like high seating. It makes it easier for me to be seen and for me to approach. Men do not like walking over to tables, especially if you are with friends. I also like sitting high because it makes it easier for me to walk away if I am uninterested. This evening we are on the low sofa but near the door. A good 2nd choice. We order drinks and consider the possibilities. I notice a group of four men talking near the bar. Italians are big on hanging out in same sex groups. Most have been friends since childhood and socializing together is important. It is not unusual to be in a room of a hundred people and see 50 clusters of friends. No one for sitting long, I whisper to my friend that I need to go break this cluster up. Within minutes, I made my way over and stood next to the one on the end. He turns immediately starts a conversation. His name is Mimo and he is from Naples but currently lives in London. He is an engineer and works between Rome and London. He is leaving for Naples in the morning but returns to Rome on Sunday. He ask if could take me to dinner Sunday night. My friend walks over and says she is sleepy and going home. Soon his friends leave also. Mimo and I, spend the remainer of the evening laughing and dancing not noticing that crowd had changed. A black curtain was pulled in front of the windows and the club was now an afterhours bar.
The crowd was now much livelier and the DJ was spinning a great dance mix. By now, it is almost 4am and Mimo informed me that he has been up since 5am and have a meeting in 4 hours. He said I bewitched him and caused him to forget about the time. I am flatter but insist that we call it a night … weeeell a morning!
He walks me to the taxi stand but there is only one taxi. I ask my driver to drop him off at another stand to get a taxi to his hotel. He gives me a kiss on the cheek and says he is looking forward to Sunday. I smile and tell him try not to think too badly about me later in the day as he is fighting sleep in his meeting. "Thinking badly about you would be impossible", he says while closing the door of my taxi and blowing me a kiss.
As the taxi swish me home, I am trying to organize my upcoming weekend. Currently I have 4 dates ( Mr. M. has also invited me to dinner Friday and Saturday night) planned in next 3 days. Can I do it … YES WE CAN!
Up next details on the weekend
Your Italy Specialist
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