Thursday, March 20, 2014

Always Pack Your LBD

That would be "Little Black Dress" for those who don't know.

Yes, I know that I said I wasn't going to be here for two weeks or so. I was taking a short blog break to recharge my batteries. I didn't know if I was going to have internet access to even blog if I wanted to. But I do have internet access and I have a story to tell you. And a reminder.

If you are traveling, always remember to put into your suitcase some form of Little Black Dress. You never know if you might need it.

We arrived at this place on Tuesday. It was dark when we got here but I knew this would be waiting for me on Wednesday morning. We were greeted by dogs and in-laws and hugs and the prospect of warmth and pretty much endless sunshine, which are things that have been sorely lacking in our lives the past few months....the sunshine and warmth, not the dogs and in-laws. And as we were getting settled and petting animals and giving a huge sigh of relief that the travel had been uneventful my MiL said, "Well, tomorrow night we have been invited to Gay and John's home for cocktails, a guitar concert and a light supper. I know it is your birthday tomorrow and we don't have to go but it might be fun. Just let me know what you want to do and I will tell her in the morning."

Now, I try not to be stupid whenever possible. Sometimes it just cannot be helped, hence my constant battle with paying repair men to fix things that I could have done myself. But in this instance, I was not going to be an idiot. Because when my MiL refers to Gay and John's home she means the residence of the Australian Ambassador to Peru.

Yes, you read me correctly.

The Australian Ambassador to Peru.

Let me think about this for a moment. Think, think, think, think. I have the chance to go to the Australian Ambassador's residence to listen to classical guitar music and eat food and possibly drink good wine. I may be an idiot but I am not THAT much of an idiot. Thank goodness I packed a black dress and ballet flats.

This may be one of the more surreal experiences of my rather odd life. We arrive and I try to slide gracefully out of the car. Thank goodness the street is dark and no one, other than the security guards with the REALLY BIG GUNS could see my skirt hike up to Alaska. The door to the residence opens as if by magic and we are greeted and motioned up the expansive marble staircase. I felt kind of like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady....only without the fancy dress.

So far so good. I don't even know who is going to be here. I am not sure that I should even be here.

And then here comes this lovely man with gray hair and a bright smile and an Australian accent and he wants to shake my hand and give me a kiss on the cheek. Oh the cheek kissing that goes on in Peru! My cheek has been kissed by the Australian Ambassador.

Perhaps I will just not wash my face tomorrow to preserve it for a bit.

Mr. John Woods is a very interesting man. Kind, generous, easy to talk to. He was severly wounded on the day of the assasination of Anwar Sadat, having been sitting right behind Mr. Sadat when he was killed by his own army officers. I tried not to stare.

His wife, Gay? The phrase that can best describe her would be, "A Force of Nature". So incredibly nice to little old out of place me.

Glass of wine? Absolutely! I need something to keep in my hand so that I look like I belong, not thinking that I hadn't had anything to eat since lunch and lunch had been a LONG time gone.

Appetizers? Yes, I think I had better have a couple of those so that I don't start babbling. I always think that I am uproariously humorous when I have had a glass of wine and no food........No need for me to be TOO unroariously humorous with the Australian diplomats and the man who was the architect of this magnificent house and the Australian ballet dancer and the other people who I don't know what they do but it must be something WAY more important than me and my little photography business.

And before you ask....

No, I did not bring Big Bertha with me. Even I know that it might not be too cool to whip out my big camera and start taking photos of all the cool stuff.

But oh I wanted to. Photo ops EVERYWHERE. I took exactly one picture with my iPhone, you can see it below.

Finished that glass of wine with unexpected haste, just about the time that we were asked to progress into the "living room" (the living room of the Australian Ambassador!!) to listen to the guitarist. I think I can still walk a straight line although I am feeling very mellow. Thank goodness I picked an uncomfortable strait backed chair to sit in. Those couches looked WAY too comfortable. BIG glass of excellent red wine+warm room+comfy couch would spell disaster. Disaster especially in light of the fact that not 1 minute after I settled my ample, black clad bahookie into the chair I was presented with yet another LARGE glass of red wine.

OOOOOOOOO, I think I will. So what if I have had appetizers totalling only about 100 calories in the last 7 hours. I am sitting down aren't I? It's all good.

And then Scott Borg started to play.

Glorious. Simply glorious. The man made that guitar do things that I didn't know a guitar could do. I could have listened all evening long instead of just for one hour. And I was especially mellow because as I sat there, taking in that glorious music.....I consumed that second glass of wine....all the way to the last dregs. Whoo boy. Listen, sip, listen, sip. Cross my legs and kick my father in law in the shins. Sorry Alberto! Try not to look around at the other people. Listen, sip, listen, sip. All gone.

When the concert was done and I arose and very carefully set my very empty wine glass down on a highly polished wooden surface, I was still walking and talking in a coherent fashion thank the good Lord. And there was FOOD!

Have I ever told you about my excessive fondness for little appetiziery things that you can pick up and mound on your plate and tell yourself that you really aren't eating all THAT much because, you know, they are so little. Yeah, I had a plate full of those things.....twice. Bite sized morsels of awesome goodiness. Little empanadas, little bruschettas, little Chinese steamed dumplings swimming in their own dipping sauce, little toast rounds with tiny slivers of Brie cheese topped with a tiny raspberry.....sushi! Hey don't mind me! I am just going to stand here and stuff all of this in my face. Talk amongst yourselves and ignore me!

And then I found the Brie cheese and the tiny squares of perfectly done toast....

Oh my stars and garters and all the saints in heaven! For some, cookies are they drug of culinary choice. For others it might be potato chips. Perhaps it is donuts. For me? Brie cheese. I don't think about the calories. I don't think about the fat. I just grab that knife and hack away. All that oozy, yummy goodness.

For some reason I am suddenly hungry.

Somehow I missed the desserts which I am sort of sad about. But by the end of the evening I somehow had a THIRD glass of wine in my hand....a glass of wine that was ONLY for show. A woman needs to know her limitations, especially when she is talking to the Australian Ambassador or the guy from Brazil who lives in Miami and does something business wise. I had to be able to walk back down that frightfully long marble staircase without falling and killing myself.

And finally it was time to say goodbye. Lots more hugs and cheek kissing, even from people that I hadn't had a moment of conversation with....that would be the architect and his companion. I really did want to talk to him but hadn't had the chance. But I still got a big cheek kiss and hug. Well!

And as we prepared to leave here came HHBL with his hands full of little dessert nuggets....that he gave to Ruperto, our driver. Sniff. No postras! No chocolates!


Can I just say,despite somehow missing all the little dessert things, that was just one fabulous evening!

Dang I am glad that I packed that LBD.



  1. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful time for you to be able to celebrate in Lima! And to visit that beautiful home of the Ambassador in Barranco - wow! The gardens are supposed to be lovely - hope you got to see it in the daylight. Enjoy your time away.

  2. Happy Birthday! What is the story of the FIL in Peru? would be a good story. Perhaps you've already talked about it in an archived post.


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