On Friday night, we attended the 50th birthday party of our friend Alberto. Alberto, a carbon copy of Tony Shaloub, decided he wanted to make his festa African themed. He has spent a lot of time in Africa and has started a foundation to help African children.
He had indicated to me weeks ago that to come to the African party, we must dress in African attire. Well, first I thought that this was the most politically incorrect party I will have ever attended. And then worried that I didn't have anything African.
Meema, the woman that I am living with, hooked Michelle and I up with awesome outfits. We both wore big African necklaces and African cloth as shawls. She even had this hat with beaded braids that I wore. Meema wore an African dress, jingly huge jewelry and a turban. I even corn-rowed Michelle's hair. All this time, I felt that we would be shot on the way to this party. A bunch of whities dressed up like Africans--not a good plan.
But as we approached the party (which by the way was held in their home, a beautiful villa in Impruneta, right outside of Florence) we saw huge canopies made with African drapery. We were told where to park by someone in a galabiyya. There were turbans and hijabs galore, and beaded headwear and jewelry. If you were not in an outfit (about 5 out of 200 people), you definitely stood out.
In the canopies were silken pillows and cushions to sit on. Belly dancers performed every hour. Unlimited wine and food. The Italians can't help being Italian when it comes to the food so there was Tuscan bread, salami and cheese. Yet they did manage to fix some Morrocan food like meat with prunes and arabic rice with peppers.
There was a couple of women singers that sang songs like "It's Raining Men". Italians, even the ones that speak zero english, somehow sing with perfect pronunciation. They also break out in line dancing at times, no matter what song is playing. It was a blast.