Doug McLean World Tour 1999-2000
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Date: Friday, October 29, 1999 9:47 AM
Subject: Wedding in Treviso: Oct 16, 1999

Current Date/Location: Oct 29, 1999. Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina.

NOTE: Thanks to my friend Stewart/AA Cargo Slug...who identified my ignorance when it comes to frescos vs. murals. A fresco is painting on freshly spread plaster before it dries...all else could be murals. Thanks Stew...hmmmm...who knew that cargo people knew so much? Go figure...

Oct 16, 1999: Wedding Day!

First thing...I went alone into town to use the internet...yes...sometimes I actually spend sometime online. But obviously not much time...I am typing this journal entry on Oct 29th...so sue me.

Returned to the hotel and did something I hadn't done in 3 months: I put on a suit!!! ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

Now, before you think I am so vain as to carry a suit in my backpack...I had my parents FEDEX it to Eileen...and she had brought it (with some considerable compaining...aparrently she could have better used the space for either her clothing...or for items that she would have purchased in Italy...either way...I appreciated her for bringing my suit, shoes, ties, etc.). I felt silly...here I am, a confirmed backpacker...suddenly forced to look respectable (good thing I had gotten a haircut in Firenze...I had
been looking kinda shaggy). Anyway, the suit fit and I was dressed up like a prize pig ready for the show.

We went to Zio ?'s house at 2pm for a before wedding reception...all the bride's family (bride being Claudia...who has not been mentioned until now...she wasn't around much before the wedding...go figure...guess she thought she had more important things to do than tour us around Italy...go
figure). Again...I was forced to eat formaggio, proscutto, and pastries...just to be polite...c'est la vie. After gorging myself...ummmmm...I mean snacking lightly...we all hopped in cars and headed as a procession to the church for the wedding.

At the church, we arrived shortly before 3pm (time of the wedding)...Claudia (bride, remember) was in the last car...everyone parked and gathered around the entrance to the church. Claudia's car pulled up...she got out...walked straight into the church with her father...we all followed quickly into the church...and the wedding started in 1 minute...no kidding. It was the quickest entrance and procession to the alter that I have ever witnessed. The groom was already there...the minister walked in immediately after the
bride...and the wedding was on! Now, being a good Catholic wedding, it took about a hour and had a communion...but things basically moved along pretty quickly. It was lovely...the bride and groom looked very happy...the only strange thing was that the entire ceremony was in Italian...no translation...go figure.

We went outside after the wedding (the bride and groom stayed inside...and did not walk back down the aisle like in an American wedding) and the fun began! Their car had been completely wrapped in paper and shrinkwrap (cargo guys will know what this is...like saran wrap...but bigger and stronger)...and there was a decorated bike with a trailer that had a sign saying "Just Married" on it. Inside the open trailer was a toilet. Also, a banner was suddenly placed infront of the church door that said

 Claudia e Stefano (husband)...like the type of banner that high school football teams must run through at th start of the game...same theory. Additionally, at the bride and groom (ahhhhh...the good old days of actually throwing rice instead of that damned birdseed that animal lovers insist we throw...a few
dead pigeons never hurt anyone!). Now...we were outside the church for about a half hour before they emerged...so accidentally some rice was actually thrown at Eileen, Norma, Julie, and other people...sometimes by me...sometimes by everyone around...quite the jovial atmosphere.

Eventually Claudia e Stefano came out of the church...through the banner...and were pelted by rice, candy, and whatever anyone had in their hands. They were good sports about the whole thing and took it all in stride. Pictures were taken by the professional photographer of the family, wedding party...and all. During the family picture Claudia insisted that Norma, Julie, and I all be in the picture...it was a touching moment for me...we were guests of the family...therefore we were treated like family...very gracefully Italian.

Stefano hopped on the bike, and with Claudia sitting on the toilet on the trailer, went for a lap down the street and back. It was funny...and Stefano (not being a natural born bike/toilet driver) crashed the bike into the curb...no injuries...but it was lots of fun for everyone watching. Then they had to unwrap their car...quite a task...eventually it was accomplished...to find that the car was full of balloons...which were
released and popped by the kids (helium was not used).

...then it was off to the Restaurant for the Dinner!!!! Here is the basic info...provided in a user friendly format...ie I have the menu, and I'm a-gonna type it out for you!

Restaurant: Antica Osteria Ester Muri

Aperitivo:
Delixie in Giardino
(Appetizers in the garden...formaggio...fried stuff...wine
(ofcourse)...meats...etc).
This Apertivo was from about 5:30 until 7pm...then we moved into the restaurant and were seated. I sat across from Eileen, Norma, Julie, and Eileen's parents...and next to Eileen's cousin Stefano (not the one getting married) and another cousin. There was a band that played at various points during the dinner. Dinner at all points was brought to us in our seats and served. Each course was on a big tray or plate and they gave us a small helping of each...now...normally I hate small portions of food...but when you have as many courses as at this dinner...it was a relief.

Antipasto: Fantasie di Nonna Ester
Translated...this means Fantasy of Grandmother Ester...this lady must have been pretty hungry, because her Fantasy consisted of assaulting us with different kinds of food for over an hour...the courses kept coming...I kept looking at my menu (which I am typing out for you...) and asked...what is this...and was greeted with the response "this is still the Fantasie di Nonna Ester.

Primi Piatti:
Risotto con Funghi
Tortelli Misti
Gnocchi con Cinghiale
Cannoli con Formaggio e Noci
At some point about here...I lost all track of what I was eating...I can't remember whether I liked or hated the Risotto vs the Tortelli...believe me...I liked most of what they put infront of me...trying to be a good
ambassador of the US, I continued to eat most of what they had for me...oh, what I do for my country!

Intermezzo:
Fesa Salata con Rucola e Grana
Vitello tonnato con Verdure in Agrodolce

Sgroppino
This was some sort of alcoholic sherbert/wine thing...I sniffed it and took a small sip...not like anything I have ever seen in the USA...go figure.

Secondi Piatti:
Emincee Agli Aromi
Capriolo in Salami
Fragianello

Contorni Misti
Don't ask me...don't remember.

Desserts:
Formaggio
Macedonia con Frutti di Bosco

Caffe
 

This was all accompanied by the following wines:
Bianco del Montello, Rosso della casa, and Fragolino.

We arrived at 5:30...sat down at 7pm...and did not finish until after 12:30am. OK...let me describe some of the atmosphere at this event:

At many points during the evening, everyone would start banging knives and forks against the plates and glasses...and would not stop until Stefano and Claudia had gotten up and kissed. (quite a nice tradition). At one point, they did something like a "this is your life" and had pictures and writings o some flipcards...this seemed to embarass the couple (the obvious intent of the friends)...but again...it was in Italian without translations...go figure. They also had a part where Stefano was covered by a big cloth...his head poked out and on that side was the clothes of a small child...Claudia had to stand behind him and provide the hands for the child (without being able to see what she was doing...her vision obscured by the big cloth that the friends held up)...then they had to do various tasks...comb hair, brush
teeth, wash face...and finally shave (razorblade was taken out of the shaver...thankfully)...it was very funny to watch. Eventually, everyone started dancing...and since I had been brought in as a "hired gun" to dance at the wedding I got up to do my duty...dancing with Eileen, Norma, Julie, and Eileen's mom...it was lots of fun. The bride and groom gave everyone a gift...mine was a small glass fish...very nice...needless to say, the parents, and uncles got bigger gifts (darned it!). Anyway...we finally left
there somewhere around 2am or so...I don't remember...I was so full I could hardly move or walk

It had been without a doubt the biggest, best, most grand dinner I have ever had the pleasure and honor of attending (at the end of it, I joked with Eileen that I would marry her just for the wedding dinner...she declined my proposal...so now I am on the look out for Italian girls who want to get married quick...I am always hungry).

Seriously, I was moved by the warmth and hospitality of the entire family. Eileen...when you read this...please accept my deepest thanks for sharing both your time and your wonderful family with me...I really, sincerely appreciate it. Please also convey those thanks to your entire family, I will never forget their generosity and spirit (especially Zio Bruno!).

Doug