Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Italian Invasion!

Like a vision of Adonis he appeared in the doorway. Framed by palm fronds he stood, arrogantly aware of himself and the effect his presence caused, at least on one of the group seated around the table. His dark hair fell seductively in impertinent curls upon his neck. His flashing brown eyes brazenly expressed mischief whirling around in his mind. A self-assured, cheeky smile played at his lips.

Immediately, he drew my attention away from the others around my table, set outside amongst the ferns and palms. Shamelessly, he held my gaze, flaunting his magnificence. He knew it. I sensed it. Cockily, he strutted across to the table. I was sharing jovial afternoon drinks with industry associates, tourist industry acquaintances. With not a sign of bashfulness, he introduced himself, only briefly allowing his eyes to leave mine to greet the others present. I invited him to join us.

In the manner of one contented within himself, exuding a brash confidence, he drew up a chair to the left of my own. Fully aware of the inner turmoil I was experiencing, he spoke assuredly, although with a strong accent. The air between us was rife with electricity. Vainly, I tried to remain composed. If I was prone to blushing, I knew I would have been as red as a beetroot. Fortunately, that was not the case.

To my right sat David, someone I’d been friendly with for a couple of months or so. Amongst the others in the group was a woman from a Cairns travel agency. My question to how Andrea discovered our gathering soon was answered. Visiting from Northern Italy, representing his father who owned and operated a tour company in Bagnacavallo, Emilia-Romagna, Andrew, as he preferred to be called while in Australia was a house-guest of Jan, the Cairns travel agent. He was in Australia seeking business prospects for his father's company, Bee Tours. Jan and Giuseppe, Andrea’s father, were friends, having met in Italy, sometime previously and, I later discovered, had enjoyed a short affair.

The sun began its descent as our little party broke up, each going on their separate ways. Jan and I sealed our advance plans. She and her husband were coming to the island for the weekend as my guests to do a “famil”. A “famil” (a bastardization of “familiar”) is an industry term where travel agents, tour operators etc., visit a resort, hotel and the like to enable them to do an accreditation on the facilities for selling on to prospective holiday-makers. It was Thursday afternoon. I was returning to the resort the following day. Jan planned to arrive, with her husband on the Saturday morning. We bade each other farewell. Andrew lingered, not eager to leave. I suggested that he join David and I for dinner a little later, giving him the address of where to meet up with us. Eagerly without further thought, he accepted my invitation.

Almost every time I stayed in Cairns I stayed at “The Outrigger Resort”, which has since changed hands and is now known as “Hotel Cairns”. It was fairly new at the time. "The Outrigger" had a wonderful ambience. The two-storey complex, set amongst tropical greenery, painted a salmon-pink, (now white) with its white wooden shutters boasted private balconies overlooking the gently waving palm trees and other lush vegetation. Each room offered glorious marble bathrooms and every other facility its occupant desired. The resort hotel exuded the true feelings of being in tropical North Queensland. The bar servicing the main restaurant and al fresco areas served the best Margaritas, made from fresh lime juice, of course!

Having showered, dressed for the evening’s festivities the restaurant awaited. Andrea soon made his appearance and we three enjoyed a meal together. We then wandered on to a nightclub. The last we saw of Andrea that night was him enjoying himself on the packed dance floor. Indicating to him that we were leaving, he waved happily and we left him to his own devices, confidently knowing he’d not get lost in the sea of merry-makers. I didn’t expect to see him again.

I traveled back south the following morning, leaving Cairns early for the approximately 2-hour drive back to Cardwell, to catch the “Reef Cat” before it left the jetty at 9 am. Soon I was engulfed by my “normal” island day and all that it entailed. Normal” is not a true description of a day on the island. Nothing was ever “normal”. I would write out a work plan first thing every morning, however without fail, within ten minutes, I’d tear it up and toss it into the waste bin, making an excuse that at least I had tried!

Bob, the skipper of the “Reef Cat”, radioed through to me as was his habit when he was five minutes out for the island jetty to advise me of his pending arrival. As arranged, he always radioed prior leaving Cardwell in case I had any last minute pick-ups for him to do for me, and again he radioed as he departed the Cardwell jetty. The powered catamaran pulled into the jetty, and as usual, I was there to meet any expected guests he had on board. Some holiday-makers chose to travel by road, leaving their vehicles at Cardwell and then transferring to the island by boat. Others arrived by seaplane.

A number of guests disembarked, followed by Jan, the travel agent and her husband. Greeting everyone individually as he or she alighted, once my special guests set foot on the jetty, I started to turn to lead the way up to the resort. To my surprise, one last passenger jumped off the boat onto the jetty. Bearing a wide, triumphant grin, there landed Andrea, in his unabashed glory.

To say I was surprised was putting it mildly. To say I felt pleasantly excited, that also would be putting it mildly!

To be continued...


  1. Hmm, interesting ... will wait with bated breath.

    Isn't it amazing what a sexy accent can do for a man?

  2. lee,
    This definitely has the makings of a tittilating tale!
    I can see myself lounging around in those photos you included here...just to set the mood I'm sure.

  3. Stopping by via Liz's blog. I couldn't have picked a better day. What a great story! I'll be back to read the rest.

  4. To be continued indeed!!!!!!!!!

  5. Wow! He sounds a hunk ! I just can't wait to read what happened next. Lovely pics, btw and a wonderful post title.

  6. That is true, Liz and I'm a little vulnerable when it comes to Italians with flashing eyes as well! ;)

    Rel..I wish I was still lounging around up there. The Outrigger was a lovely resort hotel, and still is by the looks of it in those pics. nice to meet you...I'm glad you dropped door is always open so I look forward to seeing more of you. :)

    Do I detect a note of indigation there, Peter? ;)

    He was, Welsh...and he knew it! ;)

  7. Hi Lee,

    Lets hear it for sex apeal.


  8. Yummy tale with no food!!!!!!

  9. Hear! Hear! Janice! I second that! ;)

    Well said, Lady Di...very well said! :)

  10. These to be continueds have to stop! You need to sit down, and write till your fingers won't type anymore the entire tale!!! I am impatient lol....... He sounds so delightful

  11. Hahahaha... AM! Now, listen here..."Days of Our Lives" has continued for years and years! ;)

  12. Oohh, do I sense some passion in flower? (sorry...smirk)

    Looking forward to hearing what happened between the sexy Italian and the Island lady...

  13. Gidday lee,

    Hey what goes on. There's now a second post with a "to be continued" with it. How come huh "The Italian Invasion" starts and "Reaching Out To The City Lights"...Chapter Twenty has been completed and I'm now waiting with "baited breath" for Chapter 21. I'm sorry but I'll soon need a white board to keep score on what's happening where!!

  14. Grab your box of chocolates, Robyn and settle in! ;)

    Now, now, Wazza...I've gotta keep you on your toes! ;)

  15. Hi Lee
    Nicely written introduction to the Italian invasion. I think the outrigger (Hotel Cairns)is very popular ? I was there a few years ago at a national conference and I felt very relaxed!!.

    The town as I recall had very welcoming laid back style which we found delightful.

    I recall visiting a restaurant not far out of town ~about 10km's away I think but I can’t remember the bay it was situated on but at high tide the water was almost lapping up at our feet from the table for dinner outside under the stars.

    Sounds like another interesting interlude

    Best wishes

  16. Hi Lindsay...yep, as I said "The Outrigger" as it was named had a wonderful tropical ambience to it. You kind of expected Lee Marvin ( who used to go game fishing every season just about in the waters off from Cairns)to walk through the doors. The marble floors and the white shutters offset by the dark green of the foliage all added to its beautiful effect.

    That restaurant sounds like it was around Machans Beach. Machans is the first beach you come to of the Northern Beaches of Cairns....they go Machans, Holloways, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach, Kewarrra, Clifton Beach and Palm Cove. There are some brilliant restaurants at Palm's the furtherest north of those beaches...then comes Ellis Beach and a few other smaller, undeveloped beach areas before you end up at Port Douglas.

  17. beautiful pictures and I am so into this part of the story.

  18. Hiya Shelly...good to see you as always. :)

  19. Great story with fabulous pictures and a high level of anticipation. Can't wait to hear more about "Adonis.":)

  20. Hi Serena...more to come soon...once I get through the weekend...I hope!

  21. Good Lee, Just now catching up. "And now for the rest of the story" Paul Harvey, Good night!

  22. Hi Lee ~~ Another good story - you are spoiling us with all these great tales. Hope you are doing OK yourself. How is the painting going or isn't it? Take care, Love, Merle.

  23. Hiya Marc and Merle...all is well here...time has been my enemy these past couple of days, but I hope to beat it shortly! ;) Thanks for your comments.

  24. Oh another to be continued saga,leaving us all cliff hanging. Those Italians, very interesting indeed.

  25. Oh, I forgot to say what beautiful photos.

  26. Uh...can we skip right to the bedroom scene...or was it on the beach??

  27. G'day...jmb...this one certainly was, thst's for sure! ;) peeking! You'll just have to wait until the next episode! ;)

  28. One Italian an invasion makes? Must be some Italian.

  29. That he was, gto! ;)

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