Topic: "Harry's Bar-Venice" (2)
In addition to natural wonders, Frodo has a number of establishments, shall we say, created by Man, which call him to enter and to explore. The prime example would be "Rick's American Bar" in Casablanca, where Frodo would be "shocked" by the gambling, and enthralled by the singing of "Le Marseille." In London, "221-B Baker Street" leads to the door where Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce imitate Holmes and Watson. Frodo has a case that would challenge even the Master of Deductive Reasoning. What Halfling would not want to enter the parlor at the "Mustang Ranch," and to consider all of the possibilities, whether or not Dolly Parton was involved?
"Harry's Bar," in Venice, was a new one for Frodo. Two charming ladies from Chicago first mentioned its' existence to Frodo when they introduced the term "Bellini" into his vocabulary. This particular cocktail, unique to Harry's, was the mixed drink to have in a land known for its' wines. Frodo inquired of his authentic Italian Tour Director, Enrico, about the location of said establishment. Asking a Neapolitan about anything on the East Coast of Italy is to invite a comparative discourse which wanders from the intent of the original query. Eventually Frodo and Sam were directed to the proper street, which was as precise a piece of information as they could expect to receive.
Harry's is not a big place, and there were lots of people milling about searching for an appropriate place to sit. Frodo found a large corner booth and pushed Sam to the far side. Eventually they were joined by two Americans, two retired school teachers from Rollins, Wyoming, who were traveling in the same tour as the Hobbits. All four were in search of the "Bellini" of fable and fame.
The waiters were all clad in white westcoats and the gentleman who approached Frodo knew what Frodo wanted before he was able to inquire. Bellinis, Frodo was told, were made from fresh white peach nectar and sparkling wine. The drink cost 14 Euros. Frodo quickly computed 14 times $1.30 and determined that this once-in-a-lifetime drink would set him back approximately $36.40, since he was also paying for Sam.
"What the heck," said Frodo, "it's only this play money, anyway."
The four travelers toasted each other when their very conservatively sized libations appeared. Each remarked, after the first sip, that the drink was tasty. Frodo thought to himself that it tasted a little bit like an ice cream soda, without ice cream. Sam told Frodo later on that evening that the contents could be duplicated back at the Shire. Frodo was skeptical, perhaps because he was already attempting to justify the capital expenditure which had just been entered into his ledger.
Tonight, for Thanksgiving, Frodo and Sam shared Sam's effort at duplication of the Bellini. Sam had found a bottle of "Aste Spumante" and "Kern's Peach Nectar" at the Grocery Store. They mixed magically and were at least the match of, if not better than, Harry's Bellini.
Frodo is now computing how much he saved. Perhaps he can deduct the opportunity costs from his income tax return next April?
Oh well, at least the Hobbits have seen the inner sanctum in Venice, and the next time he tells the story Frodo will enchance it to reflect the presence of a former KGB Agent whispering into the ear of a mysterious stranger, in the back, in the corner, in the dark, while drinking a Bellini.