Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Operation Cover Up at Siena, Story from Italy!

I love DH's writing style so when he wrote a story about our little adventure, as we'd like to call it, during group tour in Siena, it seemed perfect to be published with Siena travel pictures. He consented to me posting it here, what could be better. Siena is a banking town and is also famous for its annual horse races. So, here the scoop...
Romulus and Remus
Operation Cover Up
Location: Siena, Italy
Agents S & D

Agent S had spotted it while walking with the rest of the tour group and signaled to agent D who saw it also and nodded imperceptibly. The quarry had been marked, but the modus operandi needed to be worked out.
They couldn't risk blowing their cover in a foreign country. The cover being of tourists on a tour of Tuscany alongside 50 others - mostly Americans.

Walking the narrow cobbled streets of Siena, like everyone else, they too stopped to take pictures, and point out curious things while trying to work out details of the plan. The operation would go against the direct order of the Tour Leader - who already seemed suspicious of the duo, despite them having two kids in tow. She sidled up to them ostensibly to to point things out or take pictures or even comment on the "cute well-behaved kids". But Agents S and D knew she was on to them.

They tempted fate by snapping illicit pictures inside the 'Santa Maria Della Scala' - the oldest Children's hospital - now a museum, when she had expressly forbidden it, and got away with it.
That emboldened them and pretending to take in the sights amid throngs of other tour groups the duo worked out the details under their breath.
"Oh! look at the beautiful garden ... (hushed) I put the cash in your pocket"
"Fantastic. (hushed) You stay back, I'll walk ahead."
"(hushed) 'Fantastic' really?! Work on your decoy banter" She hissed.

Just then they both noticed she was staring at them very suspiciously now and they realized a real decoy was needed to throw her off or the operation would have to be abandoned. As she sauntered towards them they were emerging into the Piazza de Siena where during a previous operation, the famous horse race - 'Palio Di Siena' had been on.

"I absolutely must have it." Agent S said at her feigned petulant best. Agent D froze.
"Have what?" The dreaded tour leader had silently walked in their midst and was asking with narrowed eyes.
"The dragon scarf. Its my Chinese sign." Agent S insisted. And Agent D marveled at her stroke of genius.
"Alright. 5 minutes - no more!" She relaxed and even smiled a bit as she bought the decoy.
Agent D darted off to obtain one.

After this, walking back to the tour bus, She didn't watch over them, apparently satisfied that things were under control. They were only now putting their plan into action and started their maneuvers. Agent S lagging back towards the slower part of the group with kids - while Agent D on the pretext of snapping pictures darted ahead. Crossing the city street they approached the marketplace. The tour leader was distracted by some other tourists chit-chatting with her, unwittingly assisting the duo - when Agent D quickly sprinted over to the make-shift stall. 
The man's eyes widened - was it astonishment, fear or both.
"That one. Quick!" Pointing at the object, Agent D threw the cash in front of the man, who quickly realized that he isn't in danger today. With lightening speed he wrapped it up and hid it in a plastic bag like any other merchandise. Eyes met again and agent D was off. The man wiped beads of perspiration off his brow.

Back with the group just as agent S was coming abreast. He handed it to her and she quickly put it in his backpack. The tour leader was still preoccupied with other things and the operation was successfully over.

And folks! this is how we came to acquire the beautiful Tuscan tablecloth from a local street market in Siena, flouting a direct order by the Tour leader to avoid shopping stops so the tour could stick to schedule.
Good training too for Junior agents S and D. Now off to Lunch and San Gimignano

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