I observed humanity inside a coffee shop this morning. It was around 10 a.m., close to the time Spain begins to wipe their eyes, stretch their limbs and make plans for the day. I was out on the streets early and did some major window shopping before going into the only opened establishment I could find.
Inside were five busy men, all dressed in white shirts and black bow ties. One very loud and smiley guy waited on customers in the general area, joking and taking orders, another up at the bar, and one large man squeezed churros out of a machine as fast as he could. Churros are like donuts only they are slender, and a hot item.
Two other guys must have been the cooks.
All five kept the place alive with their teasing each other and talking with the customers.
A small tyke about three years old, wavy, brunette hair, wearing a blue raincoat and a fashionable red scarf around his sweet neck, sat at the bar with his doting grandmother. She held his glass in the palm of her hand while the little guy dunked his churros.
Two elderly couples sat in the general area drinking and eating and laughing it up with the waiter.
A beggar came in and went around the room asking for money. One of the couples was about to give him a coin when the churros man told him to get out.
That seemed a bit cold, but they are an annoying bunch of people, and as long as I’ve been here, I’ve seen the same people.
There are also those unfortunates that at least do something; sing, play and instrument, pantomime or get people into a discussion for a few coins.
I’ll tell you later what I’d do if I got caught with no money (won’t happen….don’t worry).
The laughing waiter made some loud comments that I think referred to the man as a nuisance, and then he motioned toward his own pocket as if it was loaded down with coins. So, it may be a scam…who knows, and who is to judge?
I’m afraid I over did my hunger this morning. I saw on the menu, potatoes, broken eggs and ham, and after I asked what was meant by broken eggs and learned they were friend eggs, and came with fried potatoes. I ordered that without the ham. I was disappointed, but it was okay, that the potatoes weren’t country fried but just plain French fries. Then, when I saw the little boy dunking his churros, it made me wonder if he was drinking hot chocolate.
I waved the jolly waiter over and ordered chocolate con leche, thinking I’d get hot chocolate. Well, it was chocolate, all right…chocolate pudding in a cup. The first time I experienced this was years ago in Mexico, and now I know where that idea originated.
Then I asked for a small portion of leche and went about making my own hot chocolate.
I started back to the hotel and within seconds, a downfall of rain poured out of the sky and when I got back I was soaked. It was time to rest anyway.
A few hours later with dry clothes I went out again to look for a restaurant with wifi, and found the place where I was earlier in the week. The manager had given me a free drink to help my stomach, and I asked him if he remembered me. “Yes,” he said and smiled.
I told him I was feeling much better.
“Did you order anything yet?”
“Yes, this.” I pointed to the menu of a fruit tart.
“No, you cannot have that. That is not good for you. You need to have this.” He turned to the waitress and told her to stop and wait.
“But I’m feeling better.”
“No, you need this.” He pointed to white rice and some kind of meat on the menu. “And this drink…with lemon and ice.”
“Okay,” I said meekly. Actually, I admit to enjoying the attention.
I still wasn’t too sure what I’d be served and when he brought it to me, there were three small pieces of meat with rice.
“Oh, the rice looks good. But I don’t want the meat.”
“Yes, the meat is good for you. You eat the meat, too.” He gave me a look that was meant to make me feel guilty of something.
I ate it, and drank the drink. Both were good, and as he walked past me once in awhile, he put his head down and looked sternly into my eyes, like I was the child, and he, at probably thirty-five years old, the parent.
So back to the hotel again to rest and I’m so full that I hope my stomach doesn’t yell out.
Now, here’s what I’d do if I got stuck in a foreign country without means: I’d make a sign that said, ‘ASK ME ANY QUESTION FOR A COIN AND I’LL DO MY BEST TO ANSWER IT.’
Then I’d try to be funny. Would this work?