A bar it is called, but even here they serve lunch! Every single café I have been to this year has served lunch, the secret to their continued existence, I guess. Though the espressos are so expensive here, this one could probably survive without serving any food. Another late start today, so I will overlap with the lunch crowd, and though all the other tables have been set for lunch, I am not feeling any pressure yet to get my ass out of here.
The waiter wears a red coat. The sugar cube packet has three stunted sugar cubes and portrays the flag of Alabama, remarkably. The coffee cup and saucer are elegantly plain, off-white with no decoration other than a rippled edge under the rim and along the handle. The table top, slightly rectangular, has a brown top that looks like smoke. There are two tables to my left, one is covered by peach-colored napkins folded into conular shapes, the other table sports a brown tray with spare salt and pepper shakers and a stack of napkins waiting to be folded.
The floor looks like plain slate and is streaked with dirty wet footprints. The floor of the main part of the place is much nicer, with the look of dark gray marble with veins of off-white. The interior part is much more darkly lit than the windowed section in which I am sitting. The couch I am sitting on along the windows to my back is rusty-orange colored and the chairs on the other side of the tables along the couch have matching rust-orange seat cushions.
When he gave me my change, the waiter peered at the 50 cent euro of Spanish origin and said slowly, "Cervantes." He repeated it twice as he walked away, "Cervantes."
There is no ashtray on my table. The set table next to me has three glasses upon it, though there are two place settings (the one paper mat that covers the table is the darker peach--or pink may be the color, after all--of the napkins and mats). Two men have been seated there even as I write this. The place is filling up. The waiter serves them a metal tray of long pieces of baguettes and tells them the special is something involving tagliatelle as he hands them their menus. They decide what they want almost immediately, and the waiter comes back quickly to take their order (they are regulars, maybe?). The bar is filled up with people standing next to it, smoking and drinking. A very tall man has entered and shakes hands with one of the waiters.
Outside the wind blows through leafless trees that line the edges of the large intersection.
The place is almost full now...
Price of an espresso: 1.83 euros
Sugar: packet of three sugar cubes
Copyright © 2003 David Sadegh.
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