Oldies are playing on the radio. So far we've had Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles with "Hey Jude," the Platters with "Twilight Time," the Rolling Stones singing "Angie," and various old French hits as well. It's a holiday, and I hope the staff is not expecting a lunch crowd, because I am not leaving. They have set all the empty tables inside for lunch, but I am not leaving until every other table has customers sitting at it. I picked this place because they have an upstairs dining room as well, so there should be plenty of room. The place has been relatively empty so far, and there are very few other people here now. Procul Harum has begun performing "Whiter Shade of Pale."
The place is rather oddly decorated, a lot of random-seeming things on the walls, all "Basque" I guess. The main server has a beret on and a red handkerchief around his neck.
The tablecloths they have put on the other tables are nice, light red with floral design stripes across the middle and along the ends. The napkins are cloth and match the tablecloths. On top of the tablecloth, under the napkins, is a white paper mat with little textural diagonal square across it. The ash trays are green, plastic, Heineken. The coffee cup and saucer are plain white, and I was given a packet of two sugar cubes. There is a lot of kissing going on in front of me, among the nearest two people at a table of four.
There is an old poster of the Pyrenees on the large square central column; further down on the same column on another side is some sporting equipment that has been nailed up since I got here -- they are paddles or small rackets of some sort. I guess most of the paraphenalia on the walls is sports related, including soccer and bullfighting. More people are coming in now, and it is getting harder to hear the radio. My table is square, with brown clouds covering the top. My chair is black metal with a clay-colored seat cushion.
Outside is a row of little round tables with red and green cane wicker chairs; half the chairs have more red, and the other half have more green. The sky is covered with clouds and a mustached man sits at one of the round tables. It seems he has ordered an espresso and an Orangina, and he is now smoking a cigarette and trying to emulate Rodin's Thinker. He has the pose right, but he more closely resembles Groucho Marx, actually.
Inside, a spiral staircase curves up to the next floor, and on top of the dessert cabinet is a big bamboo basket filled with footballs.
NOTE: A few minutes later I was told that they needed my table for lunch customers, so I moved to one of the tables outside. I guess with a large train station nearby, it doesn't matter if it is a holiday or not.
Copyright © 2002 David Sadegh.
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