Saturday, January 06, 2007

la mejor parte del día (The best part of the day) by Ken

After a week here in Buenos Aires, there is one thing I already know I will miss: The café.

Just across the street from our apartment is a café where we go every morning for desayuno. The first day, we went in and just ordered a coffee and a tea. The waitress, Melissa, brought us the coffee, tea, a small plate of cookies, and two small glasses of agua con gas (soda water).

I notice we keep writing the word small. I must re-evaluate that. I do not think it is that things here are small, rather, things in the USA are big. Big cars, Big Macs, big houses, big people, big, big, big.

I am beginning to understand that these are normal sizes. They just look small to us because the USA is a super-sized country. Americans think cookies should be the size of dinner plates, the Porteños think a cookie is the size of a Kennedy half dollar.

OK, back to the café.

Every monring now, I walk to the Avenida Las Heras and buy my Buenos Aires Herald--the English language daily. I go to Balcarce (mi café). !Hola Ken! ¿Que tal? to which I reply, Bien, Melissa ¿Y Vos?

I think what I like most about this ritual is that I feel competent doing it. I understand the questions that I will be asked, the options I have, the responses that are expected of me. It is a nice break from the utter incompetence I am about to demonstrate throughout the balance of the day.

After abour 15 minutes, Helen joins me. We read the paper, study the map, plan the day. There is no hurry in the café. We can stay as long as we like. They do not expect us to keep ordering more, when they see we are done, they clear away the dishes, but it in not to hustle us out. They do not even bring the check until you ask. All this for about $10 (US$3.35). It is really very lovely. There is nothing like it back home, and I do not think there can ever be.


Chas said...

Uh-oh... this bodes ill. (And don't say I didn't already warn you...) The Kerrs may never come back!

emilyeffinconrad said...

if you decide to stay I will come there and drag your asses back.

but I love reading your posts.

emilyeffinconrad said...

this reminded me of you, KK:

no repliques ideas pensa por vos mismo.

Dana said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to start your days there! Enjoy it while you can, because you are going to miss it when, and I say when you come back

ktpitts said...

The unhurriedness in restaurants etc. is something I experienced in London as well, and I miss it. There isn't a single bar in Frederick where I feel I could go to sit and play cards with friends all evening--in fact, I doubt most would even approve of card games in their establishments, just for paranoia of gambling.