That Time When I Took My Journal to a Café

Just a random stock photo, because I'm too chicken to take a bunch of obvious photos when everyone's watching me

March 8, 2017

I think I accidentally barged into men's hour. There are tables full of men - Somalis, Indians, Portuguese, Mozambican - and a group of them messing about with the ATM. Presumably they are restocking it (some are in uniform and the rest are looking impressive). There are two other women here, but they are with men...

Oh well, accidentally turning up in 'men only' groups is one of my specialties.

The original plan was to go to Riviera and pretend to be a character from Casablanca, but I was tired and footsore after hunting for a pair of shoes for Dino's wedding, so I succumbed, instead, to the nearest AC/bathroom combo.

So here I am.

The proprietor seems to be mostly toothless in front, and consequently, unintelligible. Well, to be fair, part of the problem is the absence of teeth and the other part if the presence of Portuguese ancestry. I think the Portuguese might be even harder to understand than the Brazilians, but it's a close thing.

Cigarette smoke hangs in the air.

One of the ATM guys is laughing uncontrollably.

The ice cream has melted and re-frozen one too many times.

The chá com leite is as comforting as always.

I feel like I'm being watched by everyone, though that's not strictly true. Some of the ATM guys are pretty focused on their job, and rasta dude in the corner is pretty focused on his lunch.

Oh! Here comes another woman! With a man, of course, but maybe we're on the same side...if anyone's paying attention to such things.

Anyway, I can always make companions of the flies. They seem predisposed to like me; buzzing hopefully 'round my teacup. As long as none of them fall in and drown...

Second round with the teabag. I guess I'll have to go soon. I still have to buy stuff for a birthday cake, track down media people, and probably a couple other things I'm currently forgetting.

But you know, since everyone's observing me, I might as well observe back.

The guy to my right is handsome in a comfortable way. The woman with him has her back turned to me, but she's probably attractive. Anyone who keeps up with their appearance is attractive, even if they don't possess the added bonus of being pretty, and she is well-dressed; conservative black and white skirt and blouse set, the effect being only mildly diminished by the flip-flops and the chipping nail polish.

The other girl, the empregada, is plainly beautiful, no doubts about that. Slender, smooth skin, lovely features. She trails between tables and up and down stairs in pursuit of a little boy - Indian probably - with enormous dark eyes and curly hair.

The people to my left are a mixed group. All middle-aged or older. All speaking Portuguese, though I doubt they're all Mozambican (Portuguese is probably their lingua franca). Then there's the older gentleman sitting alone. His face is austere in repose, but friendly when he laughs with the proprietor.

The Somalis have gone, the rasta has finished his lunch, ATM crew has finished whatever is was they were doing and have moved on. There remain only the proprietor and servers, watching music videos on TV, another group that I can't quite see without resorting to spy tactics, and two handsome guys at the far table. One is a lighter-skinned Mozambican, nicely, though not pretentiously, dressed. The other is probably Indian. Not talking much, just fiddling idly with phones or staring off into space. Oh, there they go. Sauntering off about their business.

Comfortably Handsome has begun telling a story. Can't catch the words, but the expressive gestures and the tone of his voice tell their own tale. Laughter ensues; comfortable, polite laughter.

Chá's about gone.

I should go see about those cake ingredients.

My friend, the sun, awaits.

Tchau for now.


  1. I enjoyed reading these ramblings, and meeting some of the people who shared the cafe with you. :) (Also, I totally get not taking photos where everyone can see! I'm bad enough when I know the people around!)

    1. Thanks for reading! I sometimes wish I wasn't such a shy photographer,'s a hard thing to overcome.

  2. I very much enjoy your vignettes, it's a lovely glimpse into life in Moz. And since I have been there I can see even more vividly.

    1. I miss having you around. It's so much more fun to address my remarks to a real person than to a journal.


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