Midwesterner politeness can drive people to curse. I was on a trip in Cinque Terra, Italy trying to get a coffee during the morning rush. I stepped to the side to let all the Italian speaking people who knew what they wanted go ahead, but in the process I broke their system. The barista was pissed! It was like that old credit card commercial where a busy lunch spot is humming at a high throughput until some guy has cash and the system grinds to halt. Finally, she barks in exasperation “what do you want?!” I was inclined to feel slighted and write the place off, but it’s just the rhythm of the place and it’s different from my usual place. As I drank my coffee, I saw a parade of people come in, say their order with the barista’s back to them and their coffee met them at the end of the counter. About 50% of the transactions there was some banter back and forth too, but no eye contact. I got much better at ordering coffee after that. I had a great trip and would go back.
I’m sitting on a tropical island. It’s day 6 of a snorkeling and sun trip. I like life on the rock. The pace is slow. We’re in a casita on the quiet end of the island. The sunrises are gorgeous. Sunset watching spots are elusive so far. We’ve figured out the bus route, grocery store, atm, and getting fresh water delivered. I once again managed to need help to use my cellphone. (Thanks Verizon customer service!) I am inventive when it comes to ways to screw up mobile phone usage and have been the recipient of countless help from kind strangers. It’s another beautiful day with a big sky full of sun. The laundry is hanging to dry. We’re sitting outside comparing approaches to managing the bathroom smell because no paper goes into the toilet: are you a tp burrito person or a tp sandwich person? We found an outdoor shower where we can rinse the sea off ourselves and our gear and help preserve water at the house. But now it’s time to head of for lunch. With two days to go, we remain faithfully invested in the hunt for “the best tacos on the island” but suspect that the top prize will instead be awarded to the oh-so-delicious Quesabirria, an item only sold on certain days of the week.