Sometimes it’s easy to understand what people are talking about while not understanding a word of it. With some observation and imagination you can witness remarkable things. The reality often is more amusing than fiction.
There are some nice little cafés that surround the new market of Tavira in Portugal. Because of becoming hungry we went into one of them. The things we knew on the menu were sold out. We got only head shakes when pointing at these dish names. So we both picked something from the card we never had heard of before. It was served quite swiftly. It looked a bit weird but it was really nice. We promised ourselves not to find out what was on our plates.
Next to the couple that was running the business was an old African man that helped along. There was something wrong with him. Maybe he was born this way, but it might be caused too by things he had gone through in one of the wars that were fought in Angola or Mozambique in the seventies. The memory of reading horrible stories in the news papers is still there.
He did the odd jobs, like getting new gas containers and bringing away empty beer crates and barrels. He was paid with cash money. The couple shouted at him very loudly with every assignment they gave him. Normally people already talk very loudly in this part of the world, but this really sounded like they were angry. But it was all done with smiling faces and the couple shouted at the same level to each other.
When he came back one time, he went up to the counter and laid down more than a dozen ballpoints. Obviously he wanted to sell these to the couple. The lady shook her head and shouted something. He seemed to insist and she looked like getting angry. This made him go and sit at a table with a newspaper. He tested all the pens on it and after that they all were thrown in the bin. The lady, who was watching the scene whilst cleaning glasses, shook her head and shouted something again.
He grinned and took something else out of his jacket. It was a pair of sunglasses with only one arm and he put them on his nose. He made a funny face and the couple laughed at the scene. He made a tour to show everybody in the café what he had. The man of the couple wanted the joker to do something useful. He obviously wanted him to sweep the floor.
But he showed another gem he had in the pockets of his jacket. It was a fake mobile phone in a terrible pink colour. It must have been a gadget for a Barbie doll. He gestured that everybody should be quiet. There was an important phone call!
The lady shouted and pointed at the door. He followed the orders and went outdoors with the toy at his ear. Once in a while he shouted and nodded with a very serious face. After a while he came back and they gave him a glass of wine and a cigarette. He drank silently at the counter and blew the smoke in the direction of the door. The owner of the shop wanted him to smoke outdoors, so he went out again after swallowing the wine in one gulp.
The café closed and my wife and I decided to walk around in the neighbourhood. The weather was great as always. Near the hotel we saw the old African man sitting on a rock. He was wearing his broken sunglasses again and was having another conversation with the toy phone.