Thursday, September 14, 2023

View from a Café. Cinque Terre (Part 1)

Parked at a sidewalk café sipping cappuccino I drink in the flavor of the town with the parade of passers by.

Frothingham in Chique Terra

Orders called out as staff preps the restaurant. Surfaces wiped, menus stocked, napkins stacked, a rainbow of umbrellas unfurled.

After 15 minutes he has given up trying to dissuade his granddaughter from pursuing an unreciprocated friendship with a pigeon.

An overweight Jack Russell terrier strains at its leash until both front feet are lifted from the sidewalk. Ready to protect his Chianti sipping owner from a lazily approaching pug in a ruffled pink harness.

Priority One: Selfies. She's stopped at a dozen or so spots on the tiny plaza. All the exact same well-practiced pose and facial expression.

A seagull swoops in and scoops up the pizza crust over which 2 pigeons were arguing rightful ownership. There's a lesson here that I doubt the pigeons learned.

Taking full advantage of four pockets even though the chinos are boa constrictor tight. Front right: cell phone. Front left: vape pen. Back right: wallet. Back left: keys. I can clearly make out 6 keys on a leaning tower of Pisa key ring. 

How do you say, "Your shoe's untied" in Italian. She's striding with such energy that a shoelace instigated stumble seems inevitable.

Six men in black peaked hats adorned with ornate silver insignia, black uniforms heavy with ribbons, sidearms in black leather holsters. Walking abreast followed closely by two black police Alfa Romeo Giuliettas.

Round turquoise rimmed sunglasses and a straw hat worn backwards. One hand holding mommy's; one hand holding daddy's She might only be three but she owns the plaza. And she knows it.

Their investment in their photographs includes the amount of their equipment and the effort to lug it around. Is my satisfaction with photos taken with my iPhone based on laziness or low standards?

He wanted the blue brimmed straw hat. She nicely told him it was not flattering. He stepped inside to see if there was a mirror. She followed. He left wearing the hat. She left wearing a look of exasperation.

When I was a kid, I was told you could tell a man's status in life by looking at his shoes and his watch. If that's true, today I have been in the company of kings. One of them in shorts and a 7-Up t-shirt.

"Desposito" played on a solo clarinet is popular based on the number of coins being tossed into the old man's case. He seems to enjoy playing, coins or not. Is his virtuosity from years in an orchestra or from years busking.

His neon orange Chicago Bulls uniform still has the fold marks from packaging. It's 2 sizes too big for his scrawny 11-year-old body ... but he doesn't care ... he's Michael Jordan.


Join me for coffee in Amsterdam: View from a sidewalk cafe. Amsterdam.


NOTE: Cinque Terre is actually 5 different villages. I've combined the highlights of café sitting observations from three of them (Monterosso, Vernazza, and Manarola) and nearby Porto Fino over 4 days in June 2023.

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