Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The small café directly opposite the door to your flat. You had already found it the last time you were here, but this time it has been recommended. You've been here twice already on this trip, but this is your first visit alone.
The four staff seem to have barely enough room behind the counter, but the service is unfailingly efficient and friendly. Every customer is greeted, engaged in conversation and bade farewell, often by all four members of staff.
During a brief lull, the one guy who works here, who has previously established that you are English and who has explained that he was a student in Winchester, comes over to check that your typical (you think) Lisbonese breakfast of café abatando and 2 pasteis are okay. Perhaps because he didn't get to serve you himself, today.
"Is everything in order?"
"Yes, great. Obrigado."
"Do you like Portuguese food?"
"I like pasteis de nata very much."
"Do you know what I miss most, from being in England?"
You misunderstand the tense of his question, and are about to explain to him that you can get pasteis de nata in England, only they are not the same, nowhere near as good, but he continues:
"Baked beans!" He indicates a large plate with his hands. "A proper English breakfast! You can get baked beans over here, but they're not the same."
A discussion about the proportional cost of posting tins of baked beans from the UK to Portugal begins, but is interrupted by the arrival of new customers. Your friend goes back behind the counter, and you get your order in for another café whilst you have the chance.