Misc wanderings

While walking around this week I’ve learned to orient myself based on what’s in the store windows I’m walking past, if it’s store after store of kids costumes then I’m just east of the main square, if it’s blocks on end of nothing but opticians and eyeglass frames then I am three blocks south of my place. Window after window of custom rubber stamp makers? Ah, I’ve gone too far north, need to turn around.

While trying to get my bearings tonight I was surrounded by a long row of tiny bakeries, each selling just half a dozen of one or two different baked items.

The line of bakeries was broken by a small storefront advertising the best Italian food in Santa Cruz, it was about 7:30pm, early for locals to eat but perfect for me so I went inside.

As is often the case with my habit of dining much earlier than a South American the restaurant was empty except for one man in the corner working on his laptop and loudly singing along with a stream of what I assume was Bolivian folky/jazzy music.

I asked if he was open, he feigned shock, looked around and said something he thought was very funny, and may have been, if I spoke Spanish. He kept talking, when I stopped and told him I can’t speak Spanish he said “si tu puedes!”, (yes you can!) and kept right on going. The list of funny, warm Bolivians grows daily. He brought me a beer and a menu and then snatched the menu back and informed me that I would be having the pizza jamon. Sounds good to me.

He brought me an appetizer empanada, yelled something into the back and went back to singing, full voice.

A minute later the dictionary definition of sullen teen girl slunk out of the back, he stopped singing to tell me this is his daughter, and went right back to singing. The girl looked at her dad, at me, at her dad, looking mortified the whole time. I don’t need to know Spanish to understand “OMG DAD STAHP SINGING WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!?!”.

She then changed the music to an English language alt-pop stream (playing The Marias, who I love) and began making my pizza in full sulky pout.

I started singing along with The Marias, to the extreme joy of her dad. I had a seriously great time, he was awesome, the pizza was awesome (rare in my experience in south america) and her sulk even softened a bit by the end.

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