Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Then and Now 64 - Coffee Shops

Then and Now 64 - Coffee Shops
Time: Mid-2007, at my bud's aunt's place.

There wasn't a whole lot to do at my bud's aunt's place, so we spent a lot of time going out and looking around stores and such to find something to do. I've told several stories of our daytime beach walks and market explorations, the mall, the movie theater, and many more, and I have several more stories to tell in other posts. But what I didn't quite detail yet was what happened for most of our nights.

Soon after I arrived, my bud got the idea to go out and get some coffee or tea at a different shop every night until it was time to move to the big city. I thought it was a great idea, and almost every time we had the chance, we went out to have new drinks at new places. In this post, I'll try to remember our times at as many shops as I can.

Store 1

This one was right next to the furniture shop where we stayed. It was a single block away, and the front of the store was open to the elements. I remember us going in one time, trying to order some of the drinks that were a little more complicated to say than strawberry or honey, and having to take guesses as to what we were going to drink before we drank them.

The place had a back room with some computers in it, which I don't know if they were for patrons or staff. The front was a collection of tables under pictures hanging on the walls, and the store was slightly cramped because it was only about twenty feet wide, but it made everything feel more cozy than claustrophobic.

One of the servers was a cute girl who never looked at me for longer than necessary, but I was just as afraid of her as she was of me back then, because when we first started getting drinks at this place, it was still in the middle of my lost two weeks where I was still working on uplifting myself into the man I eventually became.

Store 2

We found this store very far away from the others, maybe a fifteen minute walk away. We first saw it walking by on a little tour of the city, and it was on the corner of two side streets that housed many short apartment complexes. It had some large pillars out front like a Greek temple, but strangely enough, it seemed to be a jazz bar. My bud and I decided to come back later and check it out, because we were heading somewhere else that day.

After a few days of getting lost in that area and failing to find it, we finally stumbled across it one night and had our drinks there. It was indeed a jazz bar, but aside from a few pictures and some jazz piping in from the speakers, there wasn't much else to the atmosphere. The environment was excellent, and all the walls were glass windows from top to bottom so my bud and I could watch a few cars head by here and there while we drank.

Store 3

There was a shopping center with a dozen or two stores in it in the center of town, and it was at the bottom of some stairs that went about twenty or thirty feet underground, with the busy roads of the city winding around it. The stores formed a ring around a center food court area where people were eating, drinking, talking and laughing in numerous intimate groups.

That night, my bud and I took a walk from his aunt's place all the way over to the court, and we had a peaceful evening of drinks from a local hole-in-the-wall coffee house. It was so delicious that we actually came back with one of his college friends (who was also visiting the country) so I could practice my local language, and though I made many mistakes, I was improving rapidly and happily.

That's all I can remember for now. For every other night at my bud's aunt's place, I either mentioned the shops in other Then and Now posts, or we ate at a restaurant instead, or we just went back home to eat something his aunt had prepared, then play Guitar Hero.

I know it was just drinks, but as a married man, even getting a single night like the ones I had every night back then is a trial. I think after my son is on the plane to go to college, the first thing I'm going to do is go back to my bud's aunt's city and have the biggest drink that one of these stores can provide, to celebrate my newfound freedom.

As for today...

I woke up at 7:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I watched DVDs with my wife.
I played cars with my son.
I surfed the net.
I roughhoused with my son.
I went to work by train, and played video games on the way.
I taught students.
I came home by train, and talked with my co-worker on the way.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I started a load of laundry.
I played video games.
I slept.

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