Beyond Beyond; Episode 60

Bolinho de Bacalhau and A Coke 

By late afternoon Rich entered the west edge of Torres. He pulled into a cafe. It was a yellow building, It had an open air bar and dinning area with green posts and a palm leaf roof.

There were no customers.

A small bartender with a boney face sat at a stool behind the bar.

Rich leaned his head inside the open air dinning room. “Do you speak English.”

Yes,” the bartender said. “Come on in. What do you want?”

What is your specialty to eat?” Rich said.

The best bolinho de bacalhau in Torres,” the bartender said. “You want some and a beer?”

I saw that in Rio,” Rich said, “but did not try it. I’ll try an order and a Coke.”

In five minutes the bartender brought the bolinho de bacalhau with a small cup of pink mayonnaise.

What is in the mayonnaise?” Rich said.

A little spice,” the bartender said, “not much.”

Rich dipped the bolinho de bacalhau into the mayonnaise and took a bite. “Perfect.”

Are you from United States?” the bartender said.

Yes,” Rich said.

Not many Americans come here,” the bartender said.

Rio,” Rich said, “Americans like to have a good time when they are on vacation.”

Why do you come here?” the bartender said.

I sailed here,” Rich said. “I wanted to get off my boat for a while.”

You ever been to Rio?” the bartender said.

Yes,” Rich said, “and once is enough.”

Me too,” the bartender said, “Too fast. I work in Sao Paulo as a waiter for two years and learn to speak good English. All I want is small place far from big city.”

Rich smiled and dipped again and continued eating as they talked.

I was here early the morning,” the bartender said. “I saw you go by. I thought you might be American; you dressed different.”

And I’m white?” Rich said.

That too,” the bartender said. “A white man can come across trouble in the mountains.”

Yeah,” Rich said, “I came across trouble.”

But you are okay?” the bartender said.

No problem,” Rich said.

They only rob you,” the bartender said. “If they hurt you it is bad for business.”

Yeah,” Rich said, “I’m sure to go back.”

That is a joke, right?” the bartender said.

It is a joke,” Rich said. “And the only thing they got from me was the price of two bananas.”

But still they robbed you?” the bartender said.

No,” Rich said. “I got the bananas.”

I think you are proud of that,” the bartender said.

Rich said, “I’m going to sail around the world. I will do it, but if those two men who tried to rob me would have been successful, if I could not have retrieved the money now, I would have done it after I was done sailing.”

I hope you are satisfied with the service,” the bartender smiled. “I am older than you and I don’t give out advice, because the more advice you give the fewer customers you have, but you will never come this way again. So here is my advice; some things must rest. Don’t go back to pick up a centovo when a pot of reals is waiting for you some other place.”

Rich swallowed the last of the Coke. “Thanks.” He stood to leave.

Did you hear me, my friend,” the bartender said. “It will make you’re mind a lot less complicated.”

Don’t allow my reaction make you think the words you said are not weighing heavy on me,” Rich said. “It comes as a surprise.”

One more thing,” the bartender said, “Don’t look for a centovo when you already possess a pot full of reals.”

Rich paused.

Do you know what I say?” the bartender said.

Yes,” Rich said, “and you are right; the best bolinho de bacalhau in Torres.”

But you haven’t tried the others,” the bartender said.

Why look for centovos when you already have a pot full of reals,” Rich said.

I think you will have a good journey,” the bartender said.

It would not have been good without your bolinho de bacalhau.” Rich said.

Rich straddled the motorbike, kick started it, and eased away.

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