You go to eat at your neighborhood Applebee’s or Macaroni Grill. It’s probably unusual to bump into anyone you know.
That’s not the way we roll here. Take yesterday. We met up with some friends around lunchtime to attend yet another festival (seems like something is always being celebrated here—this time the Founding of Cuenca has shut our fair city down since Friday). Rather than eat from one of the street vendors we decided to patronize a rather new restaurant a short distance away.
No sooner had we ordered—hamburger for me, chicken tacos for the others, when some other friends wandered in and sat at the table next to us. These two have very different diets. He gets a hot dog; she orders a black bean burger with no bread (gluten free—she brought her own big seaweed wafers for accompaniment).
The six of us are chatting when another couple I met once months ago comes over to reintroduce themselves. After visiting briefly with them the four of us are settled into our meal and engaged in a free-ranging conversation that has somehow veered into the subject of Zen Buddhism.
We feel another couple standing behind us. We turn around but don’t recognize them. New in town, it’s a Baptist minister and his wife inviting us to church service on Sunday. Talk about interesting timing--------.
As we’re getting ready to leave, our massage therapist and her husband arrive, then outside we bump into other friends who are unloading musical equipment from an SUV. We chat briefly about getting together soon to sing and play.
All that activity in an hour. And this was somewhat of an off day. The last time we were in this establishment we knew and spoke to almost every customer there.
After lunch we wandered through the festival. Thousands of people. We didn’t know a soul.