While jet lag can be a cruel traveling companion, she occasionally turns up some gold.
Despite a two day endurance test of travel to get here, we woke up early on our first morning, and set off to find an open cafe.
I am in Sicily with friends, in Isola Della Femmine, a working fishing town just north of Palermo. This cafe is on the waterfront, and does a brisk business with the locals.
It works like this: you start at the pastry end. Grab a napkin and a pastry of your choice (honor system) and munch on it as you approach the bar.
Then order your drink at the bar. Shot after shot of espresso coming forth for the morning workers. Greet your friends. Loudly. Gesticulating. Laughing. (No way was I going to turn a camera on them!)
Toss a couple of euros at the server (more honor system) and make room for the next person.
If you’re a tourist, you take up residence on a bright plastic chair outside to watch the world go by. The subtle rhythms of the neighborhood make themselves evident, the locals getting on with it, we tourists sticking out with our weird clothing and huge camera packs.
You take pity on a pudgy pidgeon and toss him your pastry crumbs. He’s local too, and knows how to work it.
It’s not much to look at, but it seems to be an important hub for the community.
The food is great. The coffee is strong. And they are kindly patient with me as I hack my way through asking for a cup of tea in halting, rusty Italian.
Smiles are an incredible common language.