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June 9th, 2018

a la orden

In Japan, even before you enter a store, an employee will call out "Irasshaimase!" inviting you in. In Bogotá it was "A la orden!" Around lunch time, employees of the eateries would cruise around with menus--at some distance from the eatery, even--and invite you in.

That's what happened to us with El Patron. Leonardo, who looked like a teen and had a brilliant smile, came up to us and ushered us up the street, around the corner, and into El Patron. When my Spanish got us only so far, he introduced us to Laura, who spoke beautiful English and chatted to us about all sorts of things. She had the best way of saying "egg-ZACT-ly" when I guessed what English word she was searching for. The food was delicious and plentiful and very, very inexpensive. We came back several times, and in our conversations we learned that Laura was from Venezuela (many Venezuelans have taken refuge in Colombia because of the economic free fall of present-day Venezuela).

I loved this message at El Patron:

No hay wi-fi

(There is no Wi-Fi; talk among yourselves)

It's a very them type of message. El Patron is not an on-the-map place. (It's not the "El Patron" that comes up if you do a search on that name and Bogotá. I know exactly where it is, and it's not listed on Google maps even at the highest magnification. Sailing underneath the radar.)

Here's a view from where we sat.

interior el patron

And here is Laura (on the right), with Erika--"not just a coworker, we're truly friends," she said.

Erika and Laura (el Patron)

El Patron was the sit-down place we liked best; otherwise, we liked getting things in the street. Here, arepas:

arepa maker (on bicycle)

They are cooked on a charcoal brazier on the front of a very sturdy bicycle.

And here's a mobile coffee vendor:

Street coffee vendor

Fruits deserve an entry of their own....

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/886779.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

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