The reastaurant was on our right; the people came here for lunch after us.
"Sorry guys, there's no free table," said the restaurant owner, "except if you don't mind us setting up a table outside."
The lucky ones came late and they got the best table, while we all sat crammed indoors. We tried to enjoy our meal amidst the muzak of chomping jaws, the cries of the urban peasants shouting out every now and then "hey, koumbare, we ordered a beer, you forgot us". Screaming kids: "Aaaaaaaaaaa I want an ice-cream", and then their parents: "You can't have one, it's too cold."
My wife had recommended the restaurant. At one point, I couldn't tolerate the cuffufle any longer and I asked her: "Are you sure you brought me to the place you'd come to?" She asked me why I was asking. "Because I have the impression you've brought me to a madhouse."
When we eat, we Cypriots have some kind of penchant for talking too loudly, as if the person across us is a kilometre away. Sure, we are a lively people, but it doesn't have to come to this. All the while, those lucky ones were sitting outside enjoying the peace and quiet under the pine trees with the sounds of the singing birds, and they were being served as if they were the most prestigious of the elite.
And I ask myself, weren't they lucky?
I remember a cold wintery afternoon, sitting alone with my family in a cafe by the harbour. Everyone else was sitting outside bundled up in their coats and jackets, talking on their cell phones, talkign to each other, surrounded by clouds of cigarette smoke, while we had the place to ourselves, save the cafe owner's children...