Piece of cake

It’s still winter in Argentina, not that you’d know it. The season doesn’t officially change until Spring Day on September 21st but the fresh, sunny weather would put a smile on anyone’s face. The three of us were happy when we awoke early last Sunday morning, Children’s Day, and I was dispatched to get medialunas for breakfast. Dulce de Leche ones, preferably.

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There are three pastry shops within a block of our front door. One is right next door but since the weather was beautiful, I decided to walk round the corner to soak up the Sunday morning vibe. One customer was ahead of me so I browsed the bulging display cabinets. Within minutes the tiny shop was crowded with grannies buying box-loads of pastries. Shelves emptied as trays and trays were handed across the counter. I stood, waiting to be served, taken aback by the frenzy and sheer quantity of pastries purchased. Waves of grannies entered, jostled and were served as I stood gaping, becoming more impatient by the minute. I then noticed that my adversaries were holding numbered tickets. I spotted my mistake, elbowed my way through the hurly-burly to the ticket dispenser and tore off my number, E00.

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I edged back up the flank and positioned myself at the counter, waited, watched and most importantly listened for the next few minutes for my number to be called. Three white-aproned servers shouted numbers seemingly at random: 86, 78, 97. I was confused by my number. Was it cero, cero cero or cien (100)? I tried to listen above the hullabaloo but couldn’t discern any pattern until I heard 11,3,22. I’d missed out again. No longer smiling, I decided to retreat and went to the Disco supermarket across the road. Pastry purchase is a serious business in Buenos Aires.

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