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.
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.
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.