Among drunkards and other people




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Copiapó 15.07.02

Copiapó 14.07.02 8.30 p.m.
Have just been out eating. My landlord had just warned me. Stick to the Plaza. In some quarters you would - and he grabbed my arm very instructive. Warned in this way I didn't go far and was at no time on dangerous grounds, but challenged maybe fait all the same - a little. Besides 'restautante' and 'menu' not much advertised for an eating place. And no one was eating - except me. I had the whole menu, this time with 'entrada' which showed to be a kind of cold potatoe salad.
The 'cazuela' was this time with some pork, I think, the main course, 'segunda' was a huge piece of chicken with rice and 'postre' a reddish pudding with this unavoidable caramel-a-like sauce. When you've eaten your way through such a menu, it's hard to walk afterwards.
But let me describe the surroundings. More than half full, drunks all over. Just in front of me is a baldheaded, longhaired chilean - I see this when he takees off his checked patterned cap - and speak to a greyhaired ditto. According to the depth of their conversation it's not the first bottle they share. But they pay no heed to others. To my right there are several with stiff eyes. One is trying to make contact but I avoid him. He speaks several times but I pretend not to hear.
Suddenly someone I didn't notice arrives, sits at my table and speaks. I don't react and a moment later the waitress arrives and, after a long invading request she gets him to his feet and pushes him gently through the door. While this happens we listen to a knocking bass from a roaring jukebox, and we follow the Davis Cup match between Chile and Mixico on a wide TV screen in both ends of the room in silence. In a situation like this I had some cheap points at the police station yesterday by immidiately recognizing Marcelo Rios, a chilean who for a short time was no.1 some years ago. But here I'm the only one watching. Actually Chile was in the lead 2-0 before the double, which they lost I think, but now Nicolas Masú, who we watch play, can make the difference, if he wins. He had won first set and just when I start eating he breaks the mexican serve 5-4 and serves for the match.... Success. No reaction. As I'm on away ground I stay off the loud cheer - and so do the others. The drunken conversations continue without notice. I never no if the match was settled here or if a third set was needed in Davis Cup matches?
Besides a commercial break a gentleman enters who seems unwanted. Here's most likely been here before. A man at the bar where the waitresses sit from time to time take action immidiately. A firm grip with one arm at his back. Anyway he can hardly get the chap out of the door. Several guests
come running hoping for a good fight and the lovely waitress arrives with a club the size of a baseball bat. The man doesn't show up again.
The two in front of me are running out of speaking matters and start looking in my direction, but I watch a syncronized american film for which someone has turned up the sound - while in the meantime the jukebox roars. When they have no response they soon raise and leave. One finds the door pretty fast but the other criss crosses the room a couple of time before finding the door. I swollow the last bit, pay and leave with a grateful nod at the waitress, she nods back having seen I've tiped her 200.
Let me describe my room. Three different colors and wallpaper with a border at the bottom meter. The window which is at the corridor, is a kind of doubble type. Where normally would be a window pane, there is another window, with no pane but filled with a wooden plate and with moscito nets on the outside.
To prevent people from entering the room this way there are bars outside. Just like a prison, and that's perfectly all right I think, cause who wants to break into a prison? But back to the colors. The walls are painted a light dull orange color. The ceiling and the door in another dirty yellow grey color, while the windows shine in sunshine yellow even it's a bit faded. If it wasn't because the window never was finished and the lower part of the frame was left the same dirty yellow grey color as the ceiling, it would have been a bright spot - but now... In other words: it's REALLY ugly. How come? It demands real talent.

Street life in Copiapo A respected town must include a "Plaza"