Perks of eating out alone

And why you should do it.

Whenever I find myself traveling to a completely new place, I start wondering where I should go first once I get there. I always try to avoid “must see” attractions because I want to explore deeper, I want to live and be part of that undiscovered and misterious land. And guess what? I end up doing exactly the same things as any other traveler (or tourist, it depends on how you look at it).

Last Saturday I woke up, and driven by my refrigerator’s emptiness, I felt like going to a bakery to have breakfast. Just like any other human being in an extraordinary cold day for Brazil’s weather, I went for the closest option. The funny part is that the closest option is also the most traditional bakery in the small city I’ve been living, and it’s called Berlim.

The day was grey, cold and wet, what got me in a really good mood. Walking to the place, I was surprised by several “good morning” from the locals, who live right by my place but I had never seen before. Birds, that’s right, birds were singing extremely loud, and they actually exist when you take your headphones off. Crazy, huh?

I finally made it to the place and as I was walking in, this huge wave of new sensations took me over, smell of fresh brewed coffee, sound of slicing machines and a crazy pallet of colors. I ordered an orange juice with a misto quente (a Brazilian snack made with heated bread, cheese and ham). I also brought my book because I didn’t want to seem completely alone and hopeless. In Brazil, the culture embraces doing things together, so you will hardly see someone doing something completely alone, unless they choose so.

There I could realize the locals were wearing no armors and shields, they were living like they have always been. Old ladies buying old school candies, dads buying lots of bread for their families and kids running around as if the world was taken care of. All that movement blendered with the set of feelings that first had hit me, and suddenly I was experiencing the city moving, right there, in that specific moment, I think I got it right.

Between my book’s words and bites, I finished my sandwich, looked around for a bit and payed the bill. As I was walking back home I realized that in that one hour, I had lived much more of that city than in the whole year I’ve been living here.