Anne van Kesteren

The Bar

“Dos más por favor!” The bar was not much more than a wooden shack, hold together by nails and duck-tape. Ernesto Guevara served as wall decoration and a TV on a plastic table took care of the music. The channel was MTV before MTV turned bad, but different. It played the local hits, non-stop. The appeal of the place were not so much the cheery locals taking shots and getting utterly wasted at four in the afternoon, no, the bar was situated next to the harbor. You had a straight view on all river activity as well as the island across. We had accumulated two bottles of Águila so far, but they were empty. I tried getting her attention again. She did not seem to care much, but who would, with a bar like that, serving silly people way early. Nevertheless, she had to earn, so she fetched two cold ones from the fridge and put them next to the empties. No smile.

On the water a myriad of boats seemed to run into each other all the time, but did not, until at one point, two small boats did. Lots of shouting and amidst the confusion a box got stolen from one and while trying to take it back the man fell overboard. Much to the amusement of the surrounding boats. And us, we laughed, what else could we do? “Piratas!” said the drunk, and their table laughed. Not loud, closer to giggling, and I laughed at that. Amused by the amused.

People walked through the bar constantly as if trying to get somewhere. The entry and exit were the same however, one passage way. A woman hoped to sell us a chicken. A man a baby anaconda. We thought the place was great. “Dos más por favor!” As I wandered through the bar trying to find the restroom, the drunk invited me for a shot. I declined and unexpectedly she helped me out and pointed to a piece of wood. It shielded a toilet maybe a little higher than a foot tall. I aimed and hoped for the best.

Having gathered six empty bottles we started playing a game. Carefully placing, stacking, laying down the bottles. Encouraging and congratulating each other. I put the salt container on a bottle. Bold move. Curious onlookers. Who would win? Little did they know it was us versus them. Convincing the bar we were playing an actual game. Having confused the locals we got up and left. Time for dinner.