Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Last night I met some of the “original” books@café (see above) guests. Sitting opposite of me was Omar no. 1; to my immediate right Omar no.2; and on his right was a New Yorker fittingly named Aura (but spelled Ora). Apart from the latter, who joined the gang in 1999, these characters have frequented the bar/bookshop/restaurant since its inauguration in 1996. They have all, at one time or another, worked as bartenders/waiters there, and still hang out there to the extent that, I presume, they could be considered part of the furniture. They all share the view (not uncommon amongst people who see themselves as the original gallery) that the atmosphere of the place has imploded ever since the early twentieth century. And I also painfully realize that ethnographers working with, say, purist Muslims get away with a cheaper bar tab.

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