Thursday, August 19, 2004


I must confess…I’ve been a low-down, two-timing scoundrel these past weeks. But don’t worry. It won’t affect my marriage; just my coffee breaks.

My love and fidelity toward Bar Alcázar and its fabulous cafés con leche have been tested and found wanting. You see, Bar Alcázar closed for two weeks’ summer holiday this month and I was forced to seek another spot for my morning coffee. Bar Gema seemed the logical candidate to fill the gap.

Bar Gema is the new kid on the Cabanillas del Campo bar block. Unlike Bar Alcázar, it is sparkling new, surically clean, and run by a bartender who might be the only person on earth more shy than I am. I initially scoffed at this audacious attempt to penetrate the Cabanillas del Campo market that Bar Alcázar has satisfied so ably for so many years. But my principles have limits; and two weeks without an out-of-the-house coffee break is a limit that I wasn’t interesting in pushing. So I went to Bar Gema.

And I’ll be damned if its café con leche isn’t better than Bar Alcázar’s!

I wasn’t prepared for this. In fact, it left me with a bit of a dilemma. I couldn’t just turn my back on Bar Alcázar. I’ve been going there every morning for the past year, and this is a very small town. To make matters worse, the brother of Bar Alcázar owners José and Antonio lives directly across the street from Bar Gema. On the other hand, I wouldn’t dream of turning my back on a café con leche as magnificent as Bar Gema’s. That would be too big a sacrifice in the absence of concrete proof of an afterlife.

In the end, therefore, I decided to follow the example of Brigham Young and spread my affection equally amongst both mistresses. I will, for the foreseeable future, visit Bar Alcázar one morning; Bar Gema the next. This seems a solution that’s both workable and equitable.

I just pray to God that nobody opens another bar.


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