Once a week I like to go hang out at the juice/fritos stand in the plaza. It’s shady, there’s juice, and it’s in a central location. On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 26, I documented my observations at the juice stand over the course of an hour.
Two women and a man are chatting across two tables. The woman who runs the juice stand is sitting in the middle of the conversation, but not saying anything. She’s pulling her bare feet out of her blue Crocs to give them air. She wears a floral shirt and a headband made of fake flowers with her typical denim shorts and white apron.
A guy arrives to make a phone call. He wears glasses and has a pair of sunglasses tucked into the neck of his shirt. He is very sweaty.
A man with a mullet walks up to the minutes stand. He wanted to make a call to a Claro number, but my juice lady only has minutes for Tigo.*
I learn that the patio space we are sitting on is property of the house it sits in front of. The homeowners here could tell the stand owners they don’t want them there at any time. No one mentions paying rent, but I assume that is what’s happening. Or maybe the homeowners are just generous with their space?
The minutes stand is really hopping. When one guy arrives, my juice lady thinks he wants orange juice, but he’s just here for a call. Another three had arrived, but all left quickly – they must have needed to call Claro.
At some point a large lady dog passed out on the ground behind me.
Ants are all over me. This is not normally such a problem at this stand, though it’s pretty typical here in general.
The chatty woman finally moves to the same table as her conversation partner. The other female client that had been at that table gets up and moseys away.
The dog is up. She’s big for a street dog here, brown and white, with very large nipples (although notably not saggy teats).
A man in a red polo and red hat arrives to make a call. My juice lady has been chatting with the guy who’s not drinking OJ today. She has yet to ask if I want anything – not even an “a la órden” today! Maybe this means I’m here often enough that I can just sit without feeling guilty about not ordering a 3.000 COP sugary juice!
Dog’s back down, but alert, just panting away in the heat. The man in red buys a sucker when he finished his call.
A small flock of pigeons snack nearby. One is all-white. I wish they’d come eat the ants by me.
The juice lady was messing with a hose under her minutes cart, and is now doodling on a plastic jar with black permanent marker.
A man in a Colombia jersey, shorts, and Adidas shoes, horseshoe bald with a beard, arrives eating something out of a plastic cup. He carries a silver windshield reflector under one arm, and speaks like a drunkard – loud and slurry.
A woman in a white tube top romper – thin, listless, with sunken cheeks very much looking like an addict – saunters by. The man in the Colombia shirt was already walking ahead of her; I didn’t see them talk, but he turns around and tosses something to her which she easily catches. She goes to sit among/flirt with/try to get money from a group of moto drivers sitting down a ways from here.
A red car pulls up and order a juice – orange, it goes through the press. A guy with a black satchel and a pink polo steps down next to the juice stand. When oranges are being pressed the citrus smell wafts all over, a true delight for the senses. Sugar is generously poured into two plastic cups with the juice. The man takes the brimming full cups into the car – not how juice to go is normally served here, and a major spill risk.
A man in a long-sleeved shirt, motorcycle helmet, reflective vest, and red loafers has both a black satchel and a fanny pack. He pauses at a table to adjust his leather laces before proceeding to the minutes stand. He and my juice lady are exchanging money. I’m afraid he’s taking away what would be the change for the 20mil bill I want to use to buy juice.
Another orange juice is served. My juice lady collects all the juiced fruit halves in a bag she drops at the base of the tree next to her minutes stand.
Two women arrive. The older one orders pineapple juice in water – maybe with passion fruit? I can’t tell what the other orders. The women aren’t from here; they ask about the buses and routes. The juice order I didn’t hear is cancelled. The women check out what fritos are available in the adjacent stand.
My juice lady empties her dish washing basin. I finally order my juice: passion fruit in water.
*see #communication in this post for more information