At a bunker

2018-10-31 @Travel

I always enjoyed taking meals at a basement. Or call it a bunker. It need not be a glorified bunker either. It need not be a Bavarian beer garten, a Czech pub or a Polish jadalnia. It should, however, give an appearance of solidity. Something built for survival. Brick interiors, solid wood decorum, stern sound insulation. I want the assurance of an uninterrupted repast in presence of full-scale blitzkrieg. And I want the exclusivity.

Many take to eating outdoors, to which I’m largely indifferent. People watching can foster bizarre entertainment. No denying. Yet the configuration feels invasive. Pigeons are not timid to corrupt the grounds. And that’s the disciplined sort. The more malevolent eagerly partakes at the table. One of my favorite São Paulo cafes, veiled by impressive vegetation, frequently saw this mad hatter tea party conundrum.

I’ve largely considered the eating experience as something intimate. Concerning my plate, I don’t welcome comments, analytics, invasion or extortion attempts. An outside, completely exposed setup like the Parisian street-facing burlesque invites all sorts of mischief. No dining setup more opposes a bunker than along the tiers of that coliseum referred to as the circle of life.

Paradoxically, I sometimes welcome outside dining. Even when graced by those pigeons. The Nowy Świat courtyard of the Kraków Karzemierz neighborhood makes for a fine concession early, breezy evening. A round plaza of huts along the interior and the periphery, a crumbling, barely passable plastic chair-table façade, anything more wanting to relish your Zapiekanka in relative tranquility?

Considering the neighborhood, you won’t find a more invasive atmosphere. Yet it somehow works out. Until some oldie, like a magician, extracts a loaf of bread out of the abyss and arranges a picnic for those birds.

In Asia I preferred mostly outside meals. Asia, however, I felt to be governed by entirely different precept. I felt myself at variance with the European/American counterpart, inclined towards unusual conduct. In Asia, my shadow still remains.

Presently, I prefer a bunker for any meal of the day. Breakfast especially. During each of my few days in Prague, I took breakfast at such a bunker, never wanting to leave.

Questions, comments? Connect.