I was sitting in a bar having lunch today, a place I go about once a week for a menu del dia, quiet, mostly full of local residents and ‘obreros’ (workmen). I always sit at the back, facing everyone else, so I can do some people watching while I have my lunch.
Two young guys came in wearing paint-splattered overalls, and made their way towards the last empty table, next to mine. As they crossed the room they said ‘Que aproveche’, enjoy your meal, to every table they passed, finishing with me before taking their seats. And they really meant it. It may not sound like much but ‘back where I come from’ people avoid speaking to strangers in public places. They’ll talk to their friends but stuff everyone else.
So courtesy, decency, respect – all still alive and well in Spain (stop thinking about it, just move here for goodness sake!) When I finished my meal the painters’ first course was just arriving. ‘Que aproveche,’ I said to them, as I left my table, though I didn’t manage it for the other diners as I made my way out of the bar. Even after 7 years the Englishman inside me still has a long way to go…
And by the way, for all of you eating Turkey today across the pond (well, yesterday now), que os aproveche tambien!