Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Portuguese Bar

             So, I’ve been slacking on the blog post… Sorry ya’ll, its been a heck of a month!! But I’m back and have some interesting things to share.
              First of all, I meet a super cool Brazilian guy who is also here with nothing todo. By that I mean we are both not working for money or volunteering for a project, nor are we associated with any ngo’s or religious institutions. We are just simply here in Bissau.
            His name is Bruno and he lives next to the Port of Bissau on top of a bar owned by 2 Portuguese men named Truvon and Emilio. They created a small café/bar that seem to be the haven for all Portuguese men here in Bissau (I rarely see women walk in). The Bar is in Bissau Velho (Old Bissau) which is next to the port of Bissau. This neighborhood, and thus the bar as well, has a very Portuguese feel because it was built 'during the time of the Portugues', as people here like to say. It is just about the only place in the country that has 2 story mixed use (residential/business) buildings.  
            At the bar they serve beers, soda, Portuguese pastries and soup. They have a flat screen TV that’s always playing a soccer game. It’s a pretty chill spot. I stop by every once and a while and hang out with what averages out to be 4 or 5 Portuguese guys and my Brazilian friend.
            Most of my time here I have been with Guineans and have been getting more of the Guinean perspective on life. Hanging out at the bar has been a glimpse into the mind of the Portuguese businessman and life style.
            Lets start with business. The main owner, Truvon, is sick and tired of Bissau. It’s hard here for some foreign businessmen if you don’t have the right connections.  Doing anything in this country is difficult simply because of the inefficiency and disorganization. But its also difficult because of the Guinean working mentality, which is very laid back. It's hard to get things done when everyone has a 'lets do it tomorrow attitude'. I would get angry in the beginning when people would make comments of that nature. But the longer I’m here the more I'm learning and the more I understand how frustrating it is to live with this work environment. Anywho, essentially Truvon wants to close up shop, move to Brazil, open a café and retire.
            In terms of personal life,  they are almost all single (because no one is waiting for them back in Portugal) and between the age of 45 and 65. But they have been quick to adapt to Guinean culture in that many of these guys have young girlfriends (20-27 year old). I’ve seen Guniean women throw themselves at them and I’ve seen them walk up stairs to their room with prostitutes. It’s a mixed bag when it comes to relationships for them.
            Anywho, we sit and chat and I get to hear stories about their lives and we talk about everything under the sun.  There’s another Portuguese bar down the street from this one where they all hang out late at night. Just picture this: An older Portuguese man, cigarette in one hand and glass of wine in the other, talking about his life and experiences in Africa.  Sometimes its funny stories, sometimes its serious or life threatening stories. But its almost always politically INcorrect.
            I’ve gotten to be pretty good friends with these guys and it’s always priceless when I'm walking around town with my step dad and we run into them. He gives me the “ why in the heck do you know this guy??” face. hahaha

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