A boy of about ten has stopped mid-stride in the middle of the Corso’s pedestrian traffic, they have to step around him as he holds an iPhone up to his face with both hands, his thumbs working.
Frozen. Still life. But for the thumbs.
Brasilians, Chinese, Koreans, English … women with prams, men with their surfboards, boys on skateboards, chattering schoolgirls, an unsteady drunk. They don’t interest the boy as they weave around him. He’s a statue.
Then he scores.
Punches his small fist into the air then turns to a woman sitting on a bench about twenty feet away. She’s looking elsewhere so he scarpers over, shows his mum the display then lifts another fist into the air.
They had responsibly-farmed, skin-on, pan-fried barramundi with paperdelle pasta and, amongst other tasties, a tablespoon of passionfruit dabbed here and there. The waitress, Rosalie, told us she was from Colombia and she learnt tonight that when a Chinese customer tapped the table with one finger he was saying thank you, that will be all.
‘Muchas gracias senor,’ she said, ‘now I have learn something.’
There were three men in the open-fronted kitchen: Archan Boumedianne, Rasly Shaktyr and Fernandez from Sri Lanka. They weren’t busy with only four tables occupied so at the end of the meal and after paying Rosalie I walked over to the counter that separated the kitchen from the floor, caught Archan’s attention and asked him if he had a passion fruit handy. He sent Rasly to the pantry to find one and I waved Fernandez over. He was only slicing tomatoes.
When Rasly returned I asked if they knew why such an ugly little thing was called a passionfruit.
Archan, the head chef, waited for his two underlings to commit themselves before joining them in shaking his head. Negative all around on that.
There were two knives on the counter as well as the fruit, a serrated bread knife and a large, pointed cutting knife.
I picked up the fruit and using the tip of the cutting knife wounded its wrinkled parchment-like skin, making a thumb-sized hole.
I put the knife down, lifted the passionfruit to my mouth and sucked it dry.
pic is the Bower