Poetry by Jim Nasium

The Cafe

The Cafe is in the little town of my heart Algeciras

You have read about it before if you read my stories
"The Rambuzel" or "Hongo Land"
or "On The Road To BonBon"
Of all the little towns I have passed through Algeciras is the one little town out of all those other little towns, and places that I hold dearest in my heart. The town sits a degree and a half north of the equator, in the departmento de Hulia, in Colombia, South America. I was shocked to learn that there isn't one word about it in the South American Handbook, or at least not in any S. A. H. B. that I have ever owned or have ever read!

Algeciras, Hulia, Colombia S. A. is a small dairy farm town. The town is set in a beautiful bowl shaped valley dotted with small cattle farms, in the middle of nowhere, in the land that I hold dear in my heart.

The small town is surrounded by at least twenty cattle farms (or fincas) some large... some smaller. They dot the fields and mountain sides that reach for the sky all around this place. This story book like town is known to only a few lucky Americans, and I am one of them.

I was lucky enough to find this place when I was traveling with a circus, El Circo Wilson. somehow they decided to do 8 shows here over a 3 day period . I stayed here the first time with the circus, and we were treated like kings. I met all the right people in this town, that first time I was here too. I met the mayor, the local merchants, some farm owners, and a lot of the folks who own shops along the small dirt main road, and others who have stands in the one square block open market, that was not too far from the main road out of town, and the place where the bus, that comes to this town every other days stops and refules and reloads...

Most all of the farms that dotted the surrounding mountain sides raise cattle but there are fruit and vegetable farms too, but come to think of it even these Fruti and vegtable farms had some cattle too. I guess that's why I kept coming back to this town, even after the circus left it, because of the cattle, no not for the fresh beef, but for those little golden beauties that grew, fresh each morning with the dew, out of the cow shit that was scattered all over the field. Mushrooms, psilocybin mushrooms in fact. [Hongos in The Spanish]

There were so many cows grazing the fields around this town that the magic mushrooms that grew out of the cow plops were so plentiful there, that there was hongos everywhere in each field... and I was for the longest time the only american to have ever been there in Algecrius. It was as if the hungos were all growing there each day just for me and that each field they grew in was mine, and waiting for me to come and pick the best of that days crop of fresh wet magical hongos.

This place was so beauitful and so very peaceful that I just had to show it to someone, so that when I told people about this magical valley, some one else would know that I was telling the truth, because it is hard to belive that there could be a place like this... since I have a friend, who was only a eigth hour bus ride away from this town, I made plans to take the next bus I could, to find him and bring him back here to this paradise with me. The friend I had left in another town when I met and then left that town with the circus, would be glad to see me again, and excited to learn about this new magical place I found and had been living in.

After I got to the town where my friend lived, and had talked him into going back to Algecirus with me, we took the long bus ride through the central mountain range of The Andes, cross rivers and through valleys, up the side of a mountain zig zagging our way back down the other side, and as we did we made our plans. As we rode on dusty dirt roads paved with pot holes we decided that we would stay there a long time, and just eat mushrooms and smoke herb all day, and that this time we would play it carefully, so we could stay here as long as we wanted to.

Once I got him there he was the second gringo to ever be there and/or stay in the town. These fields that the cattle grazed in had no other american foot on it before mine, and now head and I could walk thru them and pick the fruit of the land. I called them my fields because it was as if the fields were mine and each hongo that grew was growing just for me. There would be there each morning before the sun got too hot just waiting for me to pick and eat and enjoy. At one point I had so many to choose from that I would only pick certain ones to eat, the freshest juicest one and some others just to juice. Nothing like a tall glass of fresh psilocybin mushroom juice first thing in the morning to get you on your way, into the new day and a separate reality, into a fourth dimension that had become a very familure palce to me.

I had talked head into returning to Algeciras with me on this trip and once we got in town we went back to my old friends the Guzmans house, they had a large empty room in the front of their home that was big enough for two and it had a door in front wall that opened out to the road and one in the rear that opened to the courtyard. When the doors were left open there was always a gentle breeze that would blow thru the room...
I loved this place and had stayed there before with Rosa and The Circo Wilson. It was located just up the street from the open aired market place in town and close to the center of the little town with its few shops.

My friend The Head Mon' and I built a bamboo divider in the center of this room making one large room into two small ones...one for the each of us... Then we made a hole, for a door, in the front of the house on his side so that he could come and go as he pleased, my side of the room was the side that had both a front, and a read door, so my half of the room always seemed to be cooler.

My half of this place had shelves on two of the walls... I kept my fruit and my stuff on them. Carlos Guzman (the owner of the home) was very glad I showed him how to build shelves when I was there, and had built shelves all over the rest of his home.

Back to the beginning of this story

Shortly after head and I unpacked some of our stuff, and settled in we felt hungry. We usually had fruit or veggies with us but this time we had nothing at all to eat. I knew that there was a small cafe just outside of town, about a mile or so, a short walk in Colombian standards, it wasn't much to look at, in fact I found it hard to believe that it even stood. It had thatching that was on top of a large piece of plastic thrown over some tree branches for the roof that was supported by three bamboo and adboe walls that were also covered with canvas and plastic [in spots] that was tied down with string.There were only three walls to this place
the front of the cafe was always open

As you looked at the place from the front all you could see was a large wooden table about 15 feet long. There were 9 or 10 chairs on the "out" side of this table only once you got closer you could see a fire burning in a sliced 55 gal drum that was supported by some kind of wooded boxes...this was the stove, near the stove, on one side was a box that was bigger than the others, it was about four feet square. Later I found out that this box played a dual role. It held dry goods and it was also the youngest child's bed room, this little boy slept in this box! his mother and his father lived in this tent cafe also. I could see their bed way in the back of the large one room tent like cafe. The building had a bamboo wall that divided the cafe from their living area. the floor was dirt like so many others in this town. They swept it clean every day, thats the Colombian way! The place was a real dive. There was no running water and there was no electricity at all. It was unfit for people to live in and yet these people called it home and a cafe! Let's face it, it was a cafe, afterall they served food out'a there 24 hours a day and 7 days a week ! I had passed by this place many times before during my other stays here, in the past but I was never hungry enough to actually stop here to eat. This time was different, it was real late and we were both very hungry. We had traveled for 15 or 16 hours to get here, non stop. The we walk to the Guzman home, dealy with Carlos and then we rented the room, unpacked and we had just forgotten to get something to eat. It was late and there was no other place was open. We had no fruit with us like we usually did and we wanted food now right now, and hot food too, so what else could we do? Where else could we go? There was no fast food place on the corner like there is around here in my home town usa.

We went in and ask for a menu, there is no menu the cook/owner said to us, then he told us what was on the stove, and that was what they considered the "special" of the day. It looked like it was all they had so i asked to see what was in the pot. She smile and said ok, it was some kind of soup I'm sure it was soup. It looked sort of like soup but it had stuff in it that dogs wouldn't have eaten. We refused the soup after seeing it and asked if [maybe] they had eggs. Thank God they did. We ordered up a bunch of eggs and bread, and we ate some bananas and oranges while we waited. The owner of the cafe said that he had seen me around and in the little town before, he even knew my name. I introduced the head mon as my good friend, we chated for ten minutes or so. Time passed and about this time a campecino [a farmer or farm worker] rode up on a beauitful horse. It was a large dapple gray. He got off of it and tied it to the back of a chair and sat down. The owner turned from us to ask him if he wanted the special of the day. It looked like he might have wanted soup... "si" he said. The owner went over to that stove and filled a bowl from that pot, the same pot that I had just looked in a few minutes ago. Then, as the owner served the man who rode in on that horse that was tied to the chair next to me the owners wife brought us two steaming plates of eggs and bread... they looked really good too. Just as i started to eat the horse decided that he wanted to see what i had on my plate, he stuck his horse head right on my shoulder and, i guess when he saw what i had he started drooling, all over me and the table... meanwhile the man that rode the horse there was busy sucking up his soup. He looked real hungry and I could tell he didn't want to be bothered. I turned to look at the Head mon, to ask him what i should do... but he was laughing at me, and eating at the same time. This is a feat i have not yet been able to master to this day. To eat and laugh at the same time. I said head look at this fucking horse! It was still drooling all over the table and my food. Head only laughed harder. Just then from out of nowhere some flies started to buzz around my plate. They came from out of nowhere and with in seconds there had to be hundreds of flies, real big ones too. they were buzzing all around me and my food the Head mon was laughing so hard by now that he was spitting food out all over his plate and my plate...the other man, the one who rode the horse in was on his second bowl of that special soup...he still looked real hungry and i could tell that he still didn't want to be bothered...the owner was laying down on his bed way in the back now and his wife was real busy spritzing some kind of liquid fly poison all over the table right next to my plate... head was still eating and laughing...the lady still spritzing...the other man was still sucking up his second bowl of that fucking soup... and the horse was eating my eggs now !
"WHAT THE F**K" I screamed
as I jumped up and pushed that horse out'a my way, and then as i turned away from the horse and stood there looking at that table still very hungry, everybody stopped what they were doing to look at me. it seems that when i hollered i got everybody's attention...then the man stopped sucking up his soup...the lady stopped spritzing the flies with poison...head stopped laughing...the owner sat up in his bed.. and the little boy even crawled out of his "bedroom" box near the stove. then the flies took off and silence fell on the place. Every one was just looking at me now, I was pissed and still very hungry... can I please have another plate off eggs and bread I screamed [asked] at the top of my voice.

Well that's all it took. The man put his soup down, got up and tied his horse up to a tree. Tthe owner made me another huge plate off eggs and bread and he even gave me some rice this time. The lady washed off the table in front of me before i was served. Head stopped laughing and just smiled at me as i finally got to eat some hot food. Every body was happy now expect for the horse... he was pulling at his reins so hard, trying to get back to my eggs (i guess) that I thought the tree he was tied to was going to come down.

We sat there for hours all of us... talking and eating... and drinking warm beer. Then We paid our bill and i even paid the horse mans bill, then head and i said our goodbyes... it was late, very late or was it early...very early? We headed back to our little room the sun was coming up over the mountains in the east. I looked at the Head mon and it was as if he just read my mind. We just turned around and started farther out of town to one of the better fields... the grazing field's... one of my fields. Once we got out there we each picked about 12 or 14 fresh juicy hongos and then we walked to the bank of the river negro, nearby some of it is the head waters of the amazon river. We went there to wash the dirt off our tickets to another dimension... and then we started eating them... one at a time and as we ate we walked. We walked right up the side of one of the many mountains that circled this little town of my heart, I had never been up to the top of this mountain before I said to head mon... Once we got up there on the top we met a man who was a stranger to us, he spent his days, he said, raising bees...he was a bee keeper...these bees made the best golden honey that I have ever had anywhere in my life...and i've had many different types of honey from all over the world...it's strange; his bees did not sting...they had no stingers...they were real small I guess, that man must of known we were coming up to the top of his mountain that morning because he had a gourd (bottle) of this honey in his hand that he gave to me(I carried this gourd with me for the next six or seven months). I thanked him and when I offered him money for the honey he just laughed. He said that he had no need for money way out here. He said that he had everything he needed, then wished us luck in our travels and said good-by then disappeared over the far side of the mountain top... I said adios and thank you as he did. The man left us up there on his mountain that morning to space out over the valley below...and believe me...that's just what we did

By the way... I never ate in that cafe again

©1997 Jim Nasium

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