Who needs take-away starbucks, when you can kill time sitting in a Kahwa.
There’s a very Algerian habit that got me for its “café au lait“, for its “croissants” and for its “ambiance” that provides me so much time and peace to write. Of course, I was speaking about the little social event of #sitting-in-a-cafeteria.
If we’re looking for its origin, it’s one of the little fragments that France has left us from
their typically French tradition. The magic formula is easy: An open place with chairs and tables + an inner place with cozy chairs and tables + pressing machines with the blackest cafe, the hottest milk and tea and some cookies will cheer up your morning and afternoon.
You can go wherever you want in Algeria, pretty surely you will find a dozen of cafeteria in every city, giving place to keep people amused by an Arabic “Nahar” or a French “Liberté” newspaper, an LCD Tv or a tasty chatting about the “Chelsea or Real“.
Students sit at a cafe terrace at Didouche Murad Street in Algiers.
Personally, I am not interested neither in the newspapers, nor in the match results; however, the Algerian coffee shops charmed me for its movement and freedom. “Freedom?!” -you may ask. My answer is “Yes. Freedom. In a cafeteria, nobody’s bothering you with looking at you or talking to you; you are alone with your white coffee, while the other people provide you a smooth noise by their chatting that breaks the awkwardness of silent.
So, this is how I became a part of this social event with the millions of Algerians.. Every morning starts with a hot café au lait, a fresh croissant and checking facebook for the studies of the day. Then, every afternoon crowns the day with a hot tea and a little bit writing of some poem, short story or an article.
If I’d like to compare the Algerian phenomena of #sitting-in-a-cafeteria with a European one, it would be
sitting in a pub or a bar that I never used to do. Regardless the tons of bottles of haram, I could take some coke; however, the people of the bars are quite embarrassing and their general atmosphere is rather full of cigarette smoke, disco music and irritating giggling that make impossible to write anything.
Economically speaking, I could fill my stomach fifteen times with a croissant and a coffee of 50 Dinars, while I buy a cup of starbucks tea for only $4,99 (548 DA).
Conclusion: 1-2-3 Viva Algeria, Viva Cafeteria!!