We celebrated my birthday at Lario’s on the Beach in South Beach tonight.
Yes, of course it’s Cuban food. I’m still in Miami and I took a vow. (but that’s not important right now.)
So we have a fabulous Cuban meal and she does the thing where she tells the waitress that it’s my birthday and so the staff comes over and sings the "Japi Bersdei" song with a cute little candle in a super-carmely flan. And I’ve still got the I-love-my-people-and-the-land-of-my-birth glow going on from the weekend. We’re laughing a lot and the gentleman sitting at the table next to us starts up a conversation and wishes me a happy birthday and I start telling him about my weekend at Cuba Nostalgia and how everyone I met felt like family. I am kind of naive in that I approach people believing they are going to like me. (I know. I know. It always occurs to me way later that they may not.) Even as I’m reporting this to my new friend, I am getting that same feeling. Like I’ve known him forever. I ask the usual questions about his life, his family, his wife, his kids. "Call me Papo," he says.
We laugh a lot. He thinks I’m funny and Amy is, of course, her adorable blonde self. He thanks us for the enjoyable time. We are old friends now. He pays for our dinner before I even see the check.
I look him in the eye and thank him for being so gracious and generous. He thanks us for a wonderful time – he hasn’t laughed like that in a long time, he says. It is then that I see the resemblance to his younger brother and verify his last name. It turns out his brother and sister-in-law happen to own the place and are quite famous.
That’s so cool, I think. But, honestly, I just really enjoyed making yet another Cuban connection. (Thanks, Papo.)
Amy’s right. I guess I must just have that kind of face… =D