It had been a busy couple weeks and I had packed last minute for my Amsterdam trip, had not eaten and thus arrived at the airport starving. I grabbed a slice of cheese pizza from an air-side concession stand and immediately started to eat it while searching for my departure gate.
Half way through, I met up with my sister N’ku who had traveled independently to the airport. I decided to get us a table while she stood in line and spotted a two seat table that was open. I put my half eaten pizza down and turned around to signal N’ku when next thing I knew the chair across from me was being dragged across the floor and a slim-built middle-aged short man was sitting down. He did not seem concerned about my presence and immediately dug into his plate of fries and ribs. Ribs, though?! Seeing how there were no other open tables, I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere and I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the seat was taken. So I sat down and watched the little man attack his plate with knife and fork while I slowly ruminated on my half eaten airport pizza.
In a minute or so, the man looked up and we acknowledged each other with a hi and a nod. It took another minute or so before we exchanged names as he gave up on his utensils, apologized, and dug into his ribs with his hands. His graying strawberry-blond beard was made even redder by the BBQ sauce. He wore a yellow T-shirt with Mississippi written on it and i wondered if he had just attended a Southern ribfest and couldn’t get enough. I had to ask him if the ribs were any good because airport food rarely is to me and…ribs though?! So he told me that it was in fact good and he was enjoying his meal. By this time I was done with my pizza, N’ku was no longer in sight, I was too tired to get up, and besides, this was interesting. Who just randomly sits with a stranger in an airport?
So we got to talking. His name was Stephen – Stefano from Italy, the north, by the sea, Genoa, land of the pesto. He had lived there all his life but in his adult years had begun to travel the world in search of natural wonders. This was his first real trip to the United States and he had visited Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, all of which left him in awe because of their grandeur and their “wide open spaces”. The people, the people he said were large, tall, big, and many very fat whether they were children, women, or men. He shook his head and rolled his eyes like he couldn’t believe he had seen what he had seen. The people, again, were very different, very large.
So then naturally we got to talking about the food of America and me harping on his airport fast-food ribs. He of course took a swipe at my “pizza”. American food. Plentiful, lots of meat, very tasty, huge portions, all of which called for serious workouts afterwards. The ribs, oh the ribs. So so delicious. The best part? The sauce. At this point, I thought he was about to tell me about some specialty barbecue sauce he had encountered in his travels, but no, the sauce that had captured his heart was A-1. He had gone so far as to go to a supermarket in San Francisco to buy it, only to break the bottle somehow. While he lamented about not being able to find the sauce in the airport, I wondered how and where he broke it and if he damaged any of his belongings. I even went as far as to wonder if I should have asked for his address in order to send some his way. Then imagined him receiving the package and drinking the content. Forget about the meat!
I did eventually leave him to finish his ribs. It was a pleasant enough start to my holidays.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad