I am collecting experiences and memories, hoarding these types of interactions and paying attention to every detail, as best I can.
Story 1: We drive to Satwa to pick up James' hemmed pants from the tailor. The tailor shop is right across the street from my favourite shoe man, who always gives us a happy smile when we pass by, and who does excellent work on repairing our shoes. I tell James I'll get him a pop at the little grocery store, but when I pass by the shoe guy, he waves me over to say Hi and then offers, "would you like tea?"
You cannot refuse a tea in this part of the world. He hurries around the corner and brings me back a cup of milky, spicy chai in a foam cup. I see James emerge from the tailor across the street and wave him over, and we sit in the small shoe shop, chatting with the man.
He tells us he is 27-years-old, and from Karachi, Pakistan. He has a huge family, and supports 20 people back home. His younger brother is the other guy I sometimes see sitting in this shop, and they inherited the business from his Dad. He's not married, but working very hard, and he gets a lot of Englishmen as customers because, like us, they think he does good work.
We thank him for the tea and wish him well.
Story 2: I need to visit a bank branch instead of just getting money from an ATM, so I hail a taxi at 4pm and ask it to drive me to the branch over near Safa Park. Once we arrive, I hop out but quickly see that the sign on the door says the branch closes at 3pm. My taxi guy has already raced towards the exit, and I wave frantically. When he spots me, he stops and rolls down the window. I say, "ah, it's closed! can you just take me back to where you picked me up?" and he laughs with me at the absurdity of this outcome.
When we get back to my starting point, I give him the 2nd fare and say, "thanks for the drive!"
Story 3: This part of the world is tuned into the Asia Cup Cricket Tournament, and the finals pit Pakistan vs Sri Lanka. To the delight of my good friends from Sri Lanka, their team wins and their mood is just as I felt the morning after the Canadians won the hockey gold.