Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sina and the Sandwich Swiper (by Josh)

I was walking down the street today, eating an ice cream bar, and got a weird look from a guy sitting on a bench, with rather grubby hands.  I instinctively shifted the ice cream bar to my other hand, and thought, "Huh, why did I do that?"
Then I remembered and decided to share a few stories from past travels here with you.
During my first trip to Bulgaria with the Baha'i dance workshop One World, we spent lots of time in the downtown pedestrian zones of the major cities, wowing locals and tourists with our artistic prowess.  One day, we were chillin' in Varna, the coastal city where I ended up doing my year of service.  We'd found a rather tasty sandwich stand and decided to have lunch in the shade of some chestnut trees, in front of the Cherno MorĂ© hotel.  This spot also happened to be popular with a local contingent of gypsy beggars (as I understand it, different gypsy clans often specialize in different things, i.e., blacksmithing, husbandry, carpentry, begging, etc.) who we'd chatted with here and there, particularly the youngsters, showing them some dance moves. 
My friend, Sina Mossayeb, the coordinator of the trip, had finally gotten his sandwich, having selflessly waited until we'd gotten our food before ordering his.  He took a hearty bite, chewing with relish, when out of nowhere one of the gypsy ladies leapt off the bench she'd occupied and grabbed Sina's sandwich out of his hands!
She backed away from us, wild-eyed, and once at a safe distance took a huge bite out of the sandwich, laughing to herself and grinning widely at us.  We all turned and looked at Sina, who had a mix of astonishment and indignation showing clearly on his face, while we did our best not to burst out in laughter. We wavered between our first instinct, which was to backup our buddy who'd been robbed, and the reality that there was now no shortage of mystery-germs on that food. By that time, the second chunk of sandwich was in her mouth.  Sina shrugged, realizing he wouldn't want his purloined sandwich even if he were able to reclaim it.  But our lunch break was over, and being the disciplined dude he is, he resigned himself to temporary hunger as we headed off to dance the day away, doing our best to build a world where no one needs to swipe a sandwich from nobody.

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