An Act of Kindness (Day 11): Opening Your Restaurant When it Isn’t Open Yet

We need to get work done on the Land Cruiser, but since our workshop does not have time until tomorrow we decide to have an “online workday”, as we call it. All we need is WIFI.

Right, where can we find that?

We struggle in the morning traffic to get to downtown Santa Cruz. Two days ago, on a quick sightseeing trip by car, we had passed a neighborhood with various upscale restaurants and bars. Surely they will have WIFI. But where was it?

Finding our way through the maze of one-way streets thronged with cars is time and energy consuming. We’re about to give up and return to our campsite when we see something like a coffee bar-cum-restaurant. However, parking here isn’t all that simple.

“I’ll go ask and when I get back I’ll find you somehow,” I say to Coen. He can’t just turn off the engine here but has to keep moving with the traffic.

As we recently arrived from Brazil, my Spanish is still far below par. We are speaking what they call Portignol here, a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. The languages are so similar to us that we mix up words constantly – In Portuguese ano = year, but asking in Spanish how many anos somebody has, instead of años, you are in fact asking how many anuses that person has instead of how old he/she is. We’re talking crucial details here!

And so, asking and understanding whether they have WIFI is a bit of a struggle. I get a ‘yes’, which is good.
I look inside. The place is empty and there are people cleaning. Did I understand him correctly?
“Are you open?” I try.
“No, in 20 minutes,” the man answers.
Hmm. Okay. So they do have WIFI, but are not open.

There is always the question of whether we speak the language correctly and/or whether we ask the right question. The man answered my question ‘do you have WIFI’ with a ‘yes’ while I should have asked ‘do you have WIFI and can we use it right now’.

Now what? and I look outside if I see Coen anywhere. I guess we will have to drive around for 20 minutes.

“So we can come back in 20 minutes and use your WIFI?” I ask to make sure we understand each other but his answer eludes me. I try various phrases in the hope to get a simple “yes” or “no” but hear sentences that are too long to decipher.

Another man, I think the manager, shows up and says slowly, in clear Spanish, “You can sit wherever you like,” waving his arm towards the dining room.”
Now?” I ask again.
He smiles. “Yes, now.”

This I find incredibly kind of him. Meanwhile, Coen has a similar stroke of luck as he can park right in front of the restaurant. This must be our day. It is. WIFI works all day long and we can get a lot of work done, which means we have time to spend at this beautiful spot home to many animals.

To learn why I write about acts of kindness by a stranger, please read this post.

Travel Guides for Bolivia

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Photos by Coen Wubbels. Follow our overland journey on or on Instagram.

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