Sudden glimpse

In this portside town of ragged colour, where restaurants don’t of themselves invite you in, the lure of a prix fixe menu of onion soup and beef stew with corn mash for seven thousand pesos was irresistible. Photographic opportunities aside – the chance to dress in grandmother’s clothing for fond relatives – the room was expansive and the waiters attentive. A woman of distinction with the hair but not quite the age of Fran Leibovitz joined us at an adjacent table, and casually laid aside a huge Vuitton tote. It was the first sign of affluence we have seen in this town, and therefore almost shocking. The woman and her daughter and granddaughter ordered the soup and stew and suddenly found something so funny it was like the funniest thing ever and they laughed and laughed… genuine and warm… I would love to know what they were laughing at. It wasn’t us. We were invisible.

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