Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where do you come from my lovely

In talking of the histories of towns, past and present, one has to be careful to find the spot that's your locus standii.

P-town and Bombay share something in common. The Portugese. Provincetwon had a large Portugese population - sailors and fishermen. And today it's got a big gay community. Perhaps these intertwined histories give the town it's feeling of openness. Small as it is, this is not a small minded town and when you walk on the streets, the air is easy.

I've searched hard for a picture of these two histories. Not the usual funny ones of leather gear shops called Christopher Street, not the inscription on a house with the obvious name Gaspa.

The Portugese Bakery opened just a few days before it was time for me to leave. It's over a hundred years old. And the pastry case made me feel oddly at home, with its meat patties and doughy sweets.





In truth of course the sweets here are much nicer than Goan ones - most of which seem to be versions of gulgula, which is basically sweetened fried dough, made as dessert when the sweet cravings are strong and there's nothing else on hand. But, here at the bakery there were buns full of custard, meringue sandwiches with chocolate in between, but nothing as delectable as Trutas - a pastry filled with sweet potato, whisky and lemon.

Nothing though, made me feel more at home than this sign for a coffee I connect more to Dilli weddings than Italia.



As for gay Provincetown - toward the end of my time there I saw this, felt and true and simple, among the many memorial stones at the First Landing Park (Provincetown being the first place the Pilgrims landed).

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