An old man that has probably seen too much in his life. I found out later that he was all but blind.
I’m a lazy coffee drinker, especially while in Baghdad. Black, unsweetened, instant coffee is the norm. Growing up in Maine that’s how my father drank his, so that’s all I ever knew until I reached college. It’s fine by me, fast, easy, no fuss, and no mess.
Living here in the bureau all of the Iraqis drink tea. I suppose it’s something that they picked up from the Brits during the days of the Empire. The tea is served piping hot in tiny, thin plastic cups. I don’t understand how they don’t burn their fingers.
The other option here is Arabic coffee; some strange witches brew prepared on the stove in an odd looking little pot. It reminds me of the small coffees in South America, very small, sweet, and incredibly potent. It defies my “fast and easy” rule so I don’t drink much of it.
The Brits vacillate between coffee and tea. It’s as if they can’t make up their minds. They’re culturally drawn towards tea, but enjoy the fast jolt of a good utilitarian cup of coffee. Black coffee, on the other hand, is taboo with the Brits, and they look at me like I’m some sort of heathen for drinking it. Ah, they’ll come around in a generation or two.