The strange story of the Brazilian Guest

Posted on Fri January 18, 2019.

In this business you will always encounter the strange and the weird.....

2018 came and went. Fairly peacefully. At least in Mes Amis country. There were, however, a few singular, not to say peculiar happenings. Of which the following sort of stands out in the Innkeeper’s mind.

A guest from Brazil knocked on the door and in a heavy Spanish accent said

“Mafis is hungry. I need bread.”

“Sure – just a moment”, said I. A hungry wife is an ugly thing, so the Innkeeper sprang into action, whipped up a quick sandwich and handed it to him.

“No, no! “ he exclaimed “I wanta the miga. The bread miga.”

Hah! Miga. Of course he wants miga. What the fuck is miga? A few taps on my phone and uncle Google revealed that it is crumb. The man wants bread crumbs for his hungry wife. This is weird. Seriously weird. How is she going to eat it? With a spoon? How should I plate it? With a side of mayonnaise? How much? The mind boggles.

“How much bread miga do you need?” I asked.

“Just a leetle bit.” He said, miming picking up a pinch of crumbs in his fingertips from his palm. (Is pinch the right collective – maybe rather a crumble of crumbs?)

Surely this cannot assuage Mafi’s hunger…..  

“Is this for your wife?” I asked,

“No, “ he said, “its for mafis”

Something was clearly wrong here. “What “ asked I “is mafis?”

“Moment.” Said he and trundled off to his room. He returned shortly, bearing a large glass bowl filled with water. And containing a goldfish!
Aha! “Mafis” is actually “my fish”!
Who travels with a fish? More importantly, did the fish come with him from Brazil?

Mateo, the goldfish, is indeed a Brazilian citizen. Apparently goldfish can breathe through their gills in the air as long as they are kept moist. Mateo traveled from Brazil wrapped in a wet cloth in his master’s jacket pocket. Upon arrival, the guest’s brother, who lives in Cape Town, had a bowl ready at home to return Mateo to his natural environment. And from there Mateo, the unnamed guest and his wife explored South Africa.

I sent Mateo some bread crumbs and later bought him a few packets of goldfish food.

How did this go…

“Mateo, we are going to South Africa on holiday. Do you want to come?”

“Look, mama, Mateo is wiggling his little tail. He wants to come along.”

And there goes Mateo on an African adventure.

Be an Innkeeper for long enough and you will see everything…..