The smell of meat hangs in the air. Smoke comes out of the kitchen. Meat also comes out, in plates and trays. Buffet Park is an arena of carnivores. You don’t go to Buffet Park if you are one of those twisty-nose people who say, ‘I don't want to smell meat and smoke.”
You might struggle if you are a vegetarian. You might also struggle if you don’t like dark places with tables wedged close to each other because if you go in the afternoon, the place is dark. And hot. And loud. And people are chewing and laughing, cars are parking and men, mostly men, are spilling out of them dreaming of meat. It’s a hubbub of the local variety and it’s fun.
I was meeting my cousins after a long time. Three years, perhaps. Life swept us under tables and rocks and time simply flew over our heads. We are all in our 40s now, so Buffet Park seemed like a befittingly nostalgic place to reunite. Years ago we would drink at Tamasha across. Everybody had a memory to recount in that compound.
We ordered chicken and meat and ate with our hands, a communion of sorts. Being a Saturday, the place filled up pretty fast. We saw people we knew. You always see someone you know in places that sell meat, never places that sell salads.
I saw my childhood friend Bob in his muscle shirt. My brother saw his neighbour’s wife with a band of her girls drinking from a bottle of Jack Daniels. A cousin learned the following day from his wife that her friend had taken and shared a picture of him and us secretly, a most unbecoming behaviour.
A friend joined us with her girlfriend who complained about the darkness and the smoke the moment she sat down at the edge of her seat. My friend was a trooper.
Nonetheless, nobody goes to Buffet Park for other reason but to have a good time. And we had a marvelous time. I can hardly tell you what music (old school, I’m certain) they were playing which simply means it’s a great place to converse.