Chilling on the beach of Barceloneta, Catalunya, a beautiful sunny day with the temperature just right. A hawker walked past me, touting his product not too differently from the one I’m familiar with on the traffic lights of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Of course, he wasn’t the only one. As a matter of fact, there were tons of them aggressively marketing their products and services to the hundreds of people that had come to be close to the sea.
Although I had tried to mitigate the impact of the nuisance as much as eliminate impulse buying, by shutting them out mentally, this particular tout got to me. “Mojito!”, he was shouting. I had ignored several other mojito hawkers but the thought of not having tried a mojito played a significant role in letting off my mental guard.
I beckoned at him, an elderly looking Indian man, I suspected, with face-cap, the type synonymous with Tony Pulis of Stoke City FC, which coincidentally was the name of the bar we hung out the night before. He offered me a glass of mojito as I slipped a 5 Euro note into his stretched-out hand.
On having my first sip, I noticed quite a familiar taste. Curiously, I took out the leaf used as one of the recipe and bit off a little chunk to be sure. It smelled and tasted like a much consumed vegetable in Nigeria popularly called ‘scent leaf’. I shared this discovery with my friends who laid some inches away receiving massage from one of the numerous hawkers touting massage services. After a bit of research, I discovered the plant was also called mint leaf.
It was interesting to see how, although thousands of miles away with significant skin tone variation, humanity was still drawn to the simple things of life like appreciating the sunlight and basking under it while enjoying a recipe made from a vegetable known with different names. And all this came to fore from the first sip of my first mojito.