So, it now looks like Costa Rica. And Nicaragua. Possibly sooner than I thought, as well. Christmas in the Carribean? I am supposed to be constructing Cunning Plans to make this a definite possibility ("A plan so cunning you could tie a tail on it and call it a weasel") and I a way. I would LOVE to go back to Nicaragua, but it doesn't feel real yet. I don't think I am the same person as I was the last time I disappeared to Latin America on a whim.

Instead I am dreaming and thinking and planning and fantasising about The Highly Improbably. I am collecting a diverse group of the Mentally Interesting it seems, and any idea reinterpreted through the minds of the Loons must, therefore, be borderline genius. The fine line has not so much been crossed as jumped on, scuffed, and bent to at least a 45 degree angle...One of the most Mentally Interesting is currently snoring upstairs. "Lets dance to Joy Division, celebrate the irony, everything is going wrong but we're so happy!"

And what could be more sane, rational and sensible than planning my cafe? Sure, I have no money, no real capital, no time, no experience, no venue (this is NOT going to happen in Darlington. Ever. Understood?!) a crap credit rating, a doctorate to do, a mortgage to pay, plans to emigrate to the other side of the world in three years time, and family plans, but... hell, why not?

All I actually want to do with myself in the future is run my own cafe. I don't actually need a PhD to do that, but I am at least learning far too much about coffee at the moment that I feel I've got to put this knowledge to use somehow! So, the cafe will be called Doctor Coffee's. We will serve only the best, fair trade, highest quality (and probably Latin American) coffees made by skilled baristas. And it's not going to be entirely espresso either! How revolutionary is that?

And I will cook. Lots. There is not going to be pannini in sight!! No fake Italianess, but Latino food, as authentic as I can make, and as designed by the experts at CafeChavalos in Nicaragua and Senora Julia in Peru, who's recipes I am still using now! If amazing foods like quesedillas, tetelas, picarones and anticuchos can be made on the streets in Leon or Huancayo, I see no reason why I couldn't make them in a cafe.

I was going to sell Cyberllama goods at the cafe too - Peruvian oddities for anyone interested. Carl and I started talking of this YEARS ago... he was going to get involved and turn it in to an internet cafe, and be responsible for the technical side of things. That was... 2002 I think. Nowadays, there wouldn't be much call for internet cafes...the world changes too quickly. Now, he says he'll support any mad scheme of mine, as long as he gets to keep a massive aquarium set into one wall - with piranhas in, of course, just to keep the Amazonian feel!

These plans have been delayed and postponed because we've never yet been in the position to even take ourselves seriously. We are full of intentions of moving to Vancouver post-PhD, and that would make a far better base for business than Darlington! But still... that is three years away. I am not a patient person, it seems....

And then the Mental Interesting contigent keep putting ideas in my head. A very dangerous activity. We have RASC - our writing group, full of the slightly eccentric creative types for whom even the most impractical ideas are a source of excitement. RASC currently meets in the overpriced and relatively atmosphere-deficient cafe at the Arts Centre. Wouldn't it be so much more inspiring if we had our own venue? A writing cafe? That way, it wouldn't be a business, it would be an arts venture. And we could get Arts grants, as opposed to business loans, and it would even be a community development and/or socially helpful project - it would provide gainful employment and a creative/productive outlet for the Mentally Interesting, teenage stench or otherwise unemployable members of our little town... With a little help from my friends, I could almost do it at the same time as my degree! And, the most bizarrely sensible suggestion yet: save on leases and business rates - set up my Gaggia machine in a caravan and have a travelling cafe! A Magic Cafe that pops up on request and is never in the same place twice! Yes yes yes!!!

(You can tell I've had my caffeine now, can't you?)

Sigh. It would be so good.

And so to work....

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