By gerard oosterman
The Afghan Cafe was the opposite of ‘The bitches Milk-bar’. She was so beautiful, it made grown men weep. She could be seen above her counter at the back of her small cafe, in the semi darkness of a cosily lit up area. She was Afghani, dark skinned with large kohl eyes which would look out and scan the passing scene for possible customers, or possible future husband. It was situated on a very busy street but away from the main shopping centre. We were told by a friend of a friend that her brother had put her there in the business to earn some money and hopefully also find a suitable partner. At the time, around the late eighties the only connection to Afghanistan were the thousands of Afghan camels roaming the North and North West of Australia as a result of those early goods and telegraph services between Southern Australia and Northern territory by camel trains led by their Afghan camel drivers. We knew of course that the development of outback Australia would have been very difficult if not impossible if not for those early Afghans coming to Australia as early as the 1830’s.
Whatever the motive, the beautiful eyed single Afghan lady sat in this restaurant cafe from late afternoon till the last of the customers would leave. The restaurant’s fare was genuine Afghan dishes. They were always tasty but not too spicy, more sweetish than chilli with raisins and dates, much use of lemon juice and yoghurt. The cafe- restaurant was small and seated perhaps not much more than twelve or fifteen people. We loved going there and then all of a sudden it was closed and it became a laundry. She would have found a partner. This is what we all thought and hoped. She was too beautiful to be sitting there forever. Or did she go back to Afghanistan?