The pretty girl in the small pasteleria hands me my pie in a serviette, and then my cool drink, using only one hand. The other supports the tiny baby which she is casually breastfeeding. I drag one of the plastic chairs to the edge of the pavement and sit down.

The street is a river of raw unfiltered life: A small boy rides a motorbike. His father sits behind him, with one hand on his shoulder while gently giving instructions.  A truck very slowly goes the other way, with loud speakers calling all to purchase fresh vegetables off the back. Two teenagers on horseback are both busy on their mobile phones. A girl with a child on a bicycle carefully proceeds on the wrong side of the road. She greets the old man on crutches who also prefers the road, the pavement being quite uneven. The road is narrow, chaotic, vibrant, but somehow everyone gets by without incident.

I have long since finished my snack. I greet the girl in the shop and go over to my own bicycle. It is my turn to become part of this contagious river of life and I gleefully join in. But I remind myself that I should really be wearing my cycling helmet, next time.

by Oloff de Wet