It was not apparent at first. The chatter and laughter at the tables, around the cafés, along the pavements and on the streets. People talking to one another, children playing in groups.

Sure this is a sweet little place with a modest history, a humble seaside village with more tourists than residents. In the old town an elderly man with a baguette wrapped in today’s newspapers greeted a friend at the corner of a crumbling tower that once guarded an ancient settlement. I could smell the sea from here though I couldn’t see or hear it.

Round the corner, a delivery man was having problems pushing a crate of beer. A cyclist with his own load stopped to help and together they heaved the heavy pack. An act of kindness worth more than the weight of the bottled stack.

On a sand bank, a few boys were kicking ball. Each time the ball went into the water, the boys dived in with it racing to be the one to retrieve it. Some girls were watching them giggling at their silly game.

Took so many photos and wanted to post them online. Found a bar with free WiFi and then I got lost. Lost in my mails, WhatsApp chats, Facebook updates and messages, Goggle search, news, Wiki and whatever that took me out of where I was into the world wide web.

Many cups of coffee later, I looked up from my screen. The wind must have picked up. There were more boats in full sail out at sea and more people in the café chatting, laughing, simply being with each other.

Suddenly I felt out of place in this small town. Here and yet not. I put away my phone and try to fit in with the rest. Got back into the present just in time to soak in the moments of the old world where people here are with each other and not elsewhere with their gadgets.

Joan Yap



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