One of the things I love most in this country (yes, there are actually quite a lot of things I like in this country, esp. the bathrooms) is its Cafe culture.
The fact that one can go and sit in one of these places for hours on end. People go and sit there working, reading, doing stuff on their laptops (most provide free wi-fi), eating, drinking, talking, doing homework...whatever.
They are places to meet, places to live- simply places to BE...
I love that. One can just sit happily for hours, watching the world go by ( all for the cost of a small cup of tea). No irate waiter is there to tell you to leave and go once you have finished your drink/food.
Every time I feel lonely, I usually go to one of these places. They are warm, welcoming and they smell..ohh..so...good.
Of freshly roasted coffee... newly baked cakes... roasted cheese...warm just-out-of-the-oven bread..
I often sit there watching people out of the windows, curled up with a book, or just my thoughts.
They do provide human contact of a kind. Maybe, in this lonely country, that is why they are so popular. When everybody is running short of time, these are the places where one can sit and relax and take a break from life. Where one can just be... alone, but not lonely...
Where one can stop and smell the roses...err... coffee!!