Friday, April 17, 2009

The "Knife Piper"

Almost everyday here in my neighborhood, I am awakened to the sounds of a high pitch pipe flute outside my window. When I first heard this awhile back, I obviously had no idea what it was coming from and was quite perplexed laying in bed listening to this pipe flute. It was calling out a tune every 5 seconds of about three notes, one very long to begin with followed by two descending short ones. It would go on usually for about a half hour, stop for awhile, then continue on again for about another 10-20mins. all throughout late morning and early afternoon.

Well, I finally remembered to ask my boyfriend about it one day and he told me "oh, that's just the amola tesouras", Uhhhh, the what? "It's a guy who rides around on his bike to sharpen knives and scissors for people." Really?? That's sooo cool!!! So instead of the Pied Piper, he's like the Knife Piper eh? "Knife...what?" Oh nevermind, you Portuguese obviously don't know that story then :p

Ok, maybe it's not as exciting for many of you people but coming from a culinary background where regular sharpening is essential for proper use of your knives, I am totally fascinated by these guys. Yes, there is more than one, as I've come to observe when I was finally able to spot them walking down the street with their bikes calling out on their flute. And the tune is quite lovely I think, it may be high pitched but I don't mind it at all, it's so out of the ordinary, almost old-fashioned to me, I've come to enjoy hearing them come around :) This kind of service would obviously never be allowed in the US (god, can you imagine?? lol) so it just shows one of the many ways people are very trusting of each other here (though I'm sure they don't offer this service here in the projects thankfully :p)

It's a shame all of my good chef knives are still at home for obvious airplane security reasons but if I had them here with me, you bet I'd be one of their frequent customers (my sharpening skills were never that good!). I did happen to spot them one day at work from my balcony, sharpening some knives on a steel wheel they have hooked up to their bike which turns by the power of pedaling their wheels! I've concluded now why I never actually see them riding their bike, as it's used for a different purpose in this case, and a very clever idea I must say.

One of these days I'll get around to either attempting to bring my knives over here (with special permission of course) or purchasing an inexpensive but decent chef's knife and then finally, I'll be able to call upon the Knife Piper for his services!


  1. A cool post but:
    >>This kind of service would obviously never be allowed in the US<<

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. You mean vagrant knife sharpening? That's... maybe not common, but not hard to find either. There was a guy who hung around seven corners sharpening knives and scissors, and it wasn't hard to find a random guy hawking sharpening services on the street in Philly either.

    None of them played the flute, though.

  2. Haha really? I mean, of course there are people who sharpen knives in the US but I've never seen them doing it on the street in public! I think I would find that scary in Philly hahahaha