Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Evening in Lisbon

Day 10, May 28

We left Evora and traveled the last few hours to Lisbon. We had long ago crossed the Spanish border, and the prospect of actually writing any postcards and using that stack of .78 euro cent stamps was vanishing. Alas, a downside of this blog-thing.

I managed to finish our play, going through my laptop battery twice on bus rides today and the day before, and exhausting Ann’s laptop 3 minutes after transferring the file to Liz’s jumpdrive. Check in, then me, David and Ann followed a hotel map to the Apolo 70 copy store, David sure of the way, Ann conferring, me just tagging along snapping pictures. Easy, efficient—much easier than Athens, which required 45 minutes of talking to one shopkeeper who referred us to his cousin through that alley, to another corner where there was a rumor of... and so on, and even easier that Fiji, where the sweet Indian lady looked at us strangely, like we might soil her sari, but got our copies made.

Then dinner, where we had a popular cod-hash, rice, bread. I sampled the vino verde, a champagne-like wine that I’m guessing is made with green grapes. And we got to sample port, in tiny thumb-size glasses. I never did get to try the recommended cherry port. Maybe another trip.

Then back at the hotel, there was the chaos of trying to get the whole group all together before showers, unpacking or nightlife, gathering props, finding a space—the hotel was quite certain this should not take place in their lobby-bar, though they were generous with scotch tape, so we performed in the street, just before twilight. The whole thing wasn’t quite perfectly organized, but it went well. A play, you ask? You know, the usual mixture of the Wizard of Oz, Don Quixote, Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Odyssey/Percy Jackson, with Moroccan rug salesmen, academic art wizards, street mimes, Interpol, the theme song to the Dukes of Hazard, and a chorus line. That sort of thing.

After that, a bit drained, I went with John across the street to a Chinese restaurant, where he got rice and jasmine tea for a queasy stomach, and I had my first Portuguese beer.

Later, I headed off with a group I thought on the way to have one quick beer at the end of this exhausting day, but after we had walked 15 minutes and then started heading down in the subway, I wished them well and turned around, by myself. All fine, except that I hadn’t paid too much attention to the one turn we had made, I had rushed around with the play and didn’t have the hotel’s card with me, nor as it turned out did I quite know the hotel’s name nor address nor phone number. Ah, you can see where this is going. I got lost.

Fortunately, I had paid attention to various billboards, like the hand painted like a bright tropical bird and a sign for an indigenous peoples exhibit. After quite a few side-streets, the evening ended not with the police, but a hot shower, cheap Spanish wine, and British TV.

I think I neglected to tell Ann or Liz about this...

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