Decorative Guidelines

To live and enjoy Portugal you must have a sense of humour. Don’t even bother moving here if you cannot laugh at the irreverent lack of discipline on the streets. Is it really lack of discipline though, or simply a penchant for non-conformism? What am I babbling about here… well, as usual, my bus ride home drew my attention towards another aspect about life in Lisbon. The white lines that are supposed to define parking spaces seem to be purely decorative in nature here. All it takes is one car to ignore the beginning and end of the line, park over it, and the next 10 cars will continue the pattern until there is absolutely no point in having the lines anymore.

I thought it was a fluke at the park we passed by, but when I got off at the next stop to change buses, I stood and observed the parked cars again. Out of the nine cars parked, not a single one was parked within the lines, and all it took was a single Smart to mess up the system, because it only took up half of the alloted parking space. I’m truly sorry I didn’t photograph any of this, but in the interest of privacy (of the car owners) I simply couldn’t. Not to mention it was raining and there were a lot of grumpy people on the go today.

If you looked closely at the parked cars though, there was order in the way all of them were parked. Not an inch was sacrificed, and no such thing as too close to the other car. Just park your metal ass behind the other guy and you are fine. You’ll have to bump and grind your way out of it anyway. Welcome to Portugal!

Dinner tonight was an aboslute delight. Frango grelhado is my second best friend (the reigning monarch being bacalhau grelhado). The former being roasted chicken and the latter grilled cod. OMG I think I died and went to heaven! No, wait a minute, I died in Berlin and resurrected in Lisbon among an angelic choir of grilled chickens and cod. Yup, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Why all the fuss about a simple roasted chicken? Well, it was almost like the Filipino street food that was such an integral part of my youth, Andoks chicken is grilled with lemon grass, which obviously is not part of the Portuguese recipe, but damn, it tasted just as good and I was flooded with wonderful memories of meals with my parents and college friends. There was nothing fancy about dinner tonight but it was a long day, I am weary to the bone, and am suffering from major sunshine withdrawal symptoms. So yes, treated myself to the frango grelhado.

I freaking moved to Portugal to escape the dreary German weather, and what do I get? Three weeks of rain and wind. It’s almost like intermitent fasting… you go 16 hours without seeing a single ray of sun. Sigh. When I said this out loud the other day, someone looked up at me and snorted “you sure chose the wrong month to do so.” Gee, thanks pal, rub it in.

No Uber story today? You might ask. Of course I have one. Well, two actually, since I didn’t tell you one yesterday. The two drivers couldn’t have been greater polar opposites (no, not polar bears). Driver A lamented the entire ride about how people have become so attached to their electronics that they forget to live life face-to-face. He and I were obviously from the same generation and we agreed that the charm of handwritten letters has completely vanished from society. Although, I have to say that one of my soul sisters remains true to form and still sends me cards and gifts with handwritten dedeications. The good man had great dreams of travelling to distant ports, and I admired his sense of adventure, but between having to earn money and the numerous travel restrictions, he finds himself stuck in Lisbon for the time being. I mean, there are worse places to be stuck in.

Driver B grinned at me when I got into the car this morning. I was greeted with a cheerful “You probably don’t remember me but I drove you two weeks ago. Have you found a new home yet? Have to taken any good pictures in the meantime?” Wow. My brain went into overdrive and I had to dig deep into my short-term memory archive, and then I remembered all the details about his life that he shared. It was his turn to be surprised. There was no lamentation today, rather an attempt to convince me to buy and electric car whenever I was ready. The guy is a techie and drives Uber on the side, I have to say, and this whole conversation started when I asked whether car leasing was a big business here or a less popular choice. So I got the rundown and am totally sold on the idea, I just need to get my Portuguese driver’s license.

Oh and totally forgot that I am still very much in football sancta terra. After all, this is Cristiano Ronaldo territory. Don’t tell anyone but I will fan-girl over Luis Figo any day instead. How I wish I could photograph the man, he is the perfect photographic specimen if you ask me. As I write this, Portugal is playing Turkey, and is leading 1:0. Moi? A spectator? Only during world cups, and then I usually cheer for Germany. But now? Ah, I sense the winds of change.

That’s a wrap folks! I bid you all a good night or day, depending on when you read this.

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