Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2017

Poetry meets music and dance 2017/11/12 Lisbon

After a few days of catching up on chores, I took a stroll and lost myself in the laneways south of Graca. I emerged at the Mirador of Portos do Sol about 12 noon. It's a large, public, paved area, with views over the city to the ocean-blue estuary. There was a crowd: a TV crew shooting a talking head segment, buskers, a few African hawkers selling jewellery to tourists. The buskers were a 3-piece band … drums, strings and vocals, playing reggae in the sunshine. I started grooving and danced solo for a few tunes – the sea breeze and the distant, sparkling waves danced with me.   I noticed a woman quietly appreciating the music and enquired if she was also a visitor in Lisbon. I learned that Liz was from Cuba, today exploring Lisbon for the first time. She had flown to Lisbon from Angola one day before, on her way to start a new life in Madrid. It was easy for us to chat because she is fluent in Spanish as well as Portuguese, so I invited her to join me for lunch.  The band we

Shiny sunsets, fish and forro 2017/11/8 Lisbon

The polished cream stone pavements and glazed, geometric tiles of the classic old buildings give Lisboa an unusual scaly sheen, fitting for a city of fish-eaters. Perhaps the town planners and architects took inspiration from the sea, like Gaudi did in Barcelona... but instead of curvy follies, they laid crazy pavement mosaics and fancifully tiled whole facades. The narrow streets cobbled in dark stone like the skin of an ancient oceangoing dinosaur, often give a glimpse of the sea. Most restaurants will offer you more than a taste of it, chargrilled and very fresh for a handful of coin.   My first Portuguese meal was at Flor de Sapadores, in Penha de Fran├ža. No frills white tile, plastic and metal decor... but i figure if all the grandmas eat there it must be good. I never saw such a convivial gathering of independent, happy pensioners. Without understanding the menu, I ordered one of five kinds of fish. I was not disappointed: two very fresh whole fish chargrilled, side salad an

Emotions and art in Madrid 2017/11/1

In the short time I’ve had to explore Madrid, I already like it. Every time I step out the door I see something cool. A melting pot barrio, Lavapies charms me with abundant art, diverse cuisine, quiet side streets. I am consumed by writing since I got here. Writing about crying. I miss my new friends from Barcelona... and I think I'm in love.  I'm besotted with someone who's is already in a relationship and lives far away. At times like this, it's challenging to travel solo, but luckily I'm not the kind of person who sinks into deep depressions. I remember that I'm on a big adventure... and I still get hungry. On my first few days in Madrid, I stumble out into the daylight about lunchtime, to dine outdoors on a street with beautiful murals. Yesterday was a Halloween public holiday, another intense morning of crying and writing. The emotion is not not all sadness and loss but also gratitude, excitement and warmth, because we still have a connection. It