I am in Europe to visit seven cities for the holiday season. You, the reader, shall get one post for each country I visit. This is the second one. Enjoy.
Ferdinand Magellan was Portuguese. I didn’t realize that. But it makes sense why a country like the Philippines has little Portuguese influence…they kinda killed the poor guy. Now I’m about to visit the city that loves him.
Bom Dia Lisboa!
My first steps out of the train station gave me an immediate display of historical buildings. With hundreds of years under Catholic rule, it’s no surprise that these buildings are quite tremendous in stature. There was a church called “Igreja de São Domingos” that was in existence since the 13th century. It is completely made of stone; every statue inside it is in ruins. The architecture is truly overwhelming, even for the most cynical of persons. How can anything be 800 years old and still remain sexy?
There’s Hospitality Here!
I went to a café in the center of the main street, where I started a conversation with two beardly gentlemen. Their names names were João (Jaww-WOW) and Pedró (Peh-DROO). They gave me piece-of-mind about the people of Lisbon and the rest of Portugal. The following is what I’ve learned from them:
“It’s not natural” to eat on-the-go. There are no food trucks here. There are no grab ‘n’ go joints. It’s all about taking a seat, relaxing, and sipping that espresso. The only thing remotely close to a “quick bite” was at a pizzeria that sold slices by the gram. (But wait, that’s actually pretty cool.) I proceeded to ask the hurly-burly baristas if they’ve ever been to America.
“When I was visiting New York, I had to sit my roommates down in order for us to eat together,” said Pedró.
This guy really meant business with this whole “eating together” thing. I wonder if he has ever tried grabbing a slice and a soda when he was Manhattan? Probably not. This really shows perspective on just how collectivist Portugal truly is.
Apparently, Dating Portuguese Women is Tough. “You must bring your A-game. You need to go full-throttle…If you fail just once, it’s over,” insisted Pedró & João.
They constantly emphasized that Portuguese women are “very difficult to please.” They swore that it inherently takes about seventeen coffees for a man to win a Portuguese woman’s interest. This characteristic alone could drive the average frat boy insane. Thankfully, there are more than five ways to tell someone in Portuguese that they are pretty. Apparently, the line that takes the most guts is “Tu es muito fresca.” Pedró said that it will earn you a slap in the face. I wonder why. Perhaps I will try this out in Newark and see what happens.
The High Ground is the Underground
The place to be is in Bairro Alto. Go there. A liter of sangria is less than three Euros. That’s a really sweet deal from the Lisboa skyhipsters.
Around nine in the evening, I went to buy a snack at a pizzeria where I heard the sweet sound of English. I met a couple of Left-Coasters named Oliver and Eric. The latter bloke is studying in Lisbon for a semester–he finally mastered the language and can say “obrigado” like nobody’s business.
We proceeded as they showed me around the area. Then, they let me rest at their flat for a few minutes. At their quaint Manhattan-like apartment, I was introduced to three Frenchmen of whom claim to enjoy gay bars. Upon asking them if they were indeed gay themselves, one replied “no, we are not gay–we’re just very European.” … Über-lolz.
“What I miss about America is convenience. For anything convenient [In Lisbon], there’s always something really cool that’s inconvenient.” -Eric Andrews, CA
On a side note, I was quite content with the English proficiency in Lisbon. But to be able to speak Italian or Spanish makes it easier to communicate with the Portuguese people. These romance languages really work like white on rice. I will declare that, no matter what the language, everybody here speaks “beer.”
“Mojito alitri!” -Enrica, Italy
I never thought Lisbon would be this exciting. I was wrong. I met people from Italy, France, Sweden, and Poland–all in just one night. Viva Lisboa. ♣