Friday, June 25, 2010

Caipirinhas, Cod and Full Circles

Today was a light day. Slept off too much vinho verde (green wine) til 10.

Had a breakfast of yogurt and Rocha Pear--a pear variety developed specifically for small scale production and year-round consumption (i.e., excellent storage capacity) in Portugal. I bought two yesterday for 15 cents in a little bodega on a picturesque street in the Old City. Sweet, juicy--out of season. Really, really out of season.

Went to have a little tiny coffee at 11. These coffees are amazing. They are like an electric shock to the heart. It's approximately 5 sips of coffee, but you won't need any more for about five hours. If that.

Monica's office at 12:30 for lunch with her colleagues. Got an invitation to come back to Lisbon and present a paper at the Institute for Social Sciences in November. To which I replied, no really, I couldn't possibly. I'm too busy. Dumbass. Let me try again. Yes, of course I would love to accept your kind offer and I will make it work.

Lisbon is amazing. I feel myself relaxing into this beauty and the easy going feel of this place and I really really don't want to leave. I am sure it is a facade and there is a difficult side to this country, like every other country, but I find it hard to hate a place that is constantly sunny, consistently 23 degrees C, endlessly supplying beautiful buildings festooned with laundry, cheap, easy transportation, great wine, amazing food, and beaches.

After the generous invitation that I turned down like a fool, (I am hoping it's not too late for me to come to my senses) we hopped on the subway at 2:57 to go to the beach for a few hours. The football match between Portugal and Brazil started at 3:00 and the tube was full of fans for both sides. Rowdy but jovial, the train emptied at a square broadcasting the game. I would like to know more about how these post-colonial relations really work. If only there was more time in the day.

After the beach we went to a Alto Bolto, a restaurant in a trendy part of town. The place took itself a bit too seriously, but had good food and a nice atmosphere. I had salt cod with onions in port wine, the restaurant specialty. Monica and I enjoyed a red wine from the North of Portugal and some nice Portuguese cheese. Later we met up with Yve, a graduate student with a rich life story, who is also interested in seed and food sovereignty and is a stewardess of a forest garden in the city. We went to a bar and had caipirinhas at a bar in her neighborhood. We talked about soil building, plant guilds and planting a fig tree for me in a garden overlooking the ocean.

Lisbon reminds me a bit of Manhatten. It has a very cosmopolitan and youthful feel. Just add colorful painted tiles from the 15th century on every beautiful building, luscious magnolias and bougainvillas festooned with flowers and mouth watering cuisine, and you have Lisbon. Um, yeah, pretty much a perfect city. Monica and I realized that the last time we had spent time together was in New York during the last World Cup. It is funny how these cycles of time bring us full circle. I'm in a very different place in life, and so is she, but the blessing of friendship is that we can share our lives, support each other and grow personally and intellectually together. Still. Again.

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