Things seem to be closed for no reason around here.
I flew out of London and landed at the Lisbon airport - and thank god, because that's where I was trying to go.
I had booked an Airbnb, and my host was nice enough to arrange a "Transfer Service" for me. I'm using quotes around "Transfer Service" because it was a little unclear to me at the time what was involved in a "Transfer Service". I'm not trying to delegitimize this particular "Transfer Service". When I found out what it was, I sent this message to my host:
Perfect. Thank you. This will be the first time I'll have someone waiting for me with my name on a board. This is exciting.
I entered the arrivals area and there it was. My name on a board. I walked slowly towards the woman holding my name - winking and pointing and glancing around to make sure that everyone saw that I was the one with the special service. Everyone was so impressed! People were cheering my name by the time I introduced myself to the driver.
🔌 The Adapter
My first task was to find a plug adapter for Portuguese sockets. This was more difficult than anticipated. I wandered around for a half hour before entering a store that looked even semi-promising. I talked to the guy that was working at the counter, but he couldn't help me out. He eventually pointed in a particular direction (northeastwardly) without saying anything, so I took that as a cue to leave the store. I attempted to walk in the direction he pointed and eventually found an adapter.
After dinner that same night, I went on a walkabout. I didn't get very far before spotting a familiar face - it was the human compass from the store! He was just standing out on the street, in a completely different part of the city. He sees me, and we have this conversation:
Me: "Hey! I found that adapter!"
He fist bumps me.
Guy: "You speak a little English right?"
Me: "Yeah I speak a lot of English."
Guy: "Ok, well I sell a little cocaine. You want some?"
Me: "No. I don't do any drugs. At all."
He looks at me like he doesn't believe me - which he shouldn't because I'm lying.
Me: "Really. I don't. Sorry."
Larry David stare down
I walk away.
⚗ Gin and Tonics
My go-to quick drink is gin with a little soda. It's simple and doesn't have a bunch of crap in it. I guess you could say it's healthy for you. A superfood.
The first time I ordered a "gin and soda" I was served a gin and tonic. Not your average gin and tonic in a small rocks glass - but a fishbowl filled with ice, about three ounces of gin, and an entire 200ml bottle of tonic water. If I were a bartender, I would use this glass to let a person know they were being an asshole.
At the next bar, I ask the bartender, "how do you say 'gin with a little soda' in Portuguese?"
"Gin com um pouco de agua com gás".
Great. Now I will be able to order the drink I want. That bartender proceeded to make me a gin and tonic in a fishbowl.
I love sardines. I've been eating them regularly for a while now. Before even Tim Ferriss started talking about them. I am a pioneer, if you will.
Most people think this is weird. They say things like "that's disgusting" and "what are you, poor?" - but most of the time there's an "ohhh I was thinking of anchovies" realization.
Well in this part of the world (and many other areas), canned sardines are cool and hip and fun and can be enjoyed without disapproving looks from those around you.
This was at Sol e Pesca. I went here on my first day in Lisbon and marveled at the fish wall. Afterwards, when I looked the place up, I saw that Anthony Bourdain went there on his Lisbon episode of No Reservations (@ 18:30). I reverse Bourdain-ed it. Feeling proud.
There's another good spot at Timeout Lisboa that sells a wide variety of canned seafood. It seems that every company in this industry is competing for best packaging design.
🎞 Landmark Vignettes
The following is a series of short vignettes I created in order play with video/audio and learn about color grading. I give it a C+.
There is a bridge in Lisbon that looks very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I didn't know this until I found myself at a vista point looking right at it and questioning my place in time and space.
It was constructed by the same company that built the old SF-Oakland Bay Bridge, even though it looks like the other bridge. I don't get it!
I don't know what this is, when it happened, or why it is a thing. And I don't have the research budget for my blog to be able to provide you with this information.
Cascais is a nice little beach town about an hour train ride west of Lisbon. I was only there for like two hours and this is what I saw: water, a very tiny beach, rich people, boats, a lot of restaurants, impressive coastal rock formations, and a nice park with a lot of birds in it.
A Little Taste of Switzerland in Portugal
I stayed at a coliving / coworking space called Surf Office for a few days. What's that? Did I surf? Why yes, I did. But only for the purpose of being able to answer my own question truthfully in this blog post.
At the office, I met some fantastic gentlemen from Switzerland. We went out to nice dinners for five or six consecutive nights. Nice dinners in Lisbon cost about the same as normal dinners in the states.
Here's where we went:
Here's what I learned about Switzerland:
- It's weird to order cocktails during dinner. You do it either before or after. I still can't believe this.
- It's not weird for a group of guys to be excited about ordering dessert.
- Switzerland has about four languages, one for each border and one for up in the mountains?
- Don't you dare eat mustard in St. Gallen.
🍸 Cocktail Spots
The Red Frog had, by far, the best cocktails in Lisbon.
Park is a decent bar situated on top of a parking garage. It's perfect if you don't want to walk very far to your car after a night of drinking. My visit to this bar started off like any other in Lisbon - ordered a "gin com um pouco de agua com gás" and got a gin and tonic.
And my favorite Portuguese alcohol discovery: Amarguinha Almond Liqueur. Try it with gin, sugar/agave, lemon, soda, maybe some egg white.
Food choice paralysis is the best kind of paralysis.
I'm eating more bread than ever before in my life and I AM HAPPY.
Walked home. Thought people were following me the whole time. Maybe they thought that I thought that they were following me. I wonder how that made them feel.
Ate a very difficult salad. Nobody should have to go through this to eat a salad.
How long do you have to be in a country before you can not feel guilty for not eating their cuisine for every meal?