portugal: feira da ladra e cascaistravel

September 23, 2009

--skip to 1:00 or so

Photoblog of the Moment
Another beautiful day in Lisbon. Some youngish girls pointed out that today the Metro was free. And later I found out, so was the bus, and the train.

Anyway, my shadow with some modern art gracing a parking garage near Baixa-Chiado.

Portugal has some of the old trams kicking around. They seem to use them kind of interchangably with diesel and electric buses.

Random beautiful building out the window of the bus. Gorgeousness is everywhere in this city!

Another random and beautiful wall.

So my goal was "Feira da Ladra" - literally (in Spanglish) "Bandita's Fair" - a giant twice weekly flea market of sorts- (NB: Johnny objects strenuously to the use of Spanglish to translate when there is a perfectly good word "Bandida")

Lots of activity! It was pretty big.

Not atypical setup--

Presumably this cluster of women wasn't for sale, though they're kind of set out the same way.

The fair was in the shadow of the National Pantheon (was going to be a church 'til the money ran out) --

View up the Pantheon from the outside.

The Pantheon was almost an afterthought but man -- it was HUUUGE and GORGEOUS.

The dome at the top was so high up...

Amália was a much beloved singer who is entombed there, and they seemed to be having some kind of special exhibit about her, with a looping video presentation about half way up - here she is in an old ad.

So I climbed all the way up - this the view

There weren't many tourists there (maybe they realized quicker than I did that the outside patio was closed for repairs, so I missed another nice view of the city, but hey.) Still I had a nice moment sitting in the coolth, reviewing my plans with my copy of "Let's Go!", and listening to the kind of haunting echoes of Amália's fado.

Such a cute little car. Smells when it runs, though.

So after a little more getting lost I hopped on a (free!) train to Cascais, a nice little beach town. The train is treated a bit like the extension of the metro, I'd say: tickets are checked by automated gates, rather than onboard.

Palm-lined streets there.

Popped into the mall for some sunscreen. I think this is the outside of a cinema there.

I was a little stunned to see a Game Stop that was pretty much exactly the same as every other Game Stop in the world.

Sort of like holding the knife the wrong way, based on some expectations and visual cues, I almost got on the wrong escalator. I guess I'm really used to escalators set up so you can just turn the corner and go up the next one. Johnny says they're generally all like this in Portugal.

Ok, other bit of random culture: the new default shopping cart is this deep basket with wheels and a handle... it used to be regular carts or hand baskets only, this seems like a smart compromise.

I've seen this odd little module ice cream stores a lot of places as well.

Street entertainer, one of those pseudo-statue guys. He gives you a lolipop.

I saw this in downtown Lisbon as well - a street performer making big bubbles.

I think the beaches were more swimming-friendly a bit down the coast, but I pseudo-ritually got my feet wet.

Oh and the beach had pigeons.

I still dig the kind of yellow wall motif that shows up so much.

Flowering trees...

So, one of the big appeals of Cascais is "Boca do Inferno", "Hell's Mouth". They say you can hear the devil whispering in the sound of the waves splashing on rock. Here it looks like it took a bite out of the sign...

Oh, and roll-y billboards are pretty common around here, mostly I've seen them in malls and stuff in the states.

View from the back of Hell's Mouth.

Fishrmen doin' their fishermen thing.

Front of Hell's Mouth.


There was this little shaded nook I wanted to crawl into and read and listen to the water.

Unfortunately, instead of the devil whispering I mostly heard this woman yamering on her cellphone, so I figured it was time to move on.

Final view of the inside...

I liked this dog towel better when I thought the dog was wearing a little red and white party hat.

I don't know if this structure has a name, but I hope it translates as "heck's mouth".

Odd, minimalist car dealership.

Cute red car though.

This Eau de Toilette bottle was just sitting there. And it was labeled "Alone" appropriately enough.

Woman regarding some modern art outside the fortress. I liked how her hat kind of reflects the art.

The smart car "forfour". Not sure I get the point.

I decided it would be clever to walk through the shady streets and of course got lost. Again.

Heheh. "Beer boutique".

Oh so THAT'S why all the trains etc were free...

I don't know if it's Portuguese or European or just a city thing, but I love the small elevators here, with each floor having a rather normal door that you just you know, open - there's no extra safety door, but it's well put together so you don't really have to worry getting a finger caught or anything. Here is a horrible and useless picture of it.

From space, astronauts can see people making love as a tiny speck of light. Not light, exactly, but a glow that could be mistaken for light--a coital radiance that takes generations to pour like honey through the darkness to the astronaut's eyes.

In about one and a half centuries--after the lovers who made the glow will have long since been laid permanently on their backs--metropolises will be seen from space. They will glow all year. Smaller cities will also be seen, but with great difficulty. Shtetls will be virtually impossible to spot. Individual couples, invisible.

The glow is born from the sum of thousands of loves: newlyweds and teenagers who spark like lighters out of butane, pairs of men who burn fast and bright, pairs of women who illuminate for hours with soft multiple glows, orgies like rock and flint toys sold at festivals, couples trying unsuccessfully to have children who burn their frustrated image on the continent like the bloom a bright light leaves on the eye after you turn away from it.

--Jonathan Safran Foer, "Everything is Illuminated"
"You've gotta choose people who aren't much more motivated than you are but don't surround yourself with total narcissists. Otherwise, things start to be about something other than you."