Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Portuguese Fado


For the first time, I have no idea how to start this...

It was a vague feeling that started 2 days before getting on the plane and fly away to Portugal.

I landed in a romantic city under a clear, blue sky where a Portuguese lawyer greeted us on the bus from the airport...

A weird feeling of "normality" crawled under my skin... the air was fresh, the whole city was alive and the atmosphere was soft, the day was warm and balmy. The ocean wind blew the fountain's water in my hair and the sun was burning my forehead while I was unwrapping my first ice cream in Lisbon.

Crossing the narrow streets to the white and sunny Praca do Comercio I didn't feel I was in a foreign country, but I wasn't in Romania either, it's like I belonged there. Nothing was unusual, nothing was foreign, I felt like home in a city that I had been in for only 2 hours...

Now, back in Bucharest, I feel like I'm away on an endless trip in a city that I hate and I don't know when I'm gonna come back home again...maybe I should start learning Portuguese now and go "home"...

Bairo Alto was no stranger to me, as Lipscani is very similar to this crowded and lively neighborhood on that hill in Lisbon... Small pubs filled with beer drinkers standing up and chatting the whole night is not my thing but then again, perfection is too boring.

I grabbed Raluca's arm and whispered in her ear: "I have a major deja-vu" while we were climbing the stone stairs to a magical place above Lisbon, in the night... We leaned against the stone wall and took in the fabulous view of Lisbon in the night, with orange lights sparkling all over, along the river, through the wind-shaken leafs of the palm trees... I had been longing to be in a place like that for months, I couldn't bring myself to believe it was true.

For two nights I fell asleep watching the stars through the window in the ceiling after I dried my nails in the evening wind on the balcony.

The Pastel de Nata/Pastel de Belem mania started softly... I just asked George about some good traditional sweet and he answered weakly about this Pastel de Nata but didn't make such a fuss about it. Then everybody went crazy about it. Me included.

I felt just like in "Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona" when I entered the castle's garden and heard the guitar playing romantic Fado wherever I was.

Yes, we cheated at the Treasure Hunt: we had Filupa from the tourism center fill in all the answers for us and then joined Cole's team to Belem where I never thought I could mix a pirate, discussions about faith and religion, Justin Bieber, shoe stealing and racism in two hours...

A train ride away and here I am, getting off and lighting a cigarette in Amadora.
We pass through neighborhoods that seem cut out from a different world and start to understand that Portugal is not just Fado, sweets and sunny, happy days.

Sintra.

Well, Sintra... I must admit that for a minute I stopped typing and my thoughts flew very far away: over to the green city, to the big house just for us, to the rice with curry, the Limoncello, the Funana dances, the Karaoke, the drinking games, the workshops, the Caipirinha, the graffiti, the stars and the dreamers under them, the bright landscape at night, the forgotten bottle of beer on the table...

Back in Amadora Cole asked me after the festival: "Do you have a sixth sense or something? You said right from the start that you could feel this tension in the air". I don't know, maybe I was just irritated from the wind, maybe that cultural shock got me down but I could feel something was just not right. Valter looked incredible that day, I wish I could have seen him onstage at his very best.

Friday.

I don't think there are right words to describe Friday morning...
The rain clouds followed us all the way to Cascais, a place where all my old wishes and dreams finally came true. I just threw my shoes away and let the cold clear water of the ocean sink my feet in the golden sand.

With my jeans all wet, I lit a cigarette on the beach watching the endless blue water thinking about... absolutely nothing.

As I reached the end of the dam I sat down, made a wish and threw a coin in the ocean feeling hopeful and optimistic in a very long time. Two days later I was 10.000 km up in the air, watching the clouds under me and recalling that moment with a smile on my face as I leaned my head against the jet window.

Friday afternoon I felt I had it all: the ocean, the earrings, the quick shopping, the fabulous sms my friend from Romania sent me while I was trying on high heels in Bershka, the feeling of power, a great force upon me, the water, release, freedom... I ruled the world once again.

"World hold on" is the tune I have in mind when I remember the ride in Frankfurt at night. Why Frankfurt? Because we missed the plane back home and got stuck in Germany for one night, so that at 2.20 AM Raluca, Laur and I were driving fast on the perfect, clean, empty streets of Germany...