Three Days in Lisbon
By Scott Rosenberg, 5/10/2002 (Originally aired 11/9/2001)
I was recently in Lisbon for a mere 3 days to play in a jazz festival. Here are some things I experienced:
I walked and sweated up and down the broad pedestrian malls, dead tired with jet lag, forcing myself to stay awake until dusk.
I discovered the Euro equivalent to the hot dog (a sausage in a croissant).
I saw men in sandals and women in white cotton pants.
I saw a worker hammering at a cobblestone sidewalk with a large flat stone stuck to the end of a wooden stick.
I took part in an after-hours, top-volume jam session in a closed bar until 4 a.m. in a hidden corner of the Barrio Alto.
I was served by restaurant maidens in blue and white-striped outfits with bonnets and aprons (like a cross between a nun and a candy striper).
I drank a 20-year-old port the color of roasted plums and gold, which tasted like creamed almonds and milk chocolate raining from a peach cloud.
The group I played with, performed with, received a standing ovation.
I watched nudity on television.
I ate steak covered with an egg, pork medallions sautéed with clams, grilled sardines the size of my forearm, bony slabs of bacalao, the best herb-grilled chicken of my life, lemon and cilantro grilled squid.
And steamed bacon (why?).
A man lent me his baritone saxophone with no hesitation after Id known him only 3 hours.
I drank whiskey out of plastic cups on a narrow cobbled street among a crowd that spilled out of a bar.
I struggled through 35 pages of music Id never seen until exactly 34 hours before I performed it live.
I found a magical 6,000 Escudos that just appeared in my backpack 30 minutes before I left the country (to be hastily spent on cheese and sausage, which I am still hoarding miserly).
I inhaled the second-hand smoke of people puffing in airports, restaurants, hotel lobbies, concert halls, elevators, bathrooms, cabs, phone booths
All in all, I had quite a time.
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