>the bull is not killed
>yesterday morning, i awoke with all the promise of a beautiful sun that would bronze me into a vigour. i was not disappointed.
first came, of course, my bus tour which breezed me through the adolescent sun-city and infused me with the city’s history:
the 1902 street elevator which is 45 metres high and made in the neo-gothic style; the victories of king joao I, who ruled from 1384-1433 and turned portugal into the world’s greatest sea power for the 15th and 16th centuries; the executions, markets, bull fights, and military shows that have occured in the rossio square; the 1143 CE celebration of portugal’s independence; the decorative black cobblestones on aventide da liberdade from 1842; the 1755 earthquake which destroyed lisbon into ashes; the phoenicians discovery of lisbon in 1200BCE; lisbon crowned the capital city in 1256 CE; the 1892 bullring where the death of the bull is forbidden . . .
the bus roared by the tagus coast where collassal bridges and monuments to jesus (corcovado, anyone?) and WWII are erected in dazzling sea-breeze splendour. the salt water scent wafted through my crazy hair.
when the bus left me thoroughly satisfied, i walked through lisbon’s escalating and winding streets of tiny square stones, painted blue-and-yellow tiles, and ornate residences. i found a notre dame lookalike, the Sé Catedral, that sat humbled by time and renovation as tram cars roared by it. then i took a walk up and about Castelo De Sao Jorge which dates back to 138 BCE. the stone steps reach up and down in awkward procession, and i pondered about the men who patrolled those towers and shot arrows aflame from little keyholes that face the city below.
the typical panorama view could be seen from up there, although stunngingly inspiring and loaded with potency, just like all the rest. i paused for a few moments under the reddening sun, then descended the streets craving agua and low winds.
my wanderings and busy feets led me up steep stairs to the Museu Teatro Romano, which was free of charge. the ruins and artifacts of an ancients roman theatre wre being excavated, and i was rivetted by the sumptuous blocks of history before me. the procscenium arches, the orchestra section, the series of trap doors and theatrical designs that are mostly still used to this day. the found artifacts such as coins, reliefs, and pottery stirred me. i bounded out of that museum loving the steep stretch of stone streets and narrow trams rails before me.
as i rounded Rua Das Pedras Negras, i paused to watch a portuguese film being shot. extras dresses as either polic in riot gear or student protestors in 1960s couture of go-go boots and bell-bottoms raged through the dirty street until they collided in a scene sure to win over lisbon audiences. the female director raged over her megaphone.
i then walked away, realizing that i see movie sets in toronto every damn day.
after treating myself to an ice cream cone, i winded round the city, wowing at the ‘ascendor da gloria’ and ‘ascensor da bica,’ or the funiculars that date back to 1882 and carry passengers lightly up the steepest paths from downtown to posh panoramic chiado. they used to operate under water counterbalances and steam systems until switching to electricity in the early 20th century. i climbed their ascents, wandered in and out of side streets, snapped photos of beautiful corners of the planet, and somehow found my way back to my hostel, where drunken women sang to a balcony guitar the night before and well into the morning. i loved sleeping to the sounds of lisbon so many people will never hear.
in the evening, i sat in rossio square, where a trio played traditional portuguese songs to a circle of dancers and joyous onlookers. the sun descended and the pigeon feathers circled in scientific winds about my feet. people sat quietly on the fountain ledges, or behind frosty beer mugs on the café/patisserie patios.
today brings a trip to the ericeira beach, and the realization that all things do indeed end.
i hate absolutes.