That's what we in the know refer to Lisbon here.
Got in this morning, which was about 2 AM Los Angeles time. The American Airlines flight was fine -- but then I consider any flight that lands safely and reasonably on time (and this was a bit earl) to be fine. Other than that, it was like a budget airline, not American. The plane seemed like it was built in 1982, and hadn't been upgraded since. I had no music in my seat, they played a movie all night -- which meant it was like a spotlight was shining down from above in the dark, and during meal service I saw a roll fall on the group, the flight attendant pick it up and put it back on the tray. Fortunately, it was for the seat next to me, so I told him, and he put it aside. (Yes, it was wrapped, but the wrapping was now all-covered with dirt and germs.)
I got a taxi at the airport and headed off to the Marriott Hotel where we're staying, which is pretty close by. Fortunately, I had done a lot of checking before leaving on the trip because when I got there I said, "This isn't the Marriott." And so it wasn't -- it turns out, the cab driver thought I'd said the "Myriad Hotel"! To his credit, he re-set the meter and we headed off to the right place.
Again, thanks to checking things beforehand, I mastered the Metro system and took it to mid-city Well..mastered in only taking it to a location within my comfort zone. And I had a humorous effort trying to get a "Viva" card and ticket in the first place, even with the help of a Metro official. Not only wouldn't it take my credit card -- it wouldn't even take my coins! She tried everything -- this didn't seem to be the first time she'd faced this -- including bouncing the coins off the ground, rubbing it against the glass, scraping it and more. Nothing worked...but eventually it kicked in and all was well.
I went the the Calouste Galbunkian Museum, which is interesting and generally pretty good. He was an incredibly wealthy oil magnate who had a massive art collection which he bequeathed to Portugal. Also took a walk to Eduardo VII Park. Nice view --.
Then on to a very nice dinner at Laurentia Restaurant, known for its cod -- which is the fish of choice here in Lisbon. I'm not a cod fan, but tried it, and it was a good disk, as far as cod goes. But all the sides were delicious, in particular a local cheese from nearby, azeitao. Delicious, sort of like a pungent brie, and a bit more soft.
Very difficult to find the restaurant on the map, since the street almost isn't a street. When you get there, neither end has an entrance. for cars. A car can only get on it by a side street that intersects. And even then, it seems more like a walking mall than street. And cars seem to park wherever they want.
Yes, this is a street. I know there are cars there, but that's the only evidence.
But then, it seems like Lisbon (sorry, Lisboa) does its best to hide its streets, or at least street name. When it decides to, the street signs are well-hidden, bolted to the side of a building, sort of like Paris. But it seems hit and miss in spotting them.
And I have a feeling that all the sidewalks are cobblestone. This is not a complaint, mind you. Nor is most of this. It's a very pretty city, and seems charming at first glance. More on that latter. Others in the group start showing up tomorrow, and the conference starts on Thursday.
And now FINALLY off to bed. It's much too late for me, albeit early. It's 11:15 PM here, though 3:15 in the afternoon back in Los Angeles. But I'm running on fumes. I'd have written this early, but...the WiFi has been out in the rooms all evening. Finally, I called the front desk, who said to come to the lobby and use the open WifFi there. So, I got dressed again, headed down, and here we are. And there we go... Bed-time now!
The elves taking care of the homestead while I'm a away got a kick out of me being taken to the wrong hotel, but then that's why they're elves...
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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