So there we were, meandering like nomads through the old sailors’ quarter in Lisbon. Laura was determined; more like, and pardon the expression, “hell bent” on finding “just the right place”. I on the other hand had just about had it. I was ready to change locations to a less gritty area. Now, if you have ever been to Disney and enjoyed the Caribbean pirate ride, you have a good feel for what I am describing. Let me say this, to me, it is easier to accept such grittiness when you are in the manufactured environs of an amusement park. You know the ride will end at some point and soon. In this case, I had no known ending. Please forgive me if I am sounding like a silver spooned spoiled rotten American. I learn quite a bit about myself when plunged into different circumstances. Sometimes I am resilient and can rise to the occasion. Other times I crater and the absurdity of life gets me. This is, at the moment, one of those times. Let me go on; it gets better.
We continued, door after door, peering into each. All visuals were acceptable to me, as I was unable to tell the difference from one old sailor’s den to the next. But to Laura it was the difference between a Da Vinci and a kindergartener’s rendition of an old lady in a rocking chair.
Laura’s quest forced us down the next pathway, on roads that are so small you could touch with outstretched arms the buildings on each side. Around the next corner we were accosted by a relatively large woman. No, I correct myself, she was huge. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. She was sitting outside a relatively small doorway. No, it was tiny. So tiny, I knew you would ask, that we questioned if a plunger was required to get this woman in and out of the place. As she approached us, a small chair was revealed from beneath her. Get the picture?
The woman had a personality as large as her self. I loved her. When she stated the “Fado is free”, we were in. You see, Laura’s ears are sensitive to words like “free” or “drastically reduced”. Being her tiny self, Laura walked casually and effortlessly right through the doorway. I, on the other hand, needed a little push. Oh, not because of size, more from apprehension. The place was packed. Eighteen of the twenty seats were filled. Yes, we took the last two seats. There was a reason they were the last two, located in a rather interesting position next to the band of three men in this small chamber. How Small? I knew you would ask. The room was so small that the guitar player could clean my left ear with the end of his guitar.
Our waiter, the only waiter in the joint, greeted us with a big smile, shy of a few teeth, but nonetheless a big smile. Laura was in love. Oh, not with the waiter, but with her bull’s eye pick of the atmosphere for which she was shooting.