Sweet Lisbon

The Parent Imperfect returns after a long absence. The past three weeks have proven beyond any doubt that this is not going to be a travelogue. The PI thanks those readers who have continued to visit despite his absence.

The trip to Lisbon was a memorable one, even if it was dominated by the inner walls of one swanky hotel. The hotel came to life on the evening that the social and economic elite of Bosnia-Herzegovina descended to see the national soccer team take on the vaunted Portuguese side in B-H’s first-ever game for a trip to the 2010 World Cup. In just five seconds during the 81st minute, the men in blue bounced the ball off both crossbar and goal post, and their chance was gone, 1-0. A noticeably deflated elite returned to the hotel that night, but there was little of the destructive behavior that the PI expected from the losing fans.

Once the work was over, the PI had a chance to see a bit of the city, courtesy of a bus trip sponsored by the organization paying his way. On a windy, rainy day typical of November in Lisbon, the PI took in both the Torre de Belem and the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (the PI has not figured out how to accent characters on his new computer). Even the miserable weather could not diminish the impressiveness of these two sites on Lisbon’s sweeping waterfront. They are two of the  few jewels of medieval Lisbon that survived the catastrophic earthquake/tsunami of 1755.

While certainly a lover of history, the PI admits to loving pastry more. As a result, the truly unforgettable moment in that rainy day was the group’s visit to Pasteis Belem. This has to be the largest pastry shop in the world. The PI staggered through room after room of Sunday morning pastry fans much more interested in the little round “calorie bombs” than the passing tourists, most of the Eastern European. What would the crowd have been on a nice day? To his credit, the PI gobbled down only one of the ten served to his table of four, and didn’t even get anything to drink as the senior manager at the table consumed two drinnks without a moment’s hesitation.

An ear shattering shreik of “Gimmee!!!” reminiscent of the sound made by the little girl in “The Exorcist” shatters the silence and reminds the PI that he is back in Boston. An e-mail from dear Liz asks, “Are you coming down from the attic…EVER?” Home, sweet home…

The PI is back, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, to get ready for the next trip…

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