Monday, May 5, 2008

Strangers Encontre

The kindness of strangers shed light on our journey...

2 Italian ladies shared their wine with us at luncheon, spoke to us in broken Spanish, Italian, and bits and pieces of English + French. Three college art students conversed with us on the street and updated us on where to chill, what to see, and what their lives are like in Lisboa. A few Turkish guys were over ambitious and wanted to take us clubbing somewhere (we refused, of course!) 
A spiritual enlightenment took place in the train ride from Lisboa to Porto. We read the secrets for the consolation of a broken heart in "The Consolation of Philosophy"... 

Reaching new heights in our wisdom development and intellectual state, and at the same time experiencing the rawness and simplicity of early twenties with other college age types (in other words, partying hard with other youngsters!)

This is how Xiaoli described our Portugal trip. I am always amazed by how words can shape one's experience. We did encountered a lot of strangers, and sometimes surreal.

On the second night of our stay in Porto, while we were taking pictures on the bridge near Ribeira during sunset, two guys ran into us and asked if we can take pictures together by their Italianglais and Espangalais. I thought they were asking us if we need help to take a picture of our own in the first place. It's a funny picture. Then we hanged out in the college bar area at that night after dinner. 

In the town of creepy buildings, we encountered a group of Harry Potters near the college bar area, who are actually the seniors at the university and they were giving lectures to the juniors at that moment. It's super surreal...

Against the happiness of imaginative travel theory in Alain de Botton's The Art of Travel, we did zero research for Lisboa. Down to the capital, we met a three stylized fine art students who study porcelain (this is what Portugal made of!), photography and painting. It began by a question of the direction to the subway, but it turned out to be an answer of excitement! It was going to be the national day in Portugal the day after! We were sooooooo lucky. Imagine in a year we have 365 days, how narrow the chance could be for us to celebrate the national day with the local?

Well, actually the national day is not a big deal for the people here in terms of souvenir, but it's an excuse that they can hang out for a whole night to go crazy! Recommended by the fine art students, we went to Bairro Alto at late night and we found the hippest bar in town: BEDROOM. We met the over-ambitious Turkish, and some interesting local students. When I think back, a question come out naturally: Are we look like students? Is that the reason why almost all the people that we encountered are students. Fortunately they were college students, instead of high school students.

As a finale of our trip, we headed back to Porto to meet up the guys that we hanged out with in the bar area, and went to the same restaurant to see the little cute waiter. There is always an excitement to hang out with strangers that you think you have a connection with. We find them exotic, so do they. We are almost the only Chinese in the town! We were overjoyed. We went clubbing until 6 in the morning! Just in time to take a taxi back to the hotel to get the luggages and say goodbye to Portugal.


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