Chapter 11 – Another Perspective
I do a lot of writing, and I love doing it… and I hope you readers get a lot out of it, but sometimes you just need a change to keep things fresh. As part of his learning regime, I asked Phil to do some writing as well. Being here, with the purpose we have, we can sometimes be overwhelmed with inspiration and ideas. Our heads are like idea tornadoes, just spinning around inside and it’s hard to grasp on and focus to things. Writing helps us get it out… helps us focus. Helps us obtain a better understanding of our own thoughts….. so here it is, unedited…. our experiences so far from the mind of Philip Bako:
Stepping into Lisbon is like stepping into a fairytale. You know when you were a kid you watch all these movies, and in your mind you tell yourself wow, that’s some dream world right there. This city has made me feel like I was in a dream. Everything from the patchwork tiles, historic building, the perfect sun, and Europeans walking with a certain chic aura; I’m tripping. Stepping into the streets of Lisbon is like a stepping into a world filled with things I can only dream of as a kid. Everything is new to me here. I’m a newborn here.
First thing that really hits me here is how old everything is. Everything you see, touch, breathe is old. They all have character and so much life in them. Growing up in modern cities like Jakarta and Toronto where I feel innovation and change is deemed more enticing than staying true to itself, I never realized that staying true to history and culture is so appealing. Lisbon really stays true to itself through all its history. New things do come up in this city, but I love how the old world and the new world just seamlessly mesh together. It boggles me. I’m so amazed of how much character and life that this city has to offer.
Everything is romantic here. Lisbon is a piece of meat, cooked ever so slowly and under such low varying temperatures, treated with such tender-care-love. Over time it has turned to this lovely, sexy, and succulent city. Now, I like Aaron, but I’m sure Lisbon was actually primed for me to experience with a lovely girl.
No offence to Aaron though. But I get it. As much as this is such a pleasurable trip, this is business.
After our trip from the Alentejo, coming into Lisbon is where I expect to do the majority of our ‘food-eating’ will take place. At this point, Aaron has hyped Lisbon so much that I’m almost afraid that I might be seeking way too much out of this lovely city.
I’m extremely picky. I know what I want. I’m sure of the things that I find good or bad. As we sat at our first restaurant in Lisbon, Cafe Lisboa, I couldn’t help but be a little fidgety.
You know that feeling of wanting something for a long time? But you just can’t have it albeit because of distance, unavailability whatever.. That strong unrequited longing for something or someone? This is what I was having with Portuguese food.
But now I’m here. Sitting in the restaurant. My longing was about to be no longer. I’m about to meet her.
I was excited and happy, but I was more scared I think. Will I understand this food? Am I expecting too much out of her?
While I sat there waiting for my food, for her to come, I was in a complete emotional wreck.
All I could do is stare at Aaron while he picks what I need to eat for the meal.. A few eternity’s worth of minutes later, here she comes.
One plate by one, they were laid out in front of me. Hi my name is Phil, I’ve been dying to have you all this time, I thought.
Then I ate.
I ate some more.
I paused to just experience her. I can’t describe it. She is amazing. I’m floored.
Cafe Lisboa, O Beco, Mercado da Ribeira, Minibar… All of them so perfect. She’s amazing. And she’s got a lot more to offer, I won’t have enough time for them all.
I’m only halfway through my stay in Lisbon, but I get this sense of burning passion now. I want to learn. I want more of it.
I want to treat the food right; the way they do it here. They treat her with such high standard but also an air of nonchalance, all to highlight the beauty and greatness that Portugal has to offer. They treat her (the food) with utmost respect, while at the same time continuing to discover new ways to elevate her in new heights.
I want that. I have to keep learning. I’m more curious than ever now.
I’ll have to leave her soon.
Saudade. It’s Portuguese for a strong longing for what you’ve experienced. I will feel it so strong when I leave her; Lisbon.
Kinda sad.. so I’ll make the best of it while I’m still here.
Let’s go for lunch.