21.9.04

Lisboa vista de Monsanto


What a terrible start to the day I had. I got up, full of enthusiasm, and was determined to get lots of work done - I even managed to catch the 8.48am train, and arrived at ISCTE at 9.30! My troubles began while I was walking up Av. das Forças Armadas to the uni: it was very hot, and my shirt was sticking to my back. On arriving at the university, I had to fight my way through a horde of caloiros (freshers) dressed as kindergarten children who made their way in a crocodile to the quad. The quad that is directly below my office in which I don't know how to operate the air condicioning. It was then that they began to sing, and play games, and loud music and fire water pistols, and make every possible noise imaginable. I persevered until noon, and decided that there was no possiblity of them leaving or shutting-up any time soon, so I left instead. I went to the other university I am attached to, the ICS (which is just next door, in the Edifício Novo), and managed to get something done, although the person I really wanted to see wasn't in. Undeterred, I went to the Biblioteca Nacional, only to find out that I had to renew my ticket. By this stage I was dripping wet and weary, and desperately needed a litre of Água das Pedras, something to eat and a nice soft chair in air conditioned comfort. This I found in a café next to the council's offices. I sat for a while, then decided that I would be better off back at the flat. So off I went, and actually got some work done. By way of reward, I walked from the flat in Alcântara to Monsanto (yes, I walked!). I waited until about 5pm before heading off, because I didn't want to climb that hill in 35 degree heat. Not wanting to be caught in Monsanto in the dark, however, I did it in 32 degree heat. Back in 1994, when I first lived in Lisbon, Monsanto was a virtual no-go area full of prostitutes, drug addicts and muggers. Now, however, it is well patrolled with its own special police unit, well lit, and is a nice green space full of wonderful views and excellent recreational facilities for families. I found a cafe at an 'international radio controlled car racing circuit', and sat and watched the model cars going through their paces (boy can these things shift!). Beautiful views, the wonderful scent of pine and eucalyptus, and lots of shade. Great end to an otherwise rubbish day.

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