Sunday, July 5, Lisbon

Today is the day of uncertainty. The US plays Japan, past midnight our time, but I’ll stay up to watch. The next day, Monday, I’m scheduled to leave here. I don’t know where I’m headed. Even in my usual peripatetic style I have some clue about where I’m moving to, but this time my chronic indecision is really in gear.

And the Greeks vote today. I’ve paid more attention to them than I have to Lisbon, fascinated by the spectacle. I read in a London newspaper the other day a ranking of EU members by their debt:GDP ratio. Greece was, of course, first. Portugal was second. Yet there is absolutely no clue here that this land is in jeopardy of the same crisis that afflicts Athens. It seems almost according to the caprice of the Western European bankers. If they demand payment the economy of the debtor nation collapses, pensions are rendered worthless, jobs vanish, Depression looms. If no one bothers to tell the folks in Lisbon about this they’ll carry on carrying on. I wouldn’t describe this city as merry or buoyant but there are a few of those giant cranes working, and the tourists are here. Two giant cruise ships have docked here just in the past week. {I read another article that reported people in Barcelona are fed up with all the tourists, especially the cruise people who seem to float above Las Ramblas without spending any actual cash.}

I hope Ms. Merkel doesn’t turn her gaze on Portugal. Why spoil this fable?

2015-07-04 08.20.50
I spent yesterday morning at a flea market. To get there I had to walk through the sinuous streets of the old city full of churches and working class apartments. It’s surprisingly tiring, I think because every sidewalk is made of cobblestones and the uneven surface consumes much more energy than a flat surface would require.
2015-07-04 08.23.14
Lisbon, like a lot of places I’ve visited is besotted with graffiti. This monster was a rare example of benign scrawling. Most of the city is spoiled with the usual ugly gothic scribble scrabble.
2015-07-04 08.29.08
A representative building from Lisbon’s core. Today I’m headed for the beach.

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Jerry Heverly

I'm a high school English teacher from San Leandro High School in California.

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