Monday, October 19, 2009

wishing chicago was closer

I've been struck with forgotten memories from Portugal. They've come at the most random times, unconnected to anything I'm thinking about, yet vivid nonetheless. Here's a few...

-Her dark eyes peered out from behind her mother's cotton beach dress. Her little pink hat sat crookedly on her head forcing her left ear to stick out farther than her right. The gap in her front teeth showed just enough, that when put together with her round gleaming eyes, you had to question her three year old motives. I stepped off the bus with my backpack and t-shirt and jeans, clothing unfit for this beach town and stood over mother and daughter. They both tilted their heads way back to take me in. Lucia grabbed her ear that stuck out and pushed her thumb into her mouth. As we walked down the sandy road her mother tried to explain Lucia's newfound shyness. I figured it would be blamed on how tall I was. She said it was the nose ring.

- The waiters with the hot bodies, best personalities and most gorgeous eyes were put outside to convince tourists to sit at their restaurant. They knew enough of every language to lure the visitors in, and they usually were good at guessing where people were from. I usually avoided this strip of Lisbon. Too touristy for me, and I stuck out enough, but today I was wearing my yellow dress and was feeling brave. The dress was tied so that it only covered one shoulder, and the way I walked gave the impression that you might get to see a little more if you watched long enough. The little old ladies coming out of the cathedral already gave me their best judging eyes, but i merely laughed behind my sunglasses. As I walked on the smoothed cobblestones, the waiters came to their posts. Their eyes flashed quickly up and down taking in my long tanned legs, the short yellow dress, and the dark brown hair that curled at my shoulders. They were slow to speak, unable to decide what language to use first. I pulled down my sunglasses to meet their gaze, daring them to make a guess. Getting it right the first time was imperative as to whether i would stop or not, and they knew this. It was like a game. The first said something in French, I shook my head and turned my attention to the next waiter. German, nope. Spanish, I gave him a little smile and gave him a consolation prize of a small line in Spanish to give away how wrong he was. By the end of the row there was only one guess left. He incredibly asked, Falo Portuguese? I walked past him before turning around and giving them all a smile, replaced my sunglasses, and said, "Maybe next time boys." The audible groans carried over the english lines they called after me trying to get me to come back. I just turned in the direction i was heading and gave myself a mental point. Another win for the American in the yellow dress, we'll see what they can do next week.

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