A day away.

Once in a while an alone day keeps the doctor away.


Last week I took a day off of work to go to Oeiras to watch a concert by Rodrigo y Gabriela at EDP Cool Jazz.

If you don’t know Rodrigo y Gabriela, you must. They are guitar devils, who take the instrument and use it as they please, creating a real intense music, that can either makes you want to dance, as to headbang. A lot.
In my youth I was into metal, mostly the nowadays somewhat shameful nu metal. I was a total mansonite and listened all the major nu metal bands, from System of a Down, to Korn, Linkin Park and the already back in the day shameful Limp Bizkit. The first real concert I went to was of S.O.A.D., in Coimbra, and I headbanged so hard – for the music but also because I was an idiot teen – that I had neck pain for several days. I have many flaws, as the human I am, but, thankfully, I learn from my mistakes (most of the times), so I stopped headbanging like a moron and started headbanging normally (if that is possible). I was neck pain free for many years, until last week, when the habilities of Rodrigo, but mostly Gabriela, made me revive my youth years. Least to say I slept little that night.


The day began with a two and a half hour train ride to Lisbon. I went alone so I could roam at will, and I had no big plans other than lunch with a friend, a visit to the flea market, and the concert at night.

I was a bit nervous when I got out of the train. This friend I was going to meet is, at the same time, one of my best friends, my ex-boyfriend, and someone I haven’t met in person in ten years. I was afraid it would be awkward, but as soon as I saw him that all went away. I was nothing but happy, and I realized how much I miss have him in my daily life. The fact that he had almost not change may have helped. He aged little, and apart the trendy glasses, the skinny jeans (which were not a trend back in the day) and the fact that his lip mole grew bigger, he was pretty much the same physically. I was glad with how he was. He was lighter, brighter if you will, and even having some struggles still with his life, he seemed somewhat better (and I think that has much to do with his little niece who, from what I got, could as well be his daughter). The talk flowed, and we were talking for two hours, having lunch, smoking cigarettes, and talking about life. That made me think about how sometimes being away isn’t really being distant, and how funny and fortunate it is that when people bond truly time and distance have little influence on how you feel about each other. Being able to keep friends that we don’t get to see on our daily lives is really a gift. Even more so when they pay for lunch.

The visit to the flea market was a flop, and I came out empty handed. I went to a second hand book store looking to fill the hole in my soul with some books but that didn’t work out so I made a hole in my wallet by going to Sephora and buying an eyeliner and a red lipstick. Those things were expensive, for me, at least. As make-up goes, they were not expensive, of course, but I use it very seldom (apart the daily mascara that keeps me from looking like I have the eyes of a shrimp), and it’s not something at the top of my list of where to spend money.
I have a philosophy of life, passed to me by my father, where money is used to live instead of living to get money. So, I’m constantly poor. I pay all my bills, always on time, and over the years I’ve managed to get a savings account that allow me to not stress (much) if a bad moment comes by, but other than that I use my money more on things to do instead of stuff. I have a very old (but reliable) car, we have the basic plan for TV, phone and internet, and I only buy expensive things when quality is really a requirement, like boots and trekking shoes, or trekking clothes, or trekking accessories, or trekking trips, or trekking memorabilia… So, along the years I came to realize that make-up is one of those things where cheap is not the way to go, at all, either because we can end up looking like a clown or like the Elephant Man because some weird component caused an allergy that took four days of googling to figure out which was. That being said, that eyeliner and the lipstick are awesome and now I can pretend I’m super feminine and fool the world.

After emptying my pockets I went to Oeiras. I took the train and walked to the hostel, which was by the sea, with a great view, but alas 2 km away from the train station, and since I had already walked for 4 hours around Lisbon I started wondering why the hell I decided to use my fancy shoes that make me feel like I’m walking barefoot instead of the good trekking shoes that makes me feel like I’m walking on fluffy clouds. The walk to the hostel was really nice, I got to walk along the beach, and imagine I was bathing in the cool water and not sweating like a pig, like I really was. The people at the hostel were super friendly and I decided I would rest a bit before making another 2 km to the concert site. I went to take a shower and got to see how I’ve perfected the art of travel lightly. So lightly that I had no other clothes to wear, nor socks, no shampoo or bath gel, nor flip flops. With my towel in hand, I took a water shower, changed my underwear and probably got athlete’s foot.

I had dinner at the concert site and got to do one of the things I love most to do in life: try new food. Even when the food it’s not that great, the novelty is always worthy. I had a chickpea and peanut burger with quinoa (both a first) and salad, and for dessert two scoops of ice-cream, one strawberry flavored and the other guava, mango and lime flavored (also a first). The burger wasn’t that great. They went easy on the sauce, so it was a bit dry, but the quinoa was good, and the guava ice-cream was to die for.

The concert, as I said above, was pretty awesome, and the location helped. It was in the gardens of a palace, the weather was nice, and the general mood was cool. I also got to see Márcia, which I also like a lot, and whose voice live is even smoother. I listen to her songs quite often, mostly on the radio and on my tablet while I work. I don’t use headphones regularly, but I think I should, because live I got to perceive so many details and subtleties that I’ve never got before, which made me like her work even more.

The next day I got to make that 2 km walk by the sea at 7:30 a.m. that put me in a good mood for the rest of the week, a bit like Márcia’s song about being unsatisfied always do.

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