Jan 16, 2013

Casting stones

I have had a wonderful holiday here in Évora, Portugal, but I am not at all sad to see it end tomorrow. I wish I were back in Berlin now, because then I could go about my business of selling and giving away my excess and planning the trip home with my dogs.

I want to thank my lawyer/linguist friend for her excellent recommendation of a place to detox and for all the information she kindly shared to help me prepare for my first real holiday in a decade. It was mostly spent as I like my holidays best - minimal sightseeing, little shopping and a lot of watching and experiencing very ordinary, daily life.

I have been shown more kindness this past week than in 13 years. This is absolutely true.

I've been doing a downmarket food thing, trying to find a cheap eatery that is not better than the expensive restaurants near my former residence in the Berlin area. I am working on an article to compare bacalhau in various local dives.

Last night I enjoyed the kind hospitality of a small café owner near my hotel. I told him about the wonderful day I had today listening to Angel Merkel jokes at the internal revenue office.

When I went to pay for the meal, I was shocked by how little was on the bill - € 4.80. Then I realized half of it had been a gift. Before I could object, I was offered a cigar, told it was a very good one. I am allergic to tobacco and am a militant non-smoker. But the gifts offered by such people cannot be refused with any honor.

I asked for a light, inhaled the taste of freedom, then walked out into the new world.

Reading the future in olive stones cast.


  1. Wonderful story - I too have smoked with others whose spirit has moved me.

    There is a reason I think the Native Americans did this together with strangers they respected in a communion of sorts, almost a social embrace.

  2. Ihre vorübergehende Bemerkung hat mich auf die Witze über die deutsche Bundeskanzerin Angela Merke aufmerksam gemacht.

    Ich habe aus dem Internet einige dieser Witze gelesen. Aber hier muß ich sagen, daß einige der obigen Witze ja alt, nee uralt sind. Man hat sie nämlich auch über andere Poitiker gemacht.

    Aber Scherz beiseite kann ich eines nicht verstehen. Warum ist die Frau Kanzerin das Target dieser Anmerkungen geworden?

    Möchten Sie mich aufklären?

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
    Dondu N. Raghavan

    1. Really, Dondu, the best way to understand those jokes is to live in Germany for 13 years, then spend three days in Portugal :-) With your eyes wide open.

  3. Kevin, you definitely deserved some Southern joie de vivre. Make the best out of it, and enjoy. May every moment be a joyful one.

  4. That reminds of the time I spend in Lisbon many, many years ago. It was so friendly, relaxed and incredibly cheap - this was before the days of the euro, even! Sounds like you had a great time, hope you have more good times to come.

  5. I fell in love with people in Portugal. Just a couple of days were enough to rank them as the nicest people on Earth. No wonder Brazilians are so kind with foreigners! Did you drink green wine, Kevin?

  6. Aurora, I tried to get that wine and succeeded only once so far. Not bad, the only part I did not like was not sharing such a good bottle. But the ordinary Tinto is quite nice too....

  7. A really wonderful story and it is nice to hear that there are still some very friendly people out there. However, I think it would have been okay if you had rejected the cigar offer because I don't think he wouldn't have been offended especially if you had told him that you are allergic to tobacco. Nevertheless,I hope you enjoyed your "taste of freedom". If you have something from your holiday that needs to be translated please commission a professional translation agency.


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