Thursday, 30 January 2014

It's the Sun, Simple As That

I guess we could call the sun "central heating". Otherwise, we have none. If the sun takes a moment behind a cloud, we're pulling the down vests out of our backpacks and tucking in our shirts. In the lightest of rains, we're deploying our Tilley umbrellas, for no other reason than that wet means cold and stays wet.
The Phoenicians must have had the same problem, and the Romans and the Moors, even the Spaniards, who ruled for about 60 years. But it was the Portuguese themselves--the guy down the block claims every Portuguese is all of the above--who took the earthquake in '55 (All Saints' Day, 1755). The rebuilding, supervised by one Marques de Pombal, laid down a grid system, thought to be the latest thing (even well into the 20th century, until '55 or so (1955) when a suburb like Hillsdale was built). From the ancient river landing straight north to the huge plaza of Rossio, territory walked over and over by the poet Pessoa--all reclaimed from the devastation of the earthquake and the river itself.
None of that much mattered today when I sat before a couple of excellent dark beer in the cervezaria down the block, which happens to get the sun, if there is any, in the late afternoon hours. In my notebook I was trying to reconcile the contemporary life of the street with the former Roman cemetery under what it now Placa do Rossio. I couldn't come up with much, but I'm pretty sure I saw a Phoenician on Tram 28, and two Romans smoking in the doorway of the cafĂ©.

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