Friday, July 16, 2010

Back And Ranting

Ah, just a short rant.  I got back home last night after a long day of travel (over 13 hours) and a nerve-wracking cab-ride so am kind of just recuperating today.  I will post more tomorrow, with pictures, even.

My short rant, PBS bleeping out what they consider to be offensive words of a poet.  Just watched their special on Patti Smith and I think their bleeps are more offesnisive than anything she might have been saying.  If you have to bleep out the words, don't broadcast the show.  Poetry with a bleep in the middle just doesn't cut it.

Oh, and just to make my day complete, I read in the paper that Isiah Thomas might be coming back to the Knicks in some kind of a managerial role.  Apparently he was even involved in the discussions to try to lure LeBron to New York, meeting with some of LeBron's representatives, although not with LeBron himself.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

At Last, Connected In Lisbon

At last. Sorry for the delay in posting but internet connections are not that easy to come by here in Lisbon. Although my hotel advertises in-room internet access, they don’t really have it. There is a PC in the lobby that is supposed to be connected to the internet, but apparently it is “broken,” and has been all week. I kind of doubt that they have it at all because you would think that they would be able to get it fixed in the week that I have been here. But, perhaps not.

Also, unlike in the United States, WiFi appears to be very limited as well. And you don’t see many internet cafes either. They seem to be limited to just this one street in this one section of town. Unlike in Puerto Vallarta where they seem to be on every street corner.

My television is limited to just one English station, and that is BBC World. That is fine because I haven’t been watching much television other than the soccer matches, and those I have been watching in a Spanish bar down the street. As you can imagine there was a lot of celebrating when Spain won.

Watching the BBC World and reading the English language Portuguese and the British papers is quite enlightening. Their perspective on world events is, as you might imagine, quite different that those we get in the United States.

As one example, although they certainly don’t hold BP blameless in the oil spill, they do think President Obama has gone overboard in bashing the company. Particularly now that it seems as though there might be some White House shenanigans to facilitate the takeover of BP's North American assets by United States companies, Apache and Exxon being two of them. They are also quick to point out that United States drilling operations have spilled much more oil over the years abroad, particularly in Nigeria, without anything being reported.

And, as you can imagine, the perspective on how the war in Afghanistan is going is much more negative over here. They are of the opinion that President Obama’s announcement of troop pullouts next year has pretty much made a Taliban victory inevitable and has forced the Afghan president to cover his bets by seeking to cut deals with them.

And, of course, the economic melt-down, due in part to our failure to regulate and monitor our banking system, isn’t helping matters. It appears that President Obama has lost a lot of his luster over here in Europe.

On the other hand, I am getting along with everyone and have found the people here in Lisbon to be most friendly. Not as many people speak English here as in many other major European cities, but enough people do so that there really isn’t any major language barrier.

But, enough of this, let’s get back to the basics, at least for now. And for me that means bars.

We flew AirEuropa from JFK to Madrid and then after a short layover we took a short flight on into Lisbon. We departed from Terminal 4 at JFK and they have a very nice Irish bar there.

Getting Tight At Tigin

I went a bit against the grain, though, by ordering a Bass Ale and then a Newcastle Brown Ale. Hey, I just wasn’t in the mood for a Guinness.

Bar Man And His Bass, Or Nukie

I ended up sitting between two guys who were heading to Ireland and we chatted a bit. One of them, Carl, is a bartender at, well, I forgot the name but I am pretty sure he said it was at 94th and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. After talking with him a bit, and after I gave him my card, he remembered having seen my blog and seemed to remember me stopping into his bar during my slog through my thousand bars. He said to be sure to stop by after I returned home, and I will make a point of doing so.

Carl, if you see this blog, please either email me or post a comment giving me the name of your bar.

It didn’t take me too long to stumble upon an Irish bar here in Lisbon, either. Although the Mysterious Chinese Woman was surprised I didn’t find it the day we arrived.

An Irish Bar In Lisbon

I had to explain that it was a bit off the beaten track and it took me awhile to figure out the subway system, of which I will be writing more about later.

Although most of Lisbon is smoke-free, just like most of the good old U.S.A., this place seemed proud of the fact that they were somehow exempt.

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

The bar had the typical Irish pub feel to it and this time I did go for the Guinness.

A Cheery Place

It was poured the proper two step way with a nice little rest between the steps.

Time For A Rest

And nicely presented to me by the Donange, the most friendly bartender.

Service With A Smile

And, finally, I had my first Guinness here in Lisbon.

Guinness Is Good

Buybacks don’t seem to be that common here, even at the Spanish bar that I have been to three times and where I have tipped rather generously. I did get a small buyback here, though.

A Small Buyback

And, of course, I had to take one of my artistic pictures. See if you can find me among the bottles.

Not Just Another Bottle Top

Actually, if you look closely, you can spot another artistic picture as well. Remember, I consider a picture to be artistic if I am in a reflection.

Well, that is enough for today. I probably won’t post again until Thursday when I have a five-hour layover in Madrid. I spotted several WiFi areas in the airport. Hopefully the partying will have died down. It looked like they were really painting the town red the night of their World Cup victory.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman and her Mysterious Sister are out shopping but I am going to use my time here to surf the internet a bit. Luckily I had already left town when LeBron announced he was going to Miami so I missed all of the gnashing of teeth and soul rendering agony back in New York. I am sure most people there just can’t understand why he didn’t come to the Center Of The Universe. Never mind that the Knicks organization has been a shambles for more years than I care to think about and just getting Amar’e isn’t going to change that. I am still waiting to hear that they have gotten rid of Lee, the one good player that they have had over the past few years.