I've always thought that the most exciting part of traveling is getting there. Lisbon confirms my believes. Lisbon is amazing!!! From the time we exited the plane, I could tell we were in for a great lay-over. We got a taxi to the hotel we would be staying at () and we walked around for a little bit to enjoy the sites of our surroundings. Our hotel was right in the middle of the theater district which meant that we were right in the middle of lively Lisbon. My first meal in Lisbon was Steak made the Portuguese way with mixed vegetables and rice. The steak sucked but I guess I shouldn't really expect much of steak from people that specialize in seafood. Oh my... there was seafood everywhere!!! I'm not really that fond of seafood but I guess if cooked the right way I might change my mind. As I look back on today, I realize that this isn't even the final destination point of my travels but I feel like its an experience I will never forget.
Oh Lisbon!!! Today was filled with some of the best sites and most fun I've had in a while. We started the morning with a complementary breakfast from the hotel and after that we walked to buy tickets for the bus tour of Lisbon. Paul Adams went to the Airport to pick-up Mike and Corey while Danielle, Ashley and I went on a tour of Lisbon. I was unaware that Lisbon has such a thriving tourism industry. People from all over the world come to visit Lisbon. It has a well structured tourism industry. People that worked in industries that catered to tourists knew several languages. A girl that I was talking to at the spa knew 4 languages to the point of communicating with any customer that may walk in and know any of her languages. Besides from that, the restaurants had all their menus in about 7or 8 languages. To get back on topic, we got on a tour bus and got to see some historic sites of Lisbon. Lisbon is a very historic city and is full of story after story. Here are some interesting things I learned:
Lisbon had an Earthquake in the 1800's ( I think that was the century)
Portugal loves its Navigators and explorers
Portugal and Spain were one country for a couple of years
We eventually met up with Paul, Mike and Corey at St. Georges Castle. It was nice to have the whole team together and we went through the castle and discussed the workshops that they attended in Kigali, Rwanda. From there, we went to have lunch where I actually enjoyed Cod with a very interesting sause. It was creamy and amazing really good!
I took a lot of pictures of different places we were at so I wont try to explain them all. I'm glad that we all got an opportunity to go on this tour of Lisbon because it did a lot of things for me. Most importantly, it put a lot of things in perspective. The Portuguese are proud of their navigators and a lot of the history that goes behind it. This includes colonization of Brazil and other smaller islands. (Like Sao Tome) During colonization, the Portuguese exported things to these countries that they may not have been use to and things that the countries now accept as there own. Another example of this form of export is in religions. Religions find people that have not heard what they have been saying and try to convert them to believe. I don't want to compare colonization and religion to what we and other groups with OLPC are doing, but it is important to realize the underlying similarities so we don't make the same mistakes that colonial powers or missionaries made.
On a softer note.... I was at the airport and I got a manure for the first time....hhahahaa...the rest of the group thought I disappeared or got lost when I was really getting a manicure.
Oh... Another interesting thing I noticed was that every male in Portugal was dressed really well. Males that wore suits had them tailored to perfection. The shirts were almost never wrinkled and their pants were the perfect length. Everyone was dressed well from the wealthiest of people even to the homeless people.