Written words are where this sci-fi guy has his sights

Morning stroll he writes
Data is Terry’s main bytes
Sci-Fi real delights


That haiku was written by Stephen Given of Shteveland and Beav fame. The following was penned by a Velvet Prawn which is no mean feat considering the size of a pen and the appendages on a prawn:


To a database administrator extraordinaire, upon realizing he suffers metamorphomegalokamilaouratainiasynecheiaphobia*

Drom’dary Terry
huge, desert savvy, hairy,
sequel queue wary.

*the irrational fear of transmogrifying into a giant camel while lined up for a movie sequel


Now those are so awesome I almost didn’t write one for myself. But “almost didn’t“, unfortunately, isn’t quite the same as “didn’t“:


With casque and inner spear claws he sculpts his wife’s eggs to Fabergé heights legendary

As lapidary
did Terry Cassowary
stay luminary.

Portugal Trip Day 12 (Thursday, Sept. 27)

Aimless in Porto (Meanderists)

Two tired tourists
tarried past Tintin purists
just judging jurists.

The Viola do Fado call

It’s not classical.
Steeled rhythms invite us all
so emotional.

Our host advised us that the cheapest parking in Porto was at the lot at Praça Trindade so that’s where we went. That means, after all, Trinity Square or Plaza in English! The drive was beautiful, especially the tall bridge over the Douro river. We walked from the parking garage past a church to the Tourism office nearby.
P&N decided on a guided tour whereas Karen and I went on our own meandering way. First stop was to return to see the Igreja da Santíssima Trindade. Then to Via Garrett restaurant for a quiet breath and some cheese, fruit cups, coffee and the strong Lemonade they serve there, which has very little to no sugar.
I wanted to see the famous Livraria Lello on Rua das Carmelitas but that had a big lineup and only for those already with tickets. If you followed the signs up the street and walked through a tourist trap there to buy a 5€ ticket in an even longer line you’d be permitted to enter the bookstore. However, I chose not to be gulped in by that particular tourist machine. And I’m glad of that as I learned, later, that the iconic stairway inside was not the wood it was painted to look like. In fact it was reinforced concrete. That apparently makes it a kind of architectural wonder for those interested in free standing concrete but it was in no way the magical thing I expected.
So we kept on wandering up the Rua das Carmelitas and so learned the real reason it’s named that way. Two Churches! And the side facing you at the end of the Rua has an immense mural of azulejo tiles showing a triumphant scene after a battle. A wonderful work of art that so many passersby ignored.
There’s the Igreja dos Carmelitas Descalços and then the Igreja do Carmo almost, but not quite, beside it. Two Churches for the price of one? Oh no, for between the two churches (though from a distance the whole thing looks like just one building) there’s yet a third structure which is billed as the thinnest building in Porto.
That was a residence for clergy and caretakers and the location for clandestine meetings at various times in its history. This had been contrived into another tourist scam with admission required. We took that lure. It sounded cool as it was supposed to allow a visit to the catacombs but that’s really just a brief stairway down to the locked door of the vault but not further, but the church was more interesting than the free one on the left (at least we were told the right one wasn’t free).
We continued onward and found the Jardin Carregal on Rua de Clemente Meneres which was a delightful little park with large trees including one impressively large plane tree and a pond with a delightful plant strewn bridge.
Okay so our wandering wasn’t completely aimless. A free musical exposition called Musonautas at the Galeria Municipal do Porto was one thing that had caught our eye at the tourism office (beside the plaid on plaid and flower on flower couple). It was situated with roaming peacocks in the Jardins do Palacio de Cristal. There we found an interesting collection of items and recorded music that encapsulated the Porto music scene from classics to late rock and including a very large mural on one wall.
On our return trip to meet P&N we passed by the Livraria Poetria, a bookstore I would have loved to have spent some time in as it was dedicated to poetry and theatre arts. Cool. As well there was a used bookstore that specialized in Tintin, Asterix and Lucky Luke books, figures and memorabilia. Also cool.
We met up with Peter and Nadine at the Tourism office again and after some discussion about eating Karen led us to Café Luso opposite the Praça de Carlos Alberto where we were introduced to a bizarre specialty of Porto we’d heard about in Canada. The Francescinha sandwich! Their version (a Luso em pao bijou) was absolutely delicious! It was a guilty pleasure very like our poutine! Yummy.
As we walked down to the train station we found a guitar store (Casa da Guitarra) fronting on Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes which Karen very much enjoyed. She was trying a guitar out when this guy from Azerbaijan began jamming with her. Peter tried out a guitar too. I spoke to the store manager whose brother was the guitar guy. Still he knew far more than I did about Portuguese guitars. He explained that the fado instruments were called the Portuguese Guitarra which is that 12 string mandolin style instrument we’d seen at the fado place. The other classical looking one is called a viola do fado. It’s actually quite distinct as it has classical string machine heads with steel strings, a wider fingerboard and different bracing inside.
I noticed there were some APC instruments (the same luthier that made Karen’s new guitalele: António Pinto Carvalho). The manager told me that nearly all the guitars in that shop were either made by APC or his brother whose brand is ‘Artimúsica’. They’re both from Braga, north of Porto. Again, that’s a place I would have liked to have taken Karen to but that will require another trip to Portugal!
Just across from the guitar store, also facing the Praça was an honest to goodness Steak and Shake! That was unexpected this far from the southern US.
We walked down to the beautiful Estação Ferroviária de São Bento train station with it’s incredibly large azulejo tile paintings to buy tickets to Pinhão for the next day.

Olly olly oxen free

Weather reasonable
I began to walk
unconcerned
to my night meeting.

It would be an hour’s walk
but what of that?
It would be good
for me.

It began to spit.

I was prepared for that
and strode on at a quicker pace.

Then rain began
and I lifted my collar
against the water and lightning.

Then came buckets.
My shoes
low suede but grey
began to soak through.
Then through again.

Cat and Dogs were followed
by sheep, cows and several oxen
coming down
as I climbed a large hill.
Streams flowed down the
side walk slabs
with grit, sand and other matter
and my shoes formed V’s
in the surface water
with each soggy step.

With the oxen let loose the stream
abandoned all civility
and went right over my toes
making no difference where
I stepped.

The rain settled down and I arrived
only slightly late
but enough that as I squelched
down the echoing school corridors
among fully uniformed
police officers
I was,
I’m sure,
noticed.

I sat at the back
the rest of the
cold cold
night
I couldn’t do anything
but remain feeling it.