Intermission Entry 9, October 24th, 2011, (GMT +0)
Today I visited a Brazilian steakhouse in Lisbon with a few members of the orchestra. I'd never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before, and it was a great experience. We loaded up our plates with rice and beans and sat back down at the table, where I was a bit puzzled. Where is the menu? Where's the meat?
My questions were answered a minute later. A server came over with a side of beef, stuck on a spit and still sputtering with boiling fat. It had been doused in garlic and had been removed from the grill only moments before. As he cut, each person at the table had a small set of tongs to remove pieces of meat from the spit. The parade of meats continued, too – sausage, chicken, beef, pork, on and on. It was a good lunch.
A storm was rolling in as we were leaving Lisbon. It's only been getting worse as the night goes on. I'm rooming in the extreme bow of the ship, out past where the portholes stop, and so we're feeling the waves smashing into the front of the ship. A few have been strong enough to knock things over on the table. Lucky for us the Indy has a thick skin.
From the notebook, October 5th
It's never a good sign when the conductor looks at your ticket and winces. “All the way at the end,” he said, pointing down the platform.
My suspicions were confirmed when I finally found car #84 and stepped aboard. The “Joan Miro” is an Ellipsos hotel-train, meaning that the vast majority of passengers travel in bunk beds. This is what I intended to do – share a room with three other guys and get some sleep. However, there are about twenty seats right next to the engine for the super-cheap, and that's where I'll be for the next thirteen hours.
Usually a European railpass will get you a couchette berth on a sleeper train with only a small reservation fee. However, the Joan Miro is owned by a private company, following slightly different rules, and so I'll be sleeping sitting up.
Also, to the parents who brought the toddler, what on Earth were you thinking? You've signed up for what is basically a thirteen hour plane ride with your kid. I'm only 22 and I know that this is parenting suicide.