The alarm went off at 7.30 AM and I managed to drag myself out of bed 15 minutes later. We had to be down at The Archive from 9 AM because believe it or not the water was going to be on today. It was strange being up so early, it’s as if there’s a different population. People saying “bom dia” instead of “boa tarde”, a different light, and still a chill in the air until the sun has had a chance to warm the place up. Easter contributing to a different vibe in the city, fewer locals, lots of Spanish on holiday and there we were in The Archive at 10 minutes to 9.
You never know how long you are going to wait for the water people but it’s not like there’s nothing to do. As it happens they arrived from the sea shortly after 10. They came with a long rusty pole that they must have torn off an old wreck in the bay and opened a hole in the pavement, sinking the pole deep into the ground until it connected with an invisible iron valve. One waterman was inside fixing a meter between the pipes and the waterman outside began turning the pole. They were there for seven minutes and the water was on, but with no taps and the fear of some open pipes we had to wait for the plumbers coming later in the day – they didn’t show up.
Whilst waiting, a huge fight in the street, a rather large man and a rather small man, multiple women on both sides holding them back from each other, screaming, the big man picked up one of those tall ashtrays that you see outside restaurants. It all calmed down and then 20 minutes later the police arrived, lots of them, the small man bleeding, he came back to lose, welcome to Action Strasse.
After all the hoo-hah of the day, we left The Archive with few records to meet Carolina and Pedro who had helped us move. They have a little car but it was a short distance from the old flat and we made a few trips. We promised that we would take them out to a ramen place for dinner, Olivia’s favourite. Unfortunately, when we moved, Pedro banged himself in the eye with a carpet and scratched his cornea. It’s taken some time to heal but he said that if he rubs his eyes it can still hurt. The eyes are amazing as was the ramen.
We walked back up to the hotel through the Porto streets in the direction of our hotel and their apartment, they live seconds away from where we are staying. On the way up I was telling them about Ricardo, a guy we met at the hotel who speaks seven languages. German, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Luxemburgish (a mixture of things), and Rumanian. He was standing outside the hotel when we arrived, we all five stood there for a while chatting, looking up at the church clock that was weirdly changing from being stuck at 5 past 3 and was now somehow jumping towards the right time. I figured it was something to do with Jesus.
Music today has been The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – The Impossible Dream (1974). It’s not the amazing ‘Next’ (1973) but it is the tour I saw in Liverpool at the Empire (I think it was the Empire, I saw them twice and I think it was there both times). The stage show, the Glaswegian street poet, the graffiti on the wall in the stage show, pre-punk and pre-Floyd angst, Alex Harvey’s stage persona, his presence, his voice, Zal, the make-up, the guitar playing, Chris Glenn, the unrelated McKennas, brilliant.
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