Just across the river, on the south bank, one can find an idyllic place with some of the most amazing views of the city. Still not as crowded as the core historical centre of Lisbon, Cacilhas is just the right place to unwind and take some time off from the daily grooves.
It was my second time here and the excitement I got upon stepping my foot off the cacilheiro was undeniably high. The derelict warehouses, the disrupted promenade, the grimy piers, the old-school neon, the bright yellow chairs overlooking the hills of Lisbon… Everything here looks and sounds harmonious.
Buy some drinks and snacks, at Pingo Doce in Cais do Sodré, when the sun is still high above the iconic bridge that spans across the river. Then head to the boat terminal and board the one heading to Cacilhas. Take a left once you disembark and walk along the promenade until you reach a green area. Lay down the blanket and get ready for a mesmerising sunset.
Before writing anything else, I have to thank T. for introducing and taking me to this play yesterday evening. If it wasn’t for him, this would have slipped under my radar.
Introductions aside, let’s get down to it!
Avenue Q (locally translated to, you guesses it, Avenida Q) is a musical first presented on Broadway in 2003 and given its popularity, it has ever since been produced in various countries worldwide. Portugal was no exception, having Avenida Q first performed earlier this year. The Lusitanian season has been renewed due to the public continuous interest in it.
So, what is Avenue Q?
Imagine Sesame Street and “The Real World” having a baby. It would be Avenue Q. The show mixes human characters and puppet characters interacting with one another. The actors who give life to the puppets are not concealed, instead they have an on-stage presence alongside the other characters.
The story evolves around Luís, a recently who moves to Avenue Q because he can’t afford to live anywhere else. In that place he ends up finding others who struggle with life in one way or another. We can easily very easily relate with the characters or with bits and pieces from each one of them. The difficulty of growing up is smartly conveyed throughout the show. And also the importance of celebrating our failures. We are humans, after all.
The Ursinhos das Ideas de Merda (loosely translated to Little bears of shitty ideas) were my little guilty pleasure. Who wouldn’t love to have two cute, strident teddy bears by your side ready to instigate you into bringing out your worst. No rules, no boundaries, no limits. And then there is Paula Porca. A sex-bomb that cannot be overlooked.
I can honestly say that despite not being a fan of the whole “musical” concept (I mean, on what purpose do performers start singing so perfectly synchronised with great choreography?), Avenue Q was created with the finest ingredients: snarky sarcasm, humour and enough irony mixed with catchy songs. Enough to head home with a smile on my face.
Another foray into the underground world of not-so-legal restaurants in Martim Moniz. I ventured into a new place, right at the main square. Look for number 12 and don’t fear having to walk upstairs from the entrance door, you’ll find it easily. I came to try out a €5 Chinese noodles soup, with a pork chunk drowned on a beautifully flavoured broth.
Once we entered, the place was not so crowded and we were the only westerners in there. That’s always a good sign! 😉
The biggest challenge was deciding how to approach the soup: chopsticks, spoon or fork. We had all these at hand and within an hour of hard labouring I finished most of the bowl. Despite not having a sweet tooth, I shared a plate of fried banana to finish our travel through the East.
Even though it isn’t the best snapshot, this photo is all about this BIG BIG family known as GASTagus.