This morning we drove to a different part of Lisbon to meet with a small local church. Three of our group went, taken by a Brazilian gentleman who’s been here months rather than years and who is a leader there. It was a lovely day, blue skies and wind; the beaches were full.
Soon we turned inland and parked in a street lined with multi-storey apartment blocks like many areas we passed through. Then into a small shop, used by the church for their Sunday services.
Apart from it all being in Portuguese, with only a few words of the songs guessable, it all felt very familiar. The people sang heartily and a preacher then got up and did a great job of engaging his audience with his study. Question, quips, participation of various kinds – all made it feel like a well-taught, committed group. There were 3 or 4 babes in arms, the younger children were in what would normally be the kitchen doing their stuff, differing age teenagers stayed for the teaching and the adults were younger rather than older, though all seemed to be parents.
One test of the health of a church is the quality and duration of conversations before and after services; this was a healthy church by that criterion. We visited a seminary on the way back, finally sitting down to lunch at around 2.25 PM.
Later in the afternoon, I walked along the coast away from the extensive surfing beach we see from the hotel. It was very different – rocky, black, grey and sharp edged. Definitely not relaxing, so I made my way back to the pavement along the very busy coast road.
There is a set of traffic lights on this road that seem to randomly stop the traffic. There is no pedestrian crossing and the lights are for one way only. I was intrigued enough to photograph this. Just a few yards further on was the warning sign for drivers of speed reduction lights. Local drivers are enthusiastic with the right-hand pedal, so someone somewhere thinks it’s fun to stop all the traffic for 10 seconds or so.
On the way back I spotted a tree whose shape seems familiar. It grows on its own on the sparse soil above the dark, sharp rocks. My memory is that I saw trees like this in Kenya, a long time ago, but there many more of them and with Kenya’s beautiful greenery surrounding them.
For a Sunday, this was nothing like being at home – except the nap after lunch.
27 February, 2011