2. The barber of Cascais

I got to Lisbon airport at night but Cipri was only arriving
the next day at noon. I knew the routine; I had slept many
times before in airports. I had to find myself a quiet, clean
and if possible remote place, lay down my sleeping mat
and go into dreamland. I woke up the next morning the
same way I fell asleep, with the headphones on and the
book in my hands. Giddy, with all my travel equipment
on me, I went to wash my teeth and just like in the movie
The Terminal with Tom Hanks, I was hearing a voice in
my head saying: ”Don’t you just feel like sometimes you
live in an airport?”
Cipri’s plane was going to arrive soon so I went to the
arrival gate, positioned myself strategically just in front
of it, got out my camera to eaternalize the moment and
waited for him to come out. His plane, an EasyJet coming
from London, had landed for some time but he was
nowhere to be found. I got a little bit alarmed, thought
that he had missed his plane or that something had 
happened. As I know Cipri, everything was possible. Finally
I caught sight of him, I let him look for me too and when
he saw me we started yelling at each other in the airport.
As expected, we were wearing almost the same clothes:
black short pants, sandals, and even the same green
t-shirts had a similar model on them, a leaf.
Not a few people had ever asked us if we were brothers,
in fact the majority of the people ask us that. If we
consider that a lot of the times even if we don’t speak
about it before, when we meet we’re dressed the same, we
look the same, we’re both curly-haired, he’s brighter and
I’m black and if we stay a long time together, just like it
happens between dogs and their masters, they start having
similarities, then yes, we could say that we’re brothers.
I would be tempted to say that we are like Pinky and
the Brain but I would be lying, we’re both Pinkys.
Doesn’t matter what trip you’re undertaking, you
must always carry a book with you and as it happened
that in the month preceding this trip I found this book
in the hands of two dear friends, I considered that some
forces beyond my powers had already chosen for me so
I bought it before I left. It wasn’t the best book to carry
around with you on a hitch-hiking trip because of its 900
pages but as I was to find out, it really is one of those
books you must read, Shantaram. At one point I had read
the first 100 pages and I already wanted it to be longer. In
the book, the hero earns his nickname “Lin” and as I was
empathetic to the character, we decided that in our trip
Cipri was going to be Cip and I was going to be Lin.
That’s how we presented ourselves to the first persons
we made contact with. We were already up on a pinnacle
in the Lusitanian capital from where by looking
down over the old city you would be automatically teleported
in the time when sailboats would leave towards
unknown horizons, discovering new worlds. Being curiosities,
two boys with backpacks as big as themselves,
it made it easier for us to enter into conversations with
people, or the other way around. A Portuguese couple,
our age, approached us. He asked me for a cigarette paper
and without knowing what he wanted to do I gave him
two. We talked about the world, about traveling and
about how much we liked Lisbon. A city that defied time,
as did the whole of Portugal with all its people. Time
doesn’t exist there, neither does haste, any single thing
takes as much time as it needs to come into being. In a
way, maybe the people over there realize that they don’t
really have any actual power over the flow of time. Or
maybe it’s just the climate that makes you lazy. Birds of
a feather flock together, the stories were flowing and so
did a joint made from those papers I gave him earlier. We
were finally on vacation. We told them about how we got
to do this trip and that we were going to return by hitchhiking.
When they heard that we had a flexible program,
they recommended going to the European Rainbow Gathering
that took place up north in Portugal. The Rainbow
culture wasn’t completely strange to us, neither Cipri nor
I had ever taken part in that sort of gathering but we met
a lot of people at festivals that used to go.
Rainbow Gatherings are gatherings of rainbows
to which people from all over the world adhere, united
under the same utopic living principles. Peace, love and
harmony rules over and during the gatherings those people
are the alternative expression to the dominating culture,
consumerism and capitalism. Electric power is not
used, at least not the one extracted from burning fossil
fuels, they cook together and at lunch time everybody
gets into a big circle and eats. From an outside point of
view I’m sure the scene would look like a bunch of hippies,
 shiny happy people holding hands, but I’m sure that
you can truly find special people over there, with interesting
hobbies and open minds. These kind of get-togethers
always appeals to interesting people, the kind from
which you can learn and share information, a crust of
bread or a feeling of belonging. We actually knew people
that were there at the time so we decided to go that direction
after we left Lisbon.
After a while the two left us, not before gifting us
with some quite good smoking material, for good luck
and safe journey. We still weren’t able to get ourselves off
the bench, the city’s murmur and the wind’s whiff kept
motivating us to stay just a while longer. Eventually the
night caught up to us and that also motivated us so we
decided to leave Lisbon with the train and head towards
a beach town.
We had two litters of literally stinky palinca with us
and to celebrate our get-together accordingly, we decided
to buy a jar of honey to sweeten up our drunkenness. The
jar broke when we were jumping a two meter tall fence
in Cascais train station. We couldn’t get out of the station
because the ticket checking machines were guarded
by security guys. That was our first encounter with law
enforcement workers (on the second one we were already
driven in the police car).
The night ensued as was expected but on a small
and sheltered beach in the middle of the town. The funny
part of the first night on the road happened while I was
sleeping, Cipri met with a Portuguese guy in the middle
of the night. Portuguese language was completely foreign
to him but it seems that they had a conversation after
which he went to sleep again. In the morning we noticed
that Cipri’s towel had disappeared and we both drew the
conclusion that the colored Portuguese citizen, after their
little chit chat, waited for him to go to sleep and then
stole the towel. Probably that’s even what he told him :”I
like your towel, I’m going to steal it after you go to sleep”.
Anyway this proved to be a marking experience for Cipri,
as he was never the same after that, he had gone into the
“over securing things” paranoia, which was fine by me,
as I know myself to be a bit woozier.
After this unforeseeable event, the second day
started nicely, I had forgotten my travel mirror at home
so on the watery beaches of Portugal, Cipri had become
“The barber of Cascais”.