The Accountant

Alfalfa is aflame, you say? Well, my girlfriend hates Portuguese. Well, perhaps I'm similarly inclined. Maybe unbeknownst, that's what drew me to it.

'Twas the River Douro whence this story borne. What? Why not on the river upon which Lisboã resides? Ah, but Lisboã is for Running for Fado. Not for your romance. Then, again, why the River Douro? But why not?

Oh, come on!! What is this nonsense? Then fine, let it be the at the mouth of Tagus. Oh, yes, the Tagus.

And what, good sir, is this story about? Why, it's about Fernando Pessoa, 'The Accountant', as...'The Sandeman'. Why? But for saudade, of course.

Ah, why, it's ultimately about saudade, as all your tales must become, whatever their guise. Call it mono no aware, call it duende.

Where La Taverne du Cap Vert et Brasil lays it's hat, that be where this story lies. At the mouth of the Tagus, where explorers set forth, looking for spice, as we all do upon our respective journeys. Whether those journeys be within the Age of Discovery, setting forth under the name and charter of the colonial Crown, on the hunt for canela; or simply a transoceanic flight to lands less ordinary, wheeled luggage, liquids under 25ml packed in check-in and itinerary, travel insurance coverage product disclosure statement in plastic sleeves, along with pre-planned GPS-co-ordinated navigation to one's inn.

Ah, but the Lusophone loves thee. Whether it be Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique or Portugal itself. There's a languid...well, it's saudade, isn't it? Underwhelmed, but...well, the saudade's the most succinct, apt way to phrase it.

So Alfama, beauty though she is to foreign, adventuring eyes, 'tis an eyesore to the heavy hearts that call it home. Why? From whence forth does such gloom and nostalgia originate amongst colour, fading fortunes synonymous with modern-bay beauty, the derelict bespoke spun in to one man or woman's glamorous vacation adventure, suitable for carefully calibrated lenses to capture the beauty of another man or woman's domestic gaol - parole available for cobblestoned gossip.

A ghost town, boarded up and evacuated languidly. Wartime? No, far from it. An economic war perhaps, but no...too dramatic; nearly Spanish in such a histrionic flourish - forgive me. But it is true, things are not so good here right now. One might be forgiven for thinking that the Republic has chastised itself to leaning upon the foundations of cork and vino rosa to propel its economy - surely a folly, yet even further fallacious economic optimism to imagine the old ways (of what has not provided 'prosperity' in much, much time) could offer even a glimmer of hope equivalent of the candlelight of a tourist-touting fado bar in Bairro Alto. Ahhhh, but we Portuguese are used to such things by now. No less, familiarity can be both a source of comfort, and a crutch upon which excuses to stay in one's redundant ways is reinforced.

Ahhhh, with a mentality of this kind, it's easy to picture what called the seamen of more ancient days. Discovery. Voyage. Greener pastures from the terracotta roofs of one's neighbourhood.

Somewhere to miss.