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Odd Travel Moments - A Young Girl With A Bird On Her Boob In


This photo was taken in 2015 and for some reason I am just now writing about it all these years later . And I don't know how I missed posting this. Mark and I were with our friend Gillian on holiday in Lisbon. Our last day there we were having lunch in an outdoor restaurant and noticed this girl with a bird hanging on her shoulder. At first we thought it was a dead bird which we found a bit odd. But then it moved. She was wearing a live bird on her blouse. It was just sitting there and not bothering to fly away. I love odd travel moments like this.

Mark and I have known our friend Gillian for almost 14 years now. We are more family than we are just friends. Gillian visits us often. And we travel together frequently. She makes frequent guest appearances in blogs because when we are all together trouble usually ensues. I am not sure why. Perhaps it's because we tend to drink a bit when we are all together. Gillian will deny this of course. But trust me. It's a fact. From time to time she and I remember this girl. We always say she is part of a novel that should be written. Or we say that one of us really needs to write a blog about it. But it has not happened until tonight. Gillian, her time in the spot light has arrived. I hope I do her proud.

Times are tough. To complain about it makes you look juvenile. Everyone, world wide, knows times are bad. There is nothing you can say about it that everyone doesn't already realize for themselves. We are sharing this pandemic world wide. When 400,000 people have died in your country it seems selfish and callous to say how much you miss travel. Or it seems insensitive to say I wish I could go out to my pub. And then it really seems childish to complain that you have nothing to write about in your travel blog. There are far more serious things to be concerned about. I talked to two good friends today and both told me they have tested positive for COVID. That's very serious. I prayed for them both tonight. I can't sleep. Stress has robbed me of sleep for weeks now. So while I sit here fighting insomnia the unfinished blog about the girl with bird on her boob came to mind this evening.

Mark and I love Lisbon. It was never a place on our bucket list to visit. But once we arrived there it captured our imagination. We have now been to Portugal twice and would love to again. We have some travel friends who live in Lisbon that we enjoy visiting.

Mark, Gillian and I with our friends Miguel and Gloria


And the wines in Portugal are some of the best in the world. The food is very good also,


And then there is the mesmerizing Fado music that we learned to love. Having some wine and listening to Fado music is one of our favorite experiences when we visit Portugal. This is the Fado bar we visied in a back alley in Lisbon. There is a young girl dressed in black singing the melancholy fado music.


And yet the girl with the bird on her boob seems to be my one haunting memory. When I think of my time in Lisbon I almost always go back to that last day and seeing her. It was odd. This was to be our last day in Lisbon. We were to leave for the airport in the morning to bid goodbye to Gillian and start our flight home. But we wanted a good meal and a few laughs on our last day. We really wanted something that we would be able to remember and talk about for years to come. And there she was. Leaning against a wall behind our table. An attractive young girl with a bird sitting on her breast. It caught my attention and then Gillian saw it also. We tapped Mark and motioned for him to turn around and look behind himself and then he too saw what we saw. There was no point trying to explain it to him. It was easier just to tell him to look. So we all looked.

Our first thought was why does this girl have a dead bird attached to her blouse. So we started making up reasons why the bird was attached to her. None of them made any sense at all but it didn't matter. We were just confused. And then the birds head moved. It was alive! Then we wondered why and how she had attached it to her blouse. Was she cruel and stapled it to her shirt? No, the birds foot moved and it repositioned itself a little. It was just sitting there hanging on to her blouse. And it never left her or flew away. Finally she pet its head, took it off of her blouse and put it in a small box. Then she went inside the restaurant and to our surprise was working there as a waitress and was going on her shift. She handed the box to a waiter who was going off shift and he kept it for her. It almost felt like Woody Allen should be narrating this in one of movies set in Europe. I could almost hear his voice introducing the girl as the main character in his movie and her love interest who shared the bird with her. And then suddenly everything changed. Again Gillian and I noticed something else odd and we were transported from the world of Woody Allen characters to a John Waters movie. Just across the street from where we were sitting we saw a man, a true John Waters character. He was standing by a wall relieving himself right in eyesite of our table. Well if it was a Woody Allen character we would say relieving. But this had turned into a John Waters movie so this man was pissing against the wall. Directly in front of us. Did I take a photo? Of course I did.


I knew I would be telling this story one day. And I knew I needed an ending. And this man provided the ending for me. So now in January 2021 when I am stuck home quarantining from the pandemic and fighting with stress and insomnia I finally am writing this blog from the summer of 2015. You never know how a story will end. I assumed the girl with the bird would be the entire story. And then man started urinating. So there's the end of the story.

When this mess we are in is over we will travel again. And we will see more strange things happening around us. And yes, I will document them with photos and tell you all about them in due time.

Posted by littlesam1 07:10 Archived in Portugal Tagged birds lisbon portugal fado_music john_waters woody_allen

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I love your adventures in traveling. They are treasures that could only happen to you. Well, maybe they happen to others, but only you can fully appreciate the moment.

by Barbara Snyder

Sorry to hear about your stress levels Larry. Don't feel bad because your COVID worries seem trivial compared to those of others. There's an underlying sense of threat that's common to us all which amplifies whatever is bothering us, I feel. The mental health cost of this is as significant as the physical one and none of us is immune to that.

On a brighter note I enjoyed your story, and it reminded me of when we were in a London pub a couple of years ago and a girl was there chatting to a friend with a cockatoo perched on her shoulder. Not something you see every day!

by ToonSarah

We were with our daughters in Paris once in the park behind Notre Dame and saw a young woman walking along carrying her pet conure. The little bird flew off her finger and perched in one of the park trees. She watched it for a while (along with the four of us) and gave a little whistle and the bird flew back to her finger and they walked on toward Ile St. Louis. I have a photo of the cute little conure.

These funny moments are one of the things I miss about traveling. However, I must say that the lockdown hasn't been a problem at all for us. We've actually kind of enjoyed the laziness of all of it. We putter around the house, paint, take the occasional local drive for a change of scenery and we've read tons of books. It's one of those things we have just accepted and moved on with our lives as they must be at the moment. Being retired has its perks!

by Beausoleil

Another funny one was when I was in Lviv with other VTers for the post Krakow meet. We were gathered on the terrace of a cafe near the main square when a woman came past walking her pet pig! Of course we all had to take photos and I think someone draped the pig with a VT flag briefly

Sally, I'm retired too but like Larry I'm struggling with lockdown. It's the sameness of every day that gets me down - nothing different to look forward to apart from walks in the same local parks (we aren't currently allowed to drive anywhere). We can't go out for a coffee or a drink, we can't go into London for the cinema or an exhibition, we can't meet friends or my sister, I can't go to the pool for my aquarobics class ... But I know we are so much luckier than many people so I try to count my blessings and enjoy the little things each day :) And I'm now tentatively planning some trips, while acknowledging that the plans may come to nothing - Paris in September and maybe even longhaul (Sri Lanka) next February. Even if the plans come to nothing, I'm enjoying the process!

by ToonSarah

I enjoyed reading all of the comments. It's good to hear from others and see how they are coping.

by littlesam1

When I saw the title, I just had to read it ... interesting indeed and when you start traveling again, I am curious what else is going to pop up! :) :) :)

by Ils1976

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