Anyhow, I will be able to say more tomorrow about what observing an exercise entails. What I can say is that Lisbon is a beautiful city, and I am learning much.
For instance, I have learned that the various cashier types hate being given a 20 euro bill for charges between 3-10 Euro. I have no idea why, but it meant that one pastry shop would not sell me anything, and that the Military Museum people were less than thrilled with me (more on that in a moment).
The first new experience was the bus from the airport to downtown: heaps more singing than I expected. It might not be normal, but these folks (see pic to the right) really seemed to be enjoying themselves as they prepared to go to some sports event (just a guess). Otherwise, the driving/roads were pretty ordinary--not the dangerous chaos I have expected out of southern Europe (ok, Italy).
The second thing that startled me was a heap of hammer/sickle posters. Turns out that the Portuguese Communist Party was part of a Democratic Unity Coalition (CDU but unlike any CDU I ever heard of--not Christian Democrats) that got 8% of the vote in the recent election, and the Commies (sorry, can't help myself) like the old and classic symbols.
The hills that are Lisbon do increase the workload for tourists who like to walk to see a city. However, given all of the narrow, twisting roads with only some signage, the hills were handy as I could tell which direction I was going in (uphill or downhill) and find my way around, more or less.
|Biggest scale I have seen--|
for making artillery?
Finally, to get back to the hotel, I took the metro which, like pretty much any other subway system, put the DC Metro to shame. Fast, frequently, easy to figure out. I was amused to see that the word used to describe the pink line from downtown to the airport is called Vermelha.
Anyhow, more about CAF/NATO exercises tomorrow.
* Soldiers and sailors are gender neutral terms, but airmen is not. What is a good term fo rhose folks employed by air forces that is not male? And pilots will not do since there are plenty of people in air forces that do not pilot aircraft.