Saturday, April 27, 2013

Booking in Lisbon

Collecting foreign language translations of the Canon always adds another level of adventure when Joyce and I travel. We usually come home with an additional suitcase full of books. It looks like this trip will follow the established pattern. I have already written about finding books on the first day at the café down the street from us and about visiting Bertrand’s, the oldest bookstore in Lisbon. I soon discovered that the used book market on the street beside Bertrand’s is there every day.

The famous Café  Brasileira, established in 1905, is a place located a half a block away from the used book market and not too far from our apartment. This is where Joyce and I enjoyed breakfast the most and went there several times. One morning I stopped at the used book market and struck up a conversation with one of the sellers. As usual, I explained I collected translations of Sherlock Holmes. The gentleman, António Palma, apologized for not having any Sherlock Holmes books with him that day but assured me he had some at his warehouse, which held more than 200,000 books. As I looked through his stacks of books, I found two different Canonical books! I bought them both. António and I had a good laugh over me finding the books and the we exchanged email addresses.

António Palma and me in front of the Used Book Markets, Lisbon, Portugal
That afternoon I had an email from António referring to me as 'Telepathic Don" for finding the books when he did not think there were any to find. He assured me he would find more and did not need GPS or ESP to find them in his warehouse. He also told me he was a retired commercial airlines pilot. That evening, Joyce and I decided to go to a different section of Lisbon to a  Napolitano Pizza place. While searching for the obscure little place, I discovered yet another used bookstore. Joyce and I both marvel at the abundance of them in Lisbon. I asked the proprietor about Sherlock Holmes and she pointed me to that section. As I was going through the titles, she brought out six more, so I ended up with eight books. She then pointed out where the restaurant was located. As I leave the shop, loaded with two sacks full of Portuguese Sherlock Holmes, I step off of the curb into the path of an on-coming car that I never heard or saw. The driver screeched to a halt and rolled down his window and grabbed me by the arm. Joyce and I both expected to be screamed at instead we heard those familiar words, “Oh my God, it’s Don Hobbs!”

The driver was none other than António Palma! How freaky is that, of the 2,000,000 people in Lisbon, I nearly am run over by someone I know! I had to memorialize the occasion with a limerick.

In Lisbon, bookstores are there makin’
Lotsa Portuguese Sherlock I’m a takin’
On a day of good bookin’
I stepped without lookin’
But thank God for António’s fast braking’

As one of my friend commented on Facebook, it would have been stranger if I had stepped in front of someone I did not know!

Happy Blogging!


  1. I think that you must talk Antonio Palma and take him to Dallas. You need Antonio Palma in Dallas. Hahaha!

  2. Don, I'd be delighted to post you a complimentary copy of my latest sherlock (see below) - let me have an address!

    First review, from Serbia:

    Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein's Daughter by Tim Symonds

    Based on a true event in Albert Einstein's life. In late 1903 Einstein's daughter 'Lieserl' disappears without trace in Serbia aged around 21 months. As Holmes exclaims in the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter, "the most ruthless effort has been made by public officials, priests, monks, Einstein's friends, followers, relatives and relatives-by-marriage to seek out and destroy every document with Lieserl’s name on it. The question is – why?"

    ‘Lieserl’s fate shadows the Einstein legend like some unsolved equation’ Scientist Frederic Golden Time Magazine