Computer Says ‘No’, OK?

110One evening I decided to walk the back streets of Evora, armed with my camera to take some night shots. I didn’t know which path to take so I took any path that looked vaguely interesting. Settling on a fountain I set my camera up and took some shots, noticing a bloke looking my way. He approached me and said “computer”, and I said “computer?” and he said “computer”, pointing in a random way. He then turned to his friend, hand on his shoulder and mumbled something in ´Portuguese’ for 20 seconds. As he did so his friend glanced slyly at me and nodded to the bloke. “Computer” he said to me again and got out some keys and pointed down the road.

212At this point I realised I was getting myself into a situation. My mind raced. The guy didn’t look threatening, though he did look suspicious, and god only knows what he said to his counterpart. He insisted I follow him. As we hurried down a dark street I asked him where he lived. He replied “Eglesis”, pointing directly ahead. I had never heard of it. We got to the end of the street and reached an old, run-down building with wooden doors and he produced his keys, unlocked the door and stepped inside. At least he hadn’t directed me down one of those dark alleys.

39When he turned on the lights I was presented with a shabby hall with loads of plastic chairs lined up in 6 rows all facing a makeshift stage. We were obviously in some kind of local community centre, weren’t we? He then darted into a side office and pointed to a computer. “Computer”, he said. He booted up his PC and held out a cable, too big to plug into my camera. As I fingered the cable so he ducked down behind me and started rummaging through a cupboard full of discs, cds, paper and pamphlets. In the background I could hear people entering the building, muttering excitedly to each other.

47After about 2 minutes he stood up and handed me a leaflet entitled “Throughout the rich history of Portugal, who is the most important discoverer?” As he resumed his crouching position to continue his rummaging I flicked through the leaflet, intrigued to find out who the most important discoverer was. Surely it was Prince Henry the Navigator? No. Was it Pedro Alvares Cabral? Nope. How about Vasco da Gama? No! The most important discoverer, the leaflet concluded, is “the person that declares that Jesus Christ is the way to salvation”! Yes, I was slap bang in the middle of a sodding church and this guy was trying to sell me Christianity! Eglesis! He’d said “igreja”, the ‘Portuguese’ for “church”! I should have guessed! After taking all those wrong paths around Evora it seems the correct path I should have taken was to the Lord Jesus Christ!

57“Er, I really must be going now”, I tried, but he insisted that I stay whilst he continued to rummage. I didn’t want to offend the misguided chap so I told him his leaflet on discoverers would make good reading and would suffice. So instead he insisted he give me his email, which he carefully wrote down so I wouldn’t misread it, and then, as an after thought, said “my phone number”, which he added!

66As we walked back through the church, which he had opened five minutes previously, it was filling up with old ladies and weirdoes, seated with heads bent in prayer. One guy was even on his knees facing backwards with his head resting on the seat of a plastic chair, mumbling to himself. He looked possessed and in need of an exorcism.

Making a quick exit I turned to thank Danny, my new friend, and as I walked off he shouted “Jesus is Life”! Leave me alone, you damn freak! Still, 10 out of 10 for effort.

75What was it about me that made me look like my soul needed the Light and the Way of our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour? I mean did Danny take one look at my haircut and say to his friend “now there’s a man who needs help”?

I finished the day off with a trip to the cinema to watch American Pie 3, so that was two good laughs I had this evening.


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