The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge
December 5 Best Night Out:
 Did you have a night out with friends or a loved one that rocked your world? Who was there? What was the highlight of the night? 

My most dramatic night out in 2009 was arguably venturing into Lisbon to watch two of the Big Three in Portuguese sports, Sporting Clube de Portugal and their crosstown rivals, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, play at the Estádio José Alvalade with 40,000+ rabid futbol fans. A surreal experience charged with an ever present threat of violence welling near the surface, rhythmically scored by non-stop chanting, stomping and the choreographed swearing of thousands focused upon several men kicking a ball around. You know you’re not in Kansas anymore when heavily armed riot police are required to escort the visiting crowd an hour after the game has concluded as a precautionary measure.

It was the same evening that my newfound friends, Ami, Nick and I wandered the alleyways of Lisbon to share an intimate supper of traditional Portuguese food surrounded by reveling locals, affording me a few moments to witness how the locals enjoy their beautiful city. That night is remembered as the beauty and the beast(s) of Lisbon.

Yet if one was to ask about my favorite evening away from home, the memory which most stands out was the first night alone at Acido Dorado, a modern noir hued vacation residence in Joshua Tree whose architectural details and secluded location provided an unworldly experience which is easier experienced than explained.

We were the property’s first ever guests, and that first night after relaxing in the jacuzzi au natural under the stars, Emily and I cuddled in the living room with the lights all turned off, moonlight and an outdoor fire dancing across countless reflective surfaces within the completely mirrored interior, with the Mysterious Skin soundtrack reverberating throughout. Our perceptions melted into confusion, where we couldn’t determine whether our bodies were floating upward to the heavens or into the depths of the darkest sea, with infinite duplicates ourselves staring back in the dark. Haunting, sensual and a smidgen frightening, the night is remembered with the sensation of diving into the darkest ocean, illuminated by starlight, serenaded with cetacean songs echoing across the waters…in the desert.