Things are rolling on well as I start the indefinite European leg of my journey! Living out of a bag, and sleeping on beds that can be best described as ironing boards, is getting a little bit tiresome, but being in Europe now is exciting!
The Australian passport has been packed away for the time being, and the European one gets its turn! Walked straight through customs like I was showing a season ticket at a football match! Nice seeing as the non-EU passport line was clocking up some serious kilometres!
My arrival into Portugal at 6am was greeted by being stalked around the airport by two dodgy looking fellas. With all my bags, they were probably licking their lips at another gullible tourist to scam and steal from! I moved around the airport a bit to try and lose them. Then they sat a few metres ahead of where I sat, watching me out of the side of their shifty eyes whilst pretending to have a conversation! Very subtle, fellas! I jumped into a cab and left them to try it on with someone else, perhaps someone who may have actual valuables in their bags. I did them a favour.
The homeless in Portugal are not nearly as active as in the USA. Each individual one takes up the same post each day, everyday, all day. Its like they are an extension of the buildings! This spot is usually outside a bank, or a fashionable clothes shop that attracts people with money. Finding an ATM without an accompanying outstretched hand is a task. Some of these sad souls look like they passed away days ago, except for the fact that they are holding up a Starbucks cup perfectly straight, awaiting loose change.
Double Denim rules the roost in Spain. I'd put the ratio at 1 in 5! A sad state of affairs. Even one of the dodgy blokes who stalked me at the airport was in DD. Imagine that, being robbed by someone in double denim. The shame.
Looking for a bite to eat can be tricky over here. Just a millisecond of eye contact with a menu, and an 'alarm' goes off, and a waiter is out there trying to hook you into their eatery. How can they all be the best, that's just what I want to know! We ended up going to a place that didn't hassle us and that was half the price, and one of the best meals I've had. I raised a glass over to one of the defeated waiters from the opposition.
Lisbon proved an interesting night out. The first bar we hit was literally empty when we entered. Even so, would you believe they kicked us out, because we wouldn't wear our hats backwards? Great business plan they have ! The next bar ended up being a strip bar, despite our group being mixed genders. Many of the blokes in the bar were accompanied by their wives and/or girlfriends...just a quiet romantic night out I guess...catch a show! All except a mysterious man sitting in the far corner, dressed like Zorro (Black hat, black cape, beard!). He had a different girl at his table every 5 minutes. Could is be speed dating with Zorro? Once the grandma on stage had finished her routine, the girls from our hostel started busting some moves to the dodgy 80's tracks playing, turning a seedy strip club into a dance club (still seedy though!). The leather faced old man owner, and his equally leather faced waitresses (must be a prerequisite for a job) weren't too impressed, but the customers were, also getting up and dancing. Zorro remained cool calm an collected in his corner, not batting an eyelid (what a cool bloke!), but some midget lady came from no where and started dancing on tables. Random! We left soon after, although I still cannot fathom why!
After Lisbon, I bussed it up to Porto. I was seated next to a nun. Quite interesting choreography really, I was slouched in my seat, drifting in and out of sleep as I battled to grasp the morning, and she maintained perfect posture for the entire 2 hours, and barely batted an eyelid! Conversation was at a minimum between the two of us! Good of her to keep it down to a dull roar!
Porto is the home of Port wines of course, so we mingled with the higher echelon of society...for about 5 minutes each place. Being the cheapskate backpackers we are, we had our three free samples at each place and moved on to the next Portery! There were about eight of them, after which we finally bought a bottle of Port for $1.50. Cheap hey, how can you go wrong? Hindsight told me the next morning that it can go very wrong.
It has been tricky getting by knowing only two Portuguese words. The two words I know are "thank you" and "apricots". I am so sick of apricots!. I can also count to three! Luckily one of the girls I was hanging out with is fluent in Portuguese, so I was eventually able to move to other foods....whilst still being able to maintain politeness on my own!
Now my adventures in Spain begin, having just arrived in Madrid. It certainly was an interesting bus ride to get here. The bus had no toilet onboard, so at each stop there was a stampede to get to the restrooms...so I can now tick off having taken part in the running of the bulls!
Well, according to Spanish customs, a siesta is now in order...I feel obliged to comply!