Boarding the plane posed the possible problem of having hand luggage that was too big. They were making some people put there gear in the sizer, some people failing and having to pull some stuff out and either wear it or hold it. Kinda dumb. The volume of my bag wasn’t a problem but it was possibly too think, actually probably too thick.
When I got to the front I had my backpack on my back and I forcibley smiled and engaged the lady in conversation cutting her off after she’d torn my boarding pass thanking her and quickly boarding the plane.
As oi’d forgotton my boccodillo’s I was starving. I resorted to bying something on the plane. I got a packet of maltesers. I was absolutely hating myself as I ate them but I was too hungry not too.
I spent the rest of the flight half sleeping half reading and half writing in my diary. It was only a 50 minute flight so I didn’t really have time to do any of these sufficiently so I just did all 3 half assed while I hated myself for eating the malteasers.
From the airport I caught the metro into town. The trains here are really good and the tracks are really well engineered. I was constantly falling over. The reason being was that I was seeing the corners and expecting to have to lean into them. This was unnecessary though as the tracks were all cambered perfectly, meaning you could pretty much just stand upright with out holding onto anything.
Nuno, the protuguese guy I stayed with in Skopje has organized accomodation for me both here in Porto and in Lisbon, great guy. I had to catch a couple of metro’s first into the city, then out again to meet Pedro, one of two brothers whom I’m staying with. He’d instructed me to go to the IPO station and sent me a text with more precise details of where to meet him. While I was reading this text I missed my stop.
Luckily the next stop was only a maximum of 500 meters away and I was able to easily walk back. Pedro had said in the message to meet him at the nearest headlights and to look out for a white van. I figured he just meant to wait at the main road, which was pretty close and to wait for him there.
Soon after I noticed a guy walking towards me and figured it was him. We made our quick introductions and it turned out that he meant for me to meet him at the neared traffic lights, which were a bit over 100 meters down the road, beside which the white van was parked.
Pedro’s part of a student organization called BEST, Board of European Students of Technology. They’d just had an event on over the weekend and were just returning home. As a result the van was half full of equipment and half full of 5 other people plus myself.
The plan was to go for dinner at a place nearby where they were meeting another few of there mates. Where we went was this little café place. Here they sold the best cheapest Fia…something in town. It’s a dish which translates to Small French girl, god knows the affiliation with a petite foregner and the dish, its is very typical of not Portugal but mainly Porto. It’s pretty much a toasted sandwich with ham, chorizo and a couple of other things in it. It also had a piece of cheese on top and is covered in a gravy type sauce which tastes a little like kidney beans, no body could tell me exactly what it is made of as no body knew.
We sat eating while they were all laughing about different events of the weekend. Some of it they translated and a few times they even tried to talk in English, but they were all hung over and it would eventually just slide back into Portuguese, I didn’t mind though I could tell my the Macarena actions and the immitation of somebody dropping somebody else combined with a few fresh cuts on a very red person what many of the stories were about.
We all parted and myself Pedro and one of his smaller friends, who has a name which is almost un pronounceable, I was told to just call him Gee, went back to their university faculty to drop off the van, a van which I must admit had many scars from what I guess is probably less then 2 years of student abuse.
We walked home, I was knackered, my packs only wiegh 25 kg in total but I felt like it weighed a tonne and was happy to drop it after we’d dropped Gee at his and Pedro and I got back to the place where I’m staying.
The place is pretty awesome, the elevator seems like it’s from the future with a touch pad to request the floors. The whole place seems really really new. Even the flat, which to be honest was really messy, still seemed awesome because of how new age everything looked.
I was dying for a shower, so soon after I stripped and got in. It felt so good. And I was in there for ages. I hope water here isn’t too edpensive.
After that I sat in bed struggling to stay awake while I waited for Miguelle to get back just to say hi. He got back at about 1130, and suggested a beer. So we ended up out till abit after one. Just sitting in a café with his friends, they were pretty funny. One guy was pretty upset though, he‘d crashed his car that day totally writing it off. He only had third party too so his driving days are temporarily over.
So much for getting to sleep. Migule got home and we ended up going for a beer at a local café. That was pretty cool. A few of his mates showed up. They were really interested in working as an engineer in Australia. They get paid next to nothing here. Less then 20,000AUD a year straight out of uni. Pretty crap.
So ready to sleep right now.
1210 (Nov 24)
I’m on struggle street. I missed the train I was supposed to get on, I’m kinda annoyed but theres one in less then an hour. So it’s not too bad.
I slept in again yesterday. Over here in Europe every place has curtains and shutters, a thicker metal external blind, kinda like a garage door I guess. And I woke thinking it was still early, like 4 am. I looked at my watch however to find that it was 1030. Such a waste of time.
Miguelle hadn’t left either, he was supposed to start at 930. He told me yesterday that he got in a bit of crap from his boss for being late all the time. Today when I left at 1100 he still wasn’t up. He’s gonna get his but kicked today. Haha. Maybe I should have woken him up. Oh well. He’s a big boy.
I got my stuff together and headed into town. First I went to try and find a laundry. Again I had no luck, well I found a place that would clean my clothes but it was like 2 or 3 euros per piece, such a rip off. It seems that coin laundries over here are no where near as common as they are in Aus, oh well. Dirty clothes it is.
I was going to catch the tourist bus but it was 12 Euros. I ended up just grabbing the map and catching public transport around the loop. I had a day ticket already so this was the cheapest option by far.
It was awesome to get to the beach again. I’d been missing this so much. And got off at the first stop that I could see the waves. I walked out along a pier, there were a few people out there but they were only like halfway along the pier, the rest of it was wet so I figured there was a little bit of spray going over it.
I almost walked alont the whole length, that was untill a massive wave crashed over the end of the pier. I possibly wouldn’t have been swept away but it would have been close. Is wasn’t overtly hot either so I wasn’t keen on swimming.
I walked along the beach for a while, and caught a few more busses through town. I wanted to get another book so I went into the tourist info to ask for the closest book shop. The response I got was fairly crass. I mean she wasn’t being rude, it just came across that way. “Yes we do have a shop near by, and you should go there anyway.” was the explanation I got. I felt like it was my year 9 English teacher telling me I need to study more. She went on though. “this book shop has been voted the 3rd most beautiful bookshop in the word.” so off I went.
At one point on the way to the book shop a guy approached me, he asked if I speak English and then went on with a massive story about how he was from Lisbon and he was meeting a friend just outside town but he didn’t have quite enough money. “I know it’s no body elses problem but I just need 1 euro and 65cents for a ticket…” I cut him off, said no and walked away. He sounded really genuine though and I almost doubled back to give him some spondoolie.
I’m glad I didn’t though, Miguelle was telling me later that it’s a common thing for beggers here to make up a sob story to get your money. He told me of a time when a guy sold him a story about his mum being in hospital and that he needed 20 euros to get a cab out there. Miguelle totally bought it and even gave him an extra 5 euros to make sure he could get out there. He claimed youthful ignorance was to blame. Haha.
To give the information lady some credit the book store was a really nice place. Small but pretty cool. The lower shelves were full of new books but the ones out of reach were full of super old old leather bound books, and there was a pretty cool stairway in the middle leading to the top floor. However I didn’t find anything worth reading so I left soon after to head back to the flat.
I got back to the flat at about 5. I sat there on the front step typing in my diary until 7. God knows where Miguelle and Pedro were. Eventually car crash, who I’d had a drink with the night before, walked past. He asked if I wanted to wait in his flat. Why not I figured.
It was good up there, I sat down and turned the TV on watching American dad, I wasn’t really concentrating and just presumed it was in Portuguese. Car crash (whose name I’ve totally forgotton) asked me if I spoke German. Turns out that was the language, not protugese. this was the second language I’d watched it in, in as many days. I knew the episode too so I knew all the jokes, that’s really sad now that I think about it.
Car crash made me a couple of fried fish sandwiches too which was cool and we sat with those and some sweet carbonated portugese drink. We watched tv and played soccor on a PS2 with his housemate for a while, while I waited for a response from Miguelle or Pedro. I got none and at about 830 myself and car crash just went for a walk to go and grab him some cigarettes. On the way back we checked if miguelle was home. Turns out he was sleeping. He must have got home just after I’d left to go to car crashes house.
Soon after I went for a run. I hadn’t run for a week and was in desperate need of some exercise. It was awesome in total I went for almost an hour. I would have done ten k’s. more then I’d done since I left Graz. Its really frustrating though. I’m still able to run 10 k’s but I’m still putting on weight and getting fatter!!
Along the run I jogged past this black guy in a beanie with a back pack on. I looked to my right 10 meters later and he was running along side me with a massive black guy grin on his face. There were pleanty of people on the footpath so I wasn’t worried about him I just laughed and figured he’d stop. He didn’t so I sped up. Getting faster and faster untill we were racing down the footpath full on sprinting. People usually look at me funny but this drew every body’s attention. The a****** beat me too, another example of black mans oppression of us whites. But I was handicapped by the previous 8 k’s so I used that to console myself.
I pulled down my headphones and started chatting with him. At first he started talking to me in Portuguese. Nah mate, English I said. “oh I thought u were Portuguese” he said “yeah” I replied “Coz there’s 6 foot tall blonde Portuguese all over the place.” he was cool though just another student studying…. I forget. After about half a k had to turn around though and we parted ways.
Back at the apartment Miguel had cooked a feed. It was just a concoction he’d made of pretty much everything in his fridge. It was great and myself Miguel and car crash sat down with a couple of bottles of Portuguese red wine and tucked in. Not only was it free but it tasted fantastic too.
From there we went around the corner for a caffe. Miguels friends came too. These guys were great all really interested in myself, which sounds like I’m flattering myself, but I mean it more in the way where they are trying to increase there own intangible net worth by broadening there knowledge of different people. They were also really enjoying practicing their English. Some people hate (well they don’t hate, but would much prefer not having to) speak English, where as other people wont shut up and (like these guys) comment on how good it is to be able to practice there English.
They were even speaking English when we were back at the apartment and I was on my computer not even listening. Their English knowledge was quite intimate too, particular Miguel’s. phrases like ‘thick skinned’ ‘hard nosed’ and descriptors like ‘extraverted’ needed no explaining. Now that I think about it the level of English in Portugal is probably the best I’ve come across for a not native speaking country.
After getting back to the appartment we drank a bit more wine while I laid on the couch. My legs were killing me. I’d definitely bitten off more then I could chew with the run.
We left the flat at about 1130, myself Miguel and one of his friends, heading for a place that does an Erasmus night on Mondays. After a short train ride and a brief encounter with a guy trying to sell us a sob story. He approached us in English, as he could hear us, but Miguel cut in and pretty much told him where to go in Portuguese.