Lagered In Lagos


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Europe » Portugal » Algarve » Lagos
August 18th 2007
Published: September 6th 2007
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Picture PerfectPicture PerfectPicture Perfect

What the beaches look like in the Algarve...
After pretty much five days in the bustling cities of Portugal, it was time for some fun in the sun on the Algarve.

With beautiful beaches and cheap airfares to nearby Faro, predictably, Lagos is a holiday haven for golfers and Brits. Apart from an old city wall, a fortress and a church, there's nothing much to see in Lagos - but that was not why we came here.

Once we arrived, we found our hostel after a taxing walk in the 30+ degree heat - The Rising Cock. I kid you not, the hostel is really called this and I have the photo to prove it.
Of course, a hostel with a name such as the Rising Cock is not going to attract a quiet crowd - and sure enough the first sound we hear as we enter the Cock's bright red door is the nasally obnoxious voice of a young Australian girl shouting, "Michelle, hurry the f*ck up!"
It was to get worse. Now, I don't mind chatting to the odd Australian on my travels, in fact sometimes it reminds me of home, but a whole hostel full of permanently drunk blokes and sheilas can get a
Praia do PinhaoPraia do PinhaoPraia do Pinhao

Most idyllic setting I have ever seen at a beach.
bit much.
The host of the hostel said that everyone was like family here, and that she was "the Mama". Poor Mama had to work pretty hard here.

Anyway, Mama said that our beds wouldn't be ready for a couple of hours, so it was off to the beach, after a couple of pasteis de natas along the way (am gonna really miss those things).
And what a beautiful beach it was. Praia do Pinhao is set against an almost perfectly carved cliffface, the clear turquoise of the water contrasting stunningly with the mustard-clay cliffs. The most spectacular and idyllic setting I've ever seen for a beach.
The temperature of the water was anything but idyllic however - it was seriously freezing.
The Atlantic Ocean off San Sebastian and La Coruna wasn't this cold, so it must be something in the currents. There was also a nice rock in the middle of the bay that people could jump off.
After lying away our train lag, I then proceeded to complete my Portuguese experience with the one famous Portuguese dish I had yet to savour - authentic piri-piri BBQ chicken.
The place I bought it from was the local "churrasqueria", a specialist
The Rising CockThe Rising CockThe Rising Cock

Its no joke...
BBQ chicken takeaway 50 metres from the Cock. It was doing roaring trade and I had to wait awhile - Davies in fact missed out, as he only ordered after they sold out. And it was definitely worth the wait, as it was delicious. However, unlike Nando's, they don't season the chicken with the piri-piri sauce after it is cooked, rather they marinade the chicken in it before grilling it. So in that respect, Nando's is probably tastier. But you can't beat the value here however - a whole chicken for 6€. Nando's is not worth the extra NZ$5-NZ$6, believe me.
Then it was back to the hostel.

People sure don't come to the Cock to sleep - cos you actually can't.
A converted two-story house, our room was right next to the lounge, where a kick-ass sound system blasted out whatever tunes the Aussie jocks desired. They loved their house music - a bit feminine, really.
If you can't beat them, you might as well join them, and we got talking to Brian, an Irish guy and some Germans who were staying here for two weeks. According to the Germans, there is a party at the Cock every
Party Night #1Party Night #1Party Night #1

Portuguese couple I met at Inside Out bar.
night - until 12 am, when the lounge has to close. The neighbours must absolutely hate it.
Brian managed to get a 750ml bottle of vodka, wait for it - called Serlof - for, wait for it again - 6.50€. Sure, it tasted like arse, but if it's that cheap, who cares. Brian certainly didn't as the bottle was completed before we all - and I mean the whole hostel - hit the Lagos nightlife.
It was a Friday night, but apparently in summer, Lagos goes off every night so it doesn't matter. We got talking to some Australian girls we met in Nice, at the Villa Saint Exupery, who just happened to be staying here. Also here, were the four Australian girls we saw in the restaurant next to us in Lisbon. It's a small world alright. We also met a cool Kiwi guy from the 'Naki - Ben.
The first place we went to was the 3 Monkeys where they played some good old sing-a-long rock. I was feeling pretty good by now so I was singing along - Brian, not so much, as he stood in the centre of the bar, holding his beer, eyes wide shut. We never saw him again.
The next place we went to was
Me & LauraMe & LauraMe & Laura

The Italian girl I met at Inside Out bar.
Inside Out Bar, where I met a lovely Italian girl called Laura and two Dutch guys. Me and one of the Dutch guys got talking about how almost every bar in Portugal had an 80/20 guy/girl split. He managed to get with Laura's friend however, so he was pretty happy that he got his share of the 20%. He said that you have to be yourself and don't worry about "ego b*llshit that goes on with the big, buff guys in Europe." Yeah, he was a laugh, and he got me a Tequila shot too, so it was fun talking to him.
By now, all of the Cock crew including Davies had gone home, so I followed Laura and the two Dutch guys to "RGB" - the late night dance club in Lagos. The bouncers were being jerks though and it was free for girls but 10€ for guys. Can't blame them in 80/20 Portugal I suppose. I was talking to two Portuguese guys who said that in Portugal they would "riot" at this situation. I then drunkenly suggested that we should riot as there were 20 of us and only two bouncers. I then got a tap on the
A Sight For Sore Hungover EyesA Sight For Sore Hungover EyesA Sight For Sore Hungover Eyes

My view the day after party night #1.
shoulder - the bouncer was right behind me.
"I was just joking mate, we always joke around in NZ...", I told him.
I wasn't gonna pay 10€ to get into somewhere at 5am, and I didn't like the way the bouncer was glaring at me, so I thought that this would be an opportune moment to call it a night ;-)

The next morning, Mama cooked up some great crepes - and she just kept them coming. Pity I didn't have more of an appetite - hangovers tend to do that to you.
Didn't get up to much that day, just lied on the beach all day hungover. Could've done worse though - Ben told us that Brian made it on to the "booze cruise" that was happening that day. Apparently he didn't have a good time. I can't imagine anything worse after a big night out - drinking more beer, with a hangover, on a boat. For 25€. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous.

In the evening we went to a bullfight!
The most electric crowds are in Seville, our next destination, but unfortunately they don't stage any fights there during July and August. So we
Toro!Toro!Toro!

The bullfight gets underway as the bull tries to gore the matador on the horse, and the matador tries to stab the bull. Unfortunately, its a dead uneven contest.
decided to attend this dinky little setup instead.
The bullring was dinky alright - it wouldn't hold more than 1000 people and was less than 3 metres high. The price was anything but dinky unfortunately - 20€. Davies almost baulked at it, but I thought that while I'm in Iberia, I wanna see a bullfight.
We entered just as the first fight of three was getting underway. There is actually a live brass band playing traditional Spanish music as background to the fight which was quite unique.
The matador (I think), was on a horse, and the bull was trying to catch the horse. It got real close a couple of times and I was really fearing for the horse. One horse near the end actually had to be replaced as it got wounded.
The dudes on foot who wave the red cloth (in this case it was pink) are really only there to distract the bull away from the matador at opportune times (like when the bull gets too close to the horse) rather than actually being the main protagonist like you see on TV. Maybe it's different in Spain. Sometimes they were made to jump the fence for
Traditional Brass BandTraditional Brass BandTraditional Brass Band

The music here is all live - quite cute really.
safety which always gave the crowd a laugh.
This is a bullfight however, and everytime the bull got close, the matador would attempt to stab the bull with a spear. When successful, the matador would get a cheer from the crowd. The matador would stick 6-7 spears into the bull, until it got tired. These spears stay on the bull as well, and you really feel for it as it tries to shake them off in pain, unsuccessfully.
When the bull is tired enough, a group of men enter into the ring and try to get the bull to charge at them. When the bull charges at a designated man, the man would try to grab the bull by the horns and hold on to it's head. If he manages to hold on (though with the help of his mates) his grab is deemed a success. He usually gets about two or three go's at it.
One guy fell off and got trampled a little, but he was fine, mainly due to the fact that the bull's horns are half-cut off for the fight. I don't know whether they keep the horns sharp in Spain though.
So as you can
Poor Bull...Poor Bull...Poor Bull...

The bull is taunted by the dude with the flag - notice how the spears remain attached to the bull :-{
see, everything is in favour of the matador and his cronies. The bull doesn't stand a chance. Most of the people I have talked to who have seen a bullfight all say that they don't like it because it's incredibly cruel and unfair, and that the bullfighters are really pussies given how much of an advantage they have. By the end of it, I was rooting for the bull.
"Come on bull, gore the bastard!"
But I think that if it actually did happen to someone, I would probably regret it straight away ;-)
In Portugal, they don't kill the bull in the ring like they do in Spain - they do it out the back. But to be honest, I don't think that I could stomach seeing the bull get killed - it's incredibly cruel and humiliating for the bull in the first place.
So I've seen my bullfight - but I don't think that I'll see another one.
It didn't stop me from having a Big Mac straight after though. Meat is murder - tasty, tasty murder....;-)

Of course at the Rising Cock, another night brings another party.
The second most represented nation after Australia at the
Joe's GarageJoe's GarageJoe's Garage

This fire is outta control...
Cock was Canada, and we got talking to one of their representatives from Toronto, Rob. He was a really cool guy - he seemed to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, almost to the point where you thought he was being insincere. But his liveliness was infectious, and after the common area closed at 12am, it was out for another night on the town.
Our first stop was Inside Out Bar, though it didn't seem to be happening here tonight. I got talking to Rob about Canadian Club whisky - apparently it isn't held in the same esteem in Canada as it is back home. He said it was like "Heineken to the Dutch".
We ended up talking to another Canadian chick who's been working in Lagos for the last two weeks, and she offered to show all of us round the nightlife of Lagos.
Our next stop was Joe's Garage, which was going off. Possibly the wildest bar I've ever been to. Girls where dirty dancing on the bar which had a pole, to Franz Ferdinand's "This Fire". This fire was out of control, alright. Had a great time here, and had my first CC & Dry since
Black TBlack TBlack T

The main man, and our rich source of entertainment for the night.
I left New Zealand! But unfortunately it was too short as we were headed for the next bar on the "tour". In hindsight, we probably should've spent the rest of the night at Joe's. Oh well.
On the way to the next bar we had a bona-fide African-American from Baltimore in our ranks. He was known as Black T, and when he managed to wrestle control of the music from the Aussies back at the Rising Cock, it was hip-hop all the way. When 2Pac's "Picture Me Rollin'" came on, he went into overdrive and he knew all the words alright. He was a bona-fide crack up, and delivered some classic lines such as (in your classic African-American accent);
"This is how we roll baby!"
"Damn dawg, there's some fine booty and pu-tang in da house tonight!"
"We representing the Rising Cock baby, but you don't wanna be near this thang when this cock rises!" (Alumni Members - hehe...members - where have we heard this one before?!)
Maybe it was because we were drunk, but he was a hoot.
The next place sucked but we spent a bit of time there - our guide was a bit boozed me thinks.
Toronto RobToronto RobToronto Rob

Myself, Toronto Rob and his New York friend Christina.

Finally it was to Grand Cafe, which was probably the best place aesthetically, but it was too close to closing time so we didn't really get much of a go at it. I would've preferred Joe's though, I think.
Then it was off to get the most interesting hot dog ever, outside the main church. In Portugal, instead of just getting your basic onions, ketchup and mustard with your hot dog, you also get carrots, mushrooms and grated potato chips thrown in too. Not that I was complaining, as it was a damn good hot dog at the time. It was so good that Black T asked the Portuguese people serving them for "two of those motherf*ckers". They cracked up too.
We briefly went to the beach afterwards, and I got a picture with Toronto Rob.
"You gotta send me that picture dude!", he told me. Unfortunately, the next morning he was nowhere to be found, and we never saw him again.
So Rob, if by some fluke you are reading this, here's your picture dude ;-)

And so this completed our boozy stay in Lagos. Not much in the way of sightseeing and cultural background in this entry I know, but that wasn't what Lagos was about. Good times fo sho.

Our next destination from here is Seville - so hopefully you guys will still be interested and will be eagerly awaiting my next entry ;-)

Adeus,
Derek

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