Get off this bus

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May 22nd 2009
Published: May 22nd 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Oh dear. So much hilarious stuff to record, so little time.

Yesterday I arrived in Lisbon after taking a night bus from Seville. It was a routine drill--the bus was late, packed with people, and Laurn and I were forced to listen to the sounds of an amorous couple in the row behind us. Par for the course. Around 2 am the bus stops in a town called "Davida" or something like that, so that one lonely passenger can disembark. When the driver gets up and comes to the back to call out a "Meester James," I assume that this fellow had fallen asleep. Not so. The guy was either drunk or crazy or looking to make trouble, because he blatenely refused to get off. What insued was an argument of epic proportions. This is a rough translation of the torrent of Spanish, English, and Portugese that was spoken:

"Your ticket, says DAVIDA, you get off at DAVIDA!"
"I no get off. Here, take my money. I want to go to FARO"
"I no take your money! You get off the bus or I call the police!"
"Then call the police! I no get off!"
(the driver is really worked up now, sweating and all red in the face)

This whole exchange sounded like a shouting match between a father and his teenage son. Long story short, after another 10 minutes of arguments, we think the crazy guy has won because the bus driver goes grumbling back to the wheel and starts the bus. Instead of getting back on the road, we go the THE POLICE STATION. They somehow lure the guy out as we hear him say "I don't want to sleep in the road!" It was the most exciting thing that has ever happened. On a bus.

This was a perfect intro to the Portgual portion of our trip. People here are a little nuts. Everybody looks at you funny. I was buying a ticket for the train to Cascais from one of those self-service machines, and some old guy is STARING at me through the glass on my right side, his face not 10 inches from mine. No apparent reason why. An old lady on the corner looked at Lauren and I as though we were Nazi collaborators. I can't explain it. Do I have a booger hanging out of my nose, or what?

Finally, I must make a note of the food. We are staying with a Portugese man who made us dinner last night. It lasted 6 HOURS. I am not exaggerating. 6 hours and 3 bottles of wine between the 3 of us. From 3:30-9:30. Ask Lauren if you don't believe me. Earlier in the day he took us to one of the thousands of Patisserias that fill this city. Not only are the pastries here insanely good, they are everywhere, tempting me with their flakey goodness every few feet. Dieters beware.

We returned to this partular patisseria after our glutonous meal, where Antionio and Lauren ordered Pastis de Belem--a delicious custard like pastry with a filo dough crust. Lauren didn't order anything to drink, and when the waiter came back, he says in English "You didn't order anything to drink, so I didn't bring you anything." And puts his hands up in a gesture that said "don't blame me, I'm just doing what I'm told." It was totally bizarre--like he was personally offended by her decision not to have an espresso. Before we left, he made a point of telling her, "Next time, have some port, kapeesh? (I added the kapeesh part, but the rest is totally true).

Heading down south to Faro tomorrow, and from there, Scotland to visit Miss Jessie.


22nd May 2009

I was going to tell you to have those!! Aren't they amazing!?! The Portuguese are definitely a different breed...a people who once were the leading explorers and conquerers of the world, and now they stare. And make pastries. Yum!
25th May 2009

SOOO good. I think I gained about 5 pounds in Portugal alone!

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