Beach Day

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July 10th 2011
Published: July 11th 2011
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I've been told that I need to post a new blog entry, so here we go!

After a weekend of finishing up school work and lying in bed watching the entire second season of "How I Met Your Mother" (I'm already ashamed, please don't mock me further), I convinced my roommate that we needed to leave the house. Luckily our good friend Miguel called at that exact moment wanting to get out of the city. So we piled into the car and headed North to Póvoa de Varzim. Up until now, Póvoa hasn't meant much to me except for the last stop way out in the middle of nowhere on the red line, and the summer home of one of my classmates. But upon arriving there it was immediately apparent that we were in a resort town. There's a reason the metro extends 17 miles away from the city to this place. It's a good get away from the city and the beach and atmosphere are much more calming and relaxing than the traffic filled beaches of Porto or Matosinhos.

We parked the car and set up camp in a cafe on the beach (aptly called Bar da Praia). Although it wasn't a meal time, I decided that I was hungry and wanted a sandwich, so got this city's version of the francesinha, a francesinha poveira. This basically meant a grilled baguette filled with ham and some other pig meat that I couldn't identify with ketchup, cheese, and a little bit of the signature beer sauce. Pretty awesome. And even more awesome because it was pretty cheap.

After hanging out at the cafe for a few hours, Miguel took us on a quick tour of the Póvoa shoreline and the neighboring town of Vila de Conde. He use to live there so he gave us the full fifty cent tour. These two towns weren't always the fancy beach destinations that they are today. They are both historically fishing towns and strongly tied to the ocean. So it shouldn't have been surprising when we went past a church that also serves as a light house, or the church that was constructed to look like a boat. All in all, very cute towns. Miguel amused us and insisted that we stop and take pictures next to the ocean. Very good tour guide.

At this point it was more or less dinner
Pizza @ CarusoPizza @ CarusoPizza @ Caruso

Three random, amazing pizzas
time, so we decided what the hell, let's make a day of it! We ended up at this sort of fancy looking Italian place called Caruso on the beach. We all decided that we were going for pizza and so got three completely different things: one plain by spicy, one with arugula and some sort of prosciutto, and then a third random one with banana and cinnamon. Surprisingly, all three were delicious and we left extremely satisfied.

The sun was finally setting which meant it was probably 9:30 so we headed back to Porto. But Miguel being Miguel he was not ready to go home even though he had to be at work at 7:00 AM the next day. So we called one of our friends, waking him up, and told him we'd pick him up in 10 minutes. After grabbing the sleepy one, we headed to a hookah bar on Rua 5 de Outubro, right near Boavista called Khan el Khalili. It was very different from what I expected. While that area of Porto is filled with brand new buildings, it is also filled with vacant decaying buildings. In the middle of the latter group was this bar.
Khan El KhaliliKhan El KhaliliKhan El Khalili

Tanya looking like a beatnik at the hookah bar
Very well decorated and themed to the point where it was almost cheesy. Even though it was Sunday, the place filled up as the night went on and most of the indoor table were taken up when we left a little after midnight. As there didn't appear to be many immigrants around, I didn't trust the place to have good hookah (not that I smoke, so I wouldn't really know), but my suspicions were verified when they brought out the pipe for my friends. Even I knew something was wrong. The waitress at first protested and said that nothing was wrong, but then eventually someone repacked it, made a good seal, and gave us a new coal instead of one that already done.

We spent the night with the orange flavored smoke and talking about how our parents all react differently when we stay out late. Although from four very different parts of the world, we all had very similar stories.

And that's about it. Got home awhile later, going to bed now. Dreading the start of next week ... when I wake up in five and a half hours.

Additional photos below
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I swear Miguel isn't proposing to Tanya

Having a bit too much fun with the napkins at the restaurant.

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