20 October, 2011

The Last Night

We took a train to Lisbon from Porto on the 15th of October because we were flying the next day. This was nice, because we could see some of the scenery from the window. Portugal is the size of Ohio and has approximately the same population, which is between 10 to 11 million people. There was a lot of open space with trees I had never seen before.

We arrived in Lisbon about 6pm and decided to take a taxi to the hotel I had found near the airport. We had been told it should cost between 6-8 Euros depending on the traffic. But the taxi driver had no idea where the hotel was. We gave him the address on a piece of paper and he wandered around showing the address to other taxi drivers and they all threw up their hands in obvious despair. "This place must not be very popular," I said to Dick. Eventually we got in the taxi and he did a circle two or three times before he got on the right road.

It wasn't very far, but when we reached the industrial area where the hotel was located, the taxi driver ran into two or three buildings asking for directions, leaving the meter running each and every time. Finally we called the hotel and handed the telephone to the driver, who was not happy about taking it. But the meter had already reached 15 euros, and we still hadn't arrived at the hotel. In the end the cost was 16+ Euros.

"Wow," I said to the clerk behind the reception desk, "this hotel is really hard to find. Our taxi driver had a lot of problems." "No," he answered, "they all do that. We get dozens of complaints a day about those drivers."

We decided to eat out, though I had to get up at 4am.  But the hotel had no restaurant and the nearest one was a ten minute walk where a bunch of factories was located. We found it and it was only ten minutes, and the food was good. I ordered a glass of wine and got half a bottle. Dick a beer. He drank his in one gulp and then tasted my wine saying it was very good. When I decided to have a second glass, the wine was gone. I complained and Dick ordered another glass and they brought another half. Well, I had a glass and Dick finished it off.

We payed and decided to walk back. I couldn't imagine a taxi taking us in any case. As Dick got up from his chair he tripped over a step and fell on this poor woman sitting at the next table. She gave him the dirtiest look I've ever seen. When Dick righted himself, his pants fell down to the top of his femur. At that point the owner of the place came running out of the kitchen and suggested he drive us back to the hotel. We accepted willingly.

When we reached the hotel the second time, there were dozens of people lined up waiting to get into their room. So it was more popular than I had estimated.

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