Archive for the ‘portugal’ Category

It is better to have travelled and struggled that never to have travelled at all (me)

March 21, 2015

And so, dear listener, the week got off to such a good start. I had food with Missie K in the downstairs bit of Prince’s Square and over the course of a couple of gentle and lazy hours my world was put right; I ended up in holiday mood and I was given such good fishing advice. I am entitled to my views about the age of the fish but I should use a longer line and a bigger net 🙂

And Tuesday was just that kinda quiet organisational kinda day that you have before going away; putting out the rubbish, final packing and electronic check-in just to prove you’re hip to new technology in the grooviest kinda way. I was going to Lisbon with a connection at Manchester. 🙂

….and then it all went disastrously wrong….disastrously. 😦

The taxi drive to the airport was fine altho’ my paranoia did kick in when the taxi driver talked about me being single and I replied ‘yes’ altho’ I didn’t tell him my life story – was he checking me out for his pals to break in when I wasn’t there? My fears went when he talked about how expensive it was to take his wife and two children to Pakistan every two or three years. I give him a good tip. 😉

The check-in was okay and I’d a wee side seat on my own at the side…….and we got up in the air and then the captain was speaking: ‘A lot of fog in the Manchester area and we are in a holding area but we have plenty of fuel (‘we’?).’ And we held and we circled and then came the announcement I’d been dreading. We weren’t going to Manchester but to Leeds/Bradford…….I would miss my connection. 😦

Sitting on the tarmac at Leeds (or is it Bradford?) thinking of Lisbon.

Eventually a bus took us to the terminus. We hung around and I worried about my one piece of luggage still being somewhere when a door opened and out it fell. We hung around and then a strange bus turned up and this was ours….twenty minutes after we’d been told it was on its way. Further confusion as the driver refused to leave until somebody from the terminus had counted heads. It was only when a Glaswegian voice from the back threatened to take his off if he didn’t go soon, did he start the motor. I then did the bit where I looked behind me as well pretending to wonder whose voice it was.

We are tremendously lucky in Glasgow to have a motorway to and from the airport with its ability to connect with roads to the South, to the East and to Summerston. This one went through rural and urban byways and over bumpy roads; my texting my woes was less than adequate.

D’you remember, Dr W, the time you ran the marathon in Embra and we got on a bus* that took us from Musselburgh Primary School to Straiton Car Park where my car was? Well it was like that all the way to Manchester – nothing but people’s back gardens. *there’s something I’ve never told you about that bus…….. 😉

We got to Manchester and I took my bag to the international terminus I thought I’d be leaving from – only to be told I had to go back to the previous one and talk to the FlyBe desk (or at least the people behind it) and they would sort things out. So I went back and there was an enormous queue cos of the problems that Manchester had had that morning. 😦

It took an hour and a half to get sorted and a letter of complaint will be going off and I got a food voucher so I was eating a baked potato with prawns at the time I should have been eating something a lot more exotic in Lisbon….but my phone was charging in some cleaner’s hoover socket beside me.

The flight to Lisbon was lovely and unbusy. The light meal was a filled roll with tuna and olives and a prune drink for afters. 😀

I arrived; did all the check-out things including my first ever e-passport and collected my luggage. I knew where the taxis were and what roughly it would cost. The taxi marshall was organising the queue and I didn’t have to wait long. For a taxi whose driver did not speak English. This should not have been a problem as I had the name of my hotel on a sheet of paper and I knew it was in the City Centre off the Avenida da Liberdade. He ignored this and stabbed at the Sat Nav with the stub of a bookie’s pencil whilst drinking from a bottle of water and starting to take his leather jacket off. And then changing his mind. And putting it back on. And stabbing at the Sat Nav, ad infinitum. 😦 😦 😦

And we made the Avenida and I’m saying ‘it’s over there’ but he drove round it twice and then asked fellow taxi drivers who said, ‘It’s over there,’ I arrived. At a perfectly clean and tidy hotel just off the main Avenue for £34 per night. Value. 🙂

I was tired but I thought I’ve lost my day; let’s go for a walk. So I did and round the corner from the hotel on the way to the Avenida was a ‘Peep Show and Sex Shop’.

I did not go in. I’ve been …….I’ll move on. To the Avenida. Stepping over the homeless in the doorways and telling a man who offered me some white pills that I didn’t want any. The brochure had described this area as ‘young and vibrant’ but I would say ‘seedy’.

I walked down various streets and rejected various offers of ‘try before you buy’ from various hash(ish) sales people. I think if I tried and declined, I would not be here just now. I don’t think I have ever knocked back so much hash in one night in my life (Skippy, that sentence doesn’t seem right…..) but I walked down to the river and I decided I was happy. 🙂

I had a cup of coffee and two custard tarts (nothing to do with the Peep Show next door) and went to bed. Smiling. I was in Lisbon. I had arrived.

Cya, still wearing that badge and defo going for it.

Johnt850 aka Mr Adventurer.

Next week, or maybe mid-week, I will tell you more about the other two days but to a certain extent, I was achieving what I wanted. It has been so long since I ventured abroad that I wanted a kinda practice and I don’t think I’ve ever done it on my own – always with someone or with a group. It was a learning experience.

But my thanks to Son Brian, my sis, e and Dr W for replying to texts so quickly…….they are used to my idiosyncratic ways and are so very patient………..

I also understand why holidays mean so much to people in my line of work. Fresh air – literal and metaphorical.

…at least no-one offered me Red Exodus or Black Mamba….it’s only time.

This is Martha and the Muffins…and the sax solo’s as good as Baker Street.

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