Brazilian Adventure- Day 1 DFW to Rio de Jenerio, Brazil, Ipanema, liters of cerveja

This trip occured in November 2015.

 

Best day to travel is Thanksgiving Day. Zero traffic (most people are at home or waiting in line at a store) and hardly anyone at the airport either. I learned about this one year when my family went to Bermuda for my mom’s birthday. Sometimes it is hard going without turkey and the usual sides, but that just gives you a reason to make a turkey day spread another time.

I was going on this trip with a work friend who was from Brazil. This was his one trip back home for the year, his parents fly to visit him so they rarely went six months without a week or 2 of family time. Joining him was his girlfriend. This was her first big trip outside the US, as it was my 1st trip to S. America,

My itinerary I soon realized was insanely put together as it involved an airport change in New York City. I had figured out there was a bus twice an hour between these airports, but as I strode outside the door, I saw it pull away. I had maybe an hour before my international flight and this was NYC, a city known for traffic. Facing the reality of the situation, I hailed what would be a $40 cab ride. I arrived about 20 minutes to spare. I am not sure if that was any better than my friends 6 hour layover. Why do airlines do this to their customers? These are not cheap tickets either so where is that money going? I also foolishly called to see if I could use my air miles to upgrade to business class. To upgrade my coach seat cost full fare, same cost as my seat! Business class is more expensive than a five-star hotel room.

I texted my friends  after passing security and met up at a bar near the terminal where we spent a few moments talking. I had a beer and then ordered another when they called for boarding. I chugged my beer in several big gulps and walked to the restroom. Best thing I could tell anyone is to use the restroom before you get on a plane, no matter how long the flight. Sliding by people, bumping people walking the aisle, plus that tiny airplane water closet are all the reasons you need to take a trip the loo before you board.

I got a window seat next to 2 brothers in their early 20’s. They introduced themselves to me via handing me a can of Pringle’s. I happily poured a few into my hand and we began talking. They were with a church group, missionaries in a new land spreading the word. They had also taken trips to the Philippines, but this was their firs to Brazil. The family decided to make these mission trips their yearly family vacation. It was a bit cheaper to travel in a group, and they got a place to stay at one of the structures these groups built. They went primarily to rural locations as they were usually a bit safer than in big cities. Of course, being eaten by a bear or something was a very real possibly.

We all settled in and I turned on the TV located in the back headrest in front of me. They have so many movies on planes, it is great, new movies too. I was in the middle of a good one when I realized it was lights out and my two seat neighbors were both fast asleep. What to do? Do I elbow them; try to hop over and between them? I asked this question the entire 9 hour flight as a alternated between naps and movies. I think I watched three on the way down. For sure I saw Ant Man. Finally the sun peaked out and they stirred. I faked yawned and tapped the guy next to me on the shoulder. I have to say this was by far the longest I’ve ever gone without peeing. Next time I am elbowing my neighbor, I was likely harming my body.

We walked down a long hall and were separated by those with Brazil or US passports. The Brazilian line had the most people checking passports so it was faster. Once they finished, they cleared through the US line as there were 15 agents. I joined my friends when I realized it didn’t matter which line so long as you went through and learned how to say thank you in Portuguese, ‘Obrigato.’ I tried this out after a brief interaction with the passport official, a very pretty, dark-haired lady. We were in Brasil!

We walked quite a ways before finding his family near a parking garage. We split up into two cars, his parents and girlfriend in one, his brother and I in another. I soon learned his brother was a very smart guy with several degrees. He was working on a law degree and worked at the Brazilian Mint. He was helpful pointing out different areas and scenic vistas. We snaked around the city en route to our apartment near Ipanema, the famous beach and neighborhood.

We had lucked out and a friend lent us her apartment while she was away visiting her family. I learned that owning multiple apartments was very common here, usually one residence was near a beach and was for the weekend trips. They have their main house in town close to work. My friends family had sevearl residences I would discover, a new place each day. I also learned in Brasil they do not use z, it was spelled Brasil everywhere. I was also able to figure out they typically replaced a z with a j, as in cerveja vs. cerveza.

We arrived to our part of town blocks from the beach where I was told that parking is very hard. We drove around and around before locating a spot. His parents had brought groceries and we packed everything into a fridge. His mom cut up guava for us to eat. It would turn out that every time I saw his parents, they had a new fruit for us. They are great people, fruit bearers!

We walked out to a mall to do a bit of shopping but mainly eat. Just about everywhere we would eat would be buffet style. Everything was weighed and you paid by the ounce each time, a lady would take your check and add the new weights each food trip. These buffets are a great way to try a lot of different foods. Many types of rice and beans, meats, chicken, salads and lots of fruit were at each spot. It all tasted great, but I had no idea what each thing was until I sat down. My friends would fill me in on each item. They all spoke rapidly in Portuguese, catching up, occasionally pointing out someone passing by or the next activity planned. I couldn’t keep up with how fast they talked but it was in a halting, cadence. Very fast clipped words, pause, a word or two, pause, ciao.

We walked around the mall for a bit. It was pretty much like any US mall I’d been to. Clothing stores, shoe stores, food court, music shop. We walked back to the apartment, through a narrow bridge, cars and buses flew by, a bit too close. It was a hot day in the city. I found I usually broke a sweat if I was outdoors. Back at the apartment my friends’ dad showed me a piece of paper and explained the conversion ratio. He picked the high and low and agreed to give me the middle rate between the two so I wouldn’t have to go to a money changer. I readily agreed and we exchanged dollars for Brasilian reals. The money was very ornate and featured animals found in Brasil’s rainforest such as a sea turtle, monkey and bird. We again had a favorable exchange rate, but not like when we were in Mexico, here 1 real equaled, 25¢. 4-1 conversion in our favor, always a good thing.

My friends’ family left after eating some more fruit at our apartment. We decided to walk the beach, see how the area would look at night. It was about three blocks to the beach; this apartment was close to the action! I spied a large bar that I thought about checking out later that night. The night beach scene was always the same: buskers singing songs, people playing futbol or volleyball, couples making out or holding hands as they walked. Nearly everyone was in a bikini or speedo, no matter their fitness level. Brave people, they let literally everything hang out and it didn’t seem to matter.

We returned from our walk and my friends decided to retire early. The apartment wasn’t large, only one room with a bed and big window. I slept on the pullout sofa in the receiving/living room. In-between the master bedroom was a shelf with a TV that we only occasionally turned on. I didn’t hear anything from my friends the entire trip; I hope I didn’t bother them with my late night comings and goings.

On our way back to the apartment I’d saw a small bar that previously wasn’t there. On the ground floor of our apartment building, directly below our window was a tire changing place. The spot next to this was closed during the day with metal doors, opened at around ten every night as a bar. A very small bar, maybe six seats at the inside bar, out front were four tables. If you indicated you wanted to sit, a lady brought out a chair. This place was run totally by one pretty lady with long black hair. She retrieved liter bottles of beer, Antarctica, and served them with a small glass cup, holding maybe eight ounces. The tall bottles of beer were nestled within a chilled vessel that perspired leaving a small pool on the table. Drink pour drink pour until you finished your liter.

There were several couples out front, laughing, smoking, and dancing with each other, by themselves or passersby’s. The music was provided by a nearby video on demand TV. You gave the lady a few real, scrolled through a sizable list of videos and she would play whatever you wanted. I was tired but it was the too tired to sleep excited tired. I wanted, needed to sleep but I knew I would just lay there, thinking about what had just happened, what I was going to do for the week. I had to totally unplug and best way to do that was to sit and have a beer. When you purchased something here they told you the total in Portuguese and showed you a calculator so you always knew how much everything cost.

I returned to my seat and ordered another liter of Antarctica beer. I watched the ladies dance while I drank, pouring cup after cup. I caught the moon in-between buildings and smiled. I’d wanted to visit Rio since seeing Fletch with prime Chevy Chase, specifically the end scene of him walking with his new lady on the very same beach I was now mere blocks from. I finished my liter and paid my tab. I was immediately stopped by one of the pretty ladies who asked me if I spoke American. I did and she took me into her arms.

I have a place nearby, with marijuana and good times, let’s go!’ she purred.

Well damnation I was hanging out at a prostitute bar! The ladies had rooms in the building as they needed a place to take their clients after meeting them at bar downstairs. I smiled at her and thanked her for her offer but I had to decline. I would be back I told her, maybe later that week. She hugged me and I walked away. Just about as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was fast asleep.

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Trip to Mexico Dia 4 Mexico City to Guadalajara, mercado, schwarma

This trip occurred in 2014. I had written these posts a long time ago on a different computer which I just gained access to again.  I hope you enjoy Mexico as much as we did. It is a wonderful place to visit and live. 

 

It was still dark when we checked out at the front desk. In the same spot near the cathedral the souvenir sellers and shaman were setting up. They were more into the mystical side of Catholicism here. I saw people’s arms outstretched like Christ while another person waved burning leaves all around them, enveloping everyone around with smoke. Words were chanted and souls were absolved. Baptism by smoke was an option here. The sun slowly peaked through the buildings casting an ominous mood on the activities as the light was refracted by the smoke.

 

We had left so early, we had to wait for the train station to open. We were not alone, many homeless and merchants meandered out front of the metal gate until it opened. Everywhere you went, especially trains or buses, people were selling candy, pencil sharpeners, most everything you could think of. I didn’t fully understand this until we popped into a store; the lines were at least 10 people deep. There is definitely no such thing as a quick trip to any store so everyone had to put up with a barrage of sales pitches wherever they went. If you wanted gum or candy to quiet a screaming kid, you got those types of items on the trip to work or home.

It was a short flight to Guadalajara, maybe an hour. There weren’t too many people on the plane or at the airport. I was again amazed at how big Mexico City was as we flew over for over and there was buildings, houses as far as you could see in any directions. The City was surrounded by mountains and even had a small one in the middle, one of the few places that weren’t covered by buildings in the City. Most of these smaller mountains did have radio towers so they tried to build everywhere.

There were more mountains around Guadalajara, but a lot less buildings. It seemed very much like a small, college town. Less people, less traffic, less rush were all evident as soon as we hopped into our taxi. We were en route to Tequila Backpackers hostel, a place that was the most highest rated online and had an intriguing name. Upon check in, a friendly guy came over and poured me a shot of tequila, my friends abstained. He said that they made this tequila out back, it was their house blend. This place was very nice; it was a former residence for a large family, so everyone got their own room. There were a few rooms adjacent to an open courtyard where people were already drinking and swaying in hammocks. It was before noon. Our room had two beds, a wardrobe and TV. A large window looked towards the courtyard and lit up the room. I got a bed as I found the room while my friends shared the other bed.

We walked down the street after settling in our new room. We were going to check out another cathedral and then meet up with some other friends who were staying in the city. It was about 30 minute walk straight down the street in front of our hostel to the square. Once we arrived, I noticed that the cathedral grounds had a lot of performers so I skipped checking out the inside of another cathedral. Whenever I traveled, I usually found a square with people performing, tumblers you could say. They flipped, somersaulted, and generally nearly face planted as often as they could for 10 minutes or so. There was usually a main guy who announced each performer and most importantly, passed around a hat for tips. There was also a sound guy who controlled a large boom box. There was always one really good guy who did the most stunts along with a couple others who would just do basic tricks. They took turns until the really talented guy got tired, and everyone applauded as a hat made the rounds for tips.

We met a couple friends in the square and quickly agreed to go with them to a huge shopping area. It was like a mall, but without walls. In fact, the amazing thing about this place was everything was handmade, sewn. We found a cooking stall where we were told to get a torta ahogada, a sandwich covered in sauce. What was surprising is that the red sauce was hot, but more like an Italian sauce with oregano, sage, not cumin or cilantro. You eat it with a spoon as the sauce makes the bread pleasantly soft.

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It tasted very good and was just the right size for a snack. We walked all over the large, two story market, passing your standard Mexican foods to sushi prepared by Japanese guys. There were many souvenir shops selling magnets, shot glasses and other Mexican items. There were many clothing shops, bag shops, hat shops, all filled with hand sewn items. I picked up a small hand bag as I’ve found all my pockets full of various items accumulated walking around all day when I travel.

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Our new friends were in route to a futbol game so we parted ways but promised to meet up later that evening for beers. We wandered back to the cathedral, the plaza de armas. There we watched a local symphony play against street performers. They did what they could during the quiet sections as the ever present boom box pumped out beats. The scene was an interesting mash up of strings in one ear, bass in the other, which we could only endure for so long. Plus there were many older people around trying to watch the symphony so we gave up our seats to them and moved on.

My friends communicated used a voice mail like system, speaking in rapid Spanish or Portuguese to each other in different countries. My friend received a message to meet later at a real British style pub a couple blocks in the other direction from our hostel. It was pretty authentic pub, nearly everything on draught was English, but they still had a fair selection of Mexican beers. When traveling, I enjoy tasting local beers to gain an idea of local flavors. In this part of México it seemed darker, amber ales were more prevalent than the lighter pilsners. Surprisingly I saw Corona everywhere whilst in Mexico and for some reason I thought it was a US beer they just built a brewery in Mexico just so they could label it as an import. Corona was everywhere the difference here was I saw it quart sizes usually, they drank quantity down here.

We drank many beers, even my friends who normally don’t drink had a couple. We soon wound up at a place that had Mexican schwarma! It was exactly as I’d seen in Europe: a large leg of beef or pork was slowly spinning around heat making a crust on the meat. We each ordered a plate mixed with vegetables, I elected to get cheese on mine. This would be the only thing I ate with cheese during the whole trip. You can get just a cheese taco, quesadilla, but cheese isn’t seen as a topping, more of a main ingredient. Aside from the torta I ate earlier in the day, this was the best thing I ate in Mexico. It was a perfect end to a very long day as we staggered back to the hostel, full of beer, schwarma and joy.

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Dream trip Day 130 Flight to Reykjavik, Boston, Bukowski Bar

Don’t you hate it when you wake up a few minutes before your alarm is due to ring? What do you do with those free moments? Go back to sleep? Get up?

I got up. I had all ready packed, all set there, just strapped my backpack and side bag over my shoulder.

Typically I used Uber overseas, it was a bit more reliable vs Lyft but I did ride with both at some point on my trip.

A driver selected me so I waited. I waited more, his car didn’t move. Over 4 minutes they sat in the same place

WTH man. So a quick search revealed my journey was less than a mile, no one wanted to do a short run like that.

I still felt I had time so I canceled this ride and requested another. And another driver sat in his spot for a couple of minutes before I had to cancel again.

Finally after calling 3x, a car shows up, a friendly chap is behind the wheel.

I made it through security with plenty of time to make the gate before boarding. Of course I carried everything, the checked luggage lines were always very long.

Be sure to always carry a pen in your bag. Borrow one from your airline, hotel, dr office, toss it into your bag and forget about it.

You’ll always need a pen for filling out the documents to get into the country.

Our first leg was only to Iceland, so perhaps just over an hour or maybe 2. A breeze.

Then we landed in Reykjavik where we deplaned 60’s style out onto the tarmac, into the terminal, directly onto another plane. We waited for 10 minutes or something.

We were informed a few times that the Aurora Borealis viewing was perfect, just stop by a desk in the terminal and they would change your reservation.

Really the changing of planes is a waste of time but hey cheap tickets. I knew I was coming back, I just had to do it right, get a car, drive all around the coast was my plan. Over a week.

Another take off and landing, perhaps 3 hours, not too bad. Enough for a bit of shut-eye, just meditated with my eyes closed. Tried to get into the music.

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I turned my slip of paper to the TSA guy who had me put both bags through another X-ray machine.

Soon I had to do the awkward take a photo of yourself, swipe your passport and hope they let you through.

The certified traveler option seems great, hardly a line. Yet it is the finger printing that really bothers me. Like I’m a criminal, they need my fingerprints.

I don’t have anything to hide true, so why not take my side as a US citizen vs presuming I may or will commit a crime where fingerprints are necessary?

I was fearful for an inquisition due to how long I’d been gone but no, a single question then the border guard told me,

‘Get in here, we’ve been waiting on yas.’ I was home, back in the US of A!!

Boston man, let me tell you about a city. I dig Boston, a whole lot. It is great. Bill Burr says Boston is like San Francisco except racist and homophobic.

I was so excited to find a hostel near the prestigious Berklee College of Music, one of the top music schools in the US if not the world.

At least I could check in thanks to the wasted time on that layover. I located a free bus into town where I had to transfer to another streetcar line.

We had nearly crested over the pass to merge onto the highway when police sirens blared every car to a grinding halt. For over half an hour.

All that for Hillery Clinton’s entourage of blacked out SUVs. Heard it over the bus driver’s radio, ‘Remain at attention for Sec Clinton.’

Man if that don’t tell you what is wrong with our political system I don’t know what else you need to know.

How can you lead a group of people when you don’t know what traffic is? Where everything takes 15 minutes to get to because you have an escort, all the lights turn green? Ruling class now officially.

I just laughed, whatever. I knew who I was voting for. Look Democrat Republican Green Party etc, they are all out for someone’s $$ not your support. Only your vote then they get to collect $$.

To my delight once I arrived at my stop, I was in the midst of free piano month. For the entire month of September the city had placed several pianos for people to play, free.

One of these pianos was in front of a coffee shop next to my hostel. Score!

School had just left out so I procured a cup and pulled up a seat while a couple of kids took turns playing amazing piano pieces.

The cool sea breeze was blowing. Cars blared their horns, people yelled. A lot.

I had spied a noodle house near the corner so that was my dinner of choice.  A steaming bowl of noodles in broth will bring most anyone back to life.

I checked in and headed to a place I had tried to go the last time I was in Boston, about 3 years ago my family went to a Sox game.

Bukowski Bar was near my hostel just a few blocks walk. I encourage you to read anything by Charles Bukowski you can get your eyes on. One of my fav authors.

Fortunately there was a 7-11 on the way, I get to use ATMs for free at stores thanks to my little credit union.

It turned out the bar I went to is cash only. Good beer selection, the ballgame on, good times. Another round bartender.

A nice night to walk home in the crisp Boston air.

Beer  Sam Adams Boston Lager

Song  Paul Simon   Homeward Bound

 

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Dream trip Day 92 Plane, bus, hello Edinburgh, hello UK

Travel day yet again! Counting all the flights, this would make lucky 7:

DFW to London

Bordeaux to Lisbon

Porto to Madrid

Barcelona to Brussels

Brussels to Barcelona

Barcelona to Budapest

I flew easyJet, Ryanair whatever was cheapest, really. I knew having a backpack and a satchel, both qualified for carry on. So no surprise fees as long as you remember to eat  and fill up your water bottle before boarding.

I mainly used skyscanner a site that shows you the daily flight costs for any route out of any airport by month. I had the luxury of waiting for the cheapest week or day for a flight to my destination.

I’d also check flights on hipmunk where you can select flights based on agony, or a combination of transfers,  flight time, layovers etc.

Edinburgh came up really cheap from Warsaw. I think the flight was really just had a layover in Edinburgh en route to London.

I’d also taken into account hostel check out time this trip so I wouldn’t walk around aimlessly for a couple of hours.

I had time to pack up and hit up the corner coffee shop one last time. Free wi-fi, too. Had to update my family so they’d know where I was, so I dropped them an email with pics.

This was my last chance for moderately priced food as well so I picked up a sandwich and apple for the trip.

I opened my Uber app and had a car take me to the airport. It was accessible via public transportation. 2 buses and at least an hour, mainly waiting on the transfer bus to the airport.

Only 20 min via car so why not go out in style?

The Warsaw airport was a bit confusing, it had a lot of gates, over 50, but for some reason the block to my flight wasn’t along the main walking route.

My routine is to walk as far as I can throughout the terminal before boarding, in an effort to tire myself out a bit as well as explore airports.

It was down to about 15 min before my board time before I realized I may not find my gate in time.

One more pass and there it was, down a hall and some steps, to the basement, were 10 other terminals for smaller flights, I guess.

Not sure why they did it different, but I was happy to see it was going to be a pretty empty flight.

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I selected an empty row and was rewarded by a guy who sat along the aisle, no one in the middle. Score!

No close inspections on my entry date. Nor when I landed in Scotland. I correctly stated I was ultimately en route to Dublin, but I had to see Scotland, since it was along the way and all.

The passport girl smiled, “You’ll luv it here. Welcome to Scotland!” She stamped my passport and waved me through.  I was the UK’s problem now.

Luckily I still had some £ in my bag so I was able to afford the bus from airport to my hostel.

It was raining here too! Confounded rain, always following me!

I understood people here! English and with great accents, too.

Our bus turned and stopped, people got in, people go off. No matter if I remembered the name of my stop, I compulsively checked my map app to once again verify. Like, 10x while the bus was rolling.

My stop was doubly easier as it was also the final stop so I don’t know why I was so concerned about missing it.

Bonus: my hostel was maybe 2 blocks from the bus stop, something I didn’t plan for but due to sprinkling rain, I was quite happy about.

It was cold, actually cold here, even with my long sleeve shirt and raincoat on. I was going to have to do some shopping.

I was warmly greeted by the hostel receptionist who had dreads wrapped up like a crown on her head.

No one in my room but I do see bags. I’d see them later.

My hostel was next to a pub so I decided that was best option to end the evening. I am not sure why travel, flying makes you so tired, but it does.

A couple pints, light conversation with a few people asking for another pub. At least I understood them though I couldn’t help.

Hearing different languages does mess with your mind a bit. It takes some time to adjust but then you start picking out a word or phrases soon.

It’s strange, I don’t know any languages well, but hearing a couple of words, context, tenor of the conversation I was able to figure out the gist of what people were talking about in each country.

Conversation is the same wherever you go: weather, girl problems, funny story, what’s up with our government?

I finished my pint just as the rain began the fall harder. Night rain is the best rain and best way to fall asleep.

 

Beer: Edinburgh Gold

Song: Mogwai   Travel is Dangerous

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Dream Trip Day 35   Porto to Madrid, Spain by plane

Our flight was at 9, so we had to wake up early, after the biggest party night of the year in Porto, too! Rough going.

As we walked onto the train, we saw many people just arriving after a night of partying down by the river. It’s 730am.

On the metro we encountered two guys, still very drunk, still bopping people on the head even though both activities are way over.

One continues to bop a girl trying to sleep across from them. First couple times she laughs, then flashes the death glare and she moves seats.

No issues at airport, just standard bullshit of arriving early just to wait for a delayed plane with no compensation from airlines.

It’s a short hour and half flight, which we sleep the whole way.

Arrive to Madrid Bajas airport and I flash back to my first euro trip years ago when I got lost trying to find the way out.

This time like a champ I lead us through a couple transfers to the Sol stop.

It’s hot hot, like 90 when we get out. No ocean breeze to cool us down.

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Si and Jeremy stop in to cell store to get SIM cards for Espana.

I text our Airbnb host to let him know we are near. He responds in Spanish that he doesn’t speak English. Damn.

We walk down a Main Street for a bit until we reach the area of our apt.

I call our host and see him waving across the street. We have arrived.

He walks us upstairs to our room, taking in Spanish. I get most of what he is saying.

He manages to say in English, ‘Do you drink? Alcohol?’ We all say yes, si.

He opens the fridge and pulls out a large bottle of a locally made wine spritzer. Tastes like red wine and Sprite.

‘Salud,’ he says after pouring us each a large glass. ‘Is local favorite sabor, toma!’

We set up in a small room, next to ours is another couple renting, out host is in a third room.

You know this guy is banking, renting out two rooms all the time. He is never there, we don’t seem him for the rest of our time in the city.

We are hungry so we walk the area, Si decides ramen, it’s 90 so why not hot soup ?

A new ramen spot just opened so we pop in.

I am totally ruined on ramen having eaten at Ten Ramen in Dallas, run by a Japanese guy to Japan standards. Ate there about every other week.

I select the kids or taster portion of ramen.

Jeremy tries to convey he is vegetarian but she thinks he is vegan, 100% vegetarian? This has egg, is ok?

He gives me his chicken goyza dumplings which comes with his meal.

Sure enough, broth, noodles are not very good and I’m happy I only have a small bowl but with the dumplings I’m satiated.

We walk down street in front of our apt, which is also a main thoroughfare, towards the royal palace.

We walk around the palatial estate, most of which is behind a metal fence.


I notice that on one side there should be a good view of the city.

Haha area is under construction and it’s boarded up, but they have cut a small section at eye level that merely shows you another small section leading up to concrete wall that does have a view.

You have a view of an area with a city view but no actual view. Fuck you Madrid, why can’t we see your city ?! Oh right, all about € as you can get a view if you pay for palace tour.

It’s hot so we walk back to apt and locate bar near Mercado.

I had forgotten they serve crisps, chips with beer. I also forgot how the waiters virtually ignore you should you want something else or chip refill.

I search for activities and find bullfighting arena. No one is interested especially when I reveal its 40€ a ticket.

Si says, ‘maybe if we get free bull tacos. I want to eat the loser.’

A quick search reveals they donate bull meat to orphanages. In Mexico I read they sell cheap bull tacos after a match.

We attempt to navigate the open mercado, but it is way too packed. Shoulder to shoulder the whole way through.

Interesting market, fresh seafood, baked goods, paella, and ham are all out on display.

I locate the church of Madrid, oldest one in town so we walk over.

It’s oldest, not most beautiful, ornate etc. just a reasonable house of worship for a change.

Back to the royal plaza for a beer, it is pretty expensive so we get one and done.

Hungry now and it seems everyone wants a table outside, plus they eat late, after 9.

We passed by a local rally of some sort, I see rainbow flags so presume its a gay rights rally. Man speaking uses bullhorn so it seems much more old style protest.

We are near the Mercado and find an outside seat with a light breeze and good people watching.

My first encounter with Jeremy’s soon to be dinner staple, potatoes bravas and grilled peppers.

I try a pepper and while it smells spicy, it isn’t, a bit salty and resembles okra taste.

Bravas is sauce on potatoes and other Spanish items, creamy with mild to medium heat red pepper sauce.

These would be his go to items to eat for the next week as Spain is home to ham or seafood and he doesn’t eat either.

We meander around as we think we located a cool punk bar but it doesn’t look open and website reads it’s a late night bar only open after 11.

There is some sort of live music, dance going on near that we hear pretty clearly a few blocks away so we check it out for a moment.

Lots of floral colors and big dresses on the ladies as they twirl.

Band plays semi mariachi style but different with accordion and no horns.

We watch awhile then back to the punk bar, still looks closed so I give the door a push, ah yet another door and we are in.

Small place with long bar to one side, a few people standing at mirror wall across from the bar making it hard to navigate ordering a beer and walking to a table as you have to block the way when ordering a beer behind those hanging in front of the bar.

I get three drafts, looks like Estrella and somehow manage to not drop or spill them.

What’s strange about the bottleneck at the bar is the place opens up with tables, DJ booth and later we realize another separate room.

Beer is cheap, music is good, not too crowded.

Behind us is TV showing a live Queen DVD. The whole night they alternate between live DVDs and videos, only 80’s music, all styles.

The DJ keeps checking on us as we seem to be the only ones listening. Thumbs up!

Jeremy comes back from the bar but without beers. The bartendress arrives with a tray of beer and three small shots. Guess they like us here.

It’s late and been a long day so back to the apt.

My Airbnb selections suck, only 2 beds so I stake out a small spot and use the ample heavy bedding as a bed on the floor.

Why we had large winter blankets when it was super hot I don’t know but they made a nice, comfy bed.

Beer: Estrella Galacia
Song: Queen   Mustapha

Dream Trip Day 27   Bordeaux to Lisboa, Portugal by plane, finally sun

My flight was at noon so we left around 10. Eric has a cool small car and Snoop hops in the back taking up the whole backseat, always painting always happy!

Said goodbye to Eric and Snoop. Thanked him for cooking, room and hospitality.

Flight was in small, unfinished part of airport, hence the cost savings.

Goodbye sunscreen, thanks security.

Boarded on tarmac, ladders on front and back of plane.

Of course it rained, of course people inside took their time so I and many others got soaked despite stewards pleas to hurry as it wasn’t full flight, just get out of the aisle.

Thought it was a 2 hr flight but we lost an hour so really 3 hrs in the air.

Easy navigation to hostel via bus. Difficult to locate door to hostel however. Walked around the block twice before I found it.

Simple check in, huge room with many bunks, I’m on top per usual.

Set out to see ocean, only a few blocks away.

Stare at the sea and feel sun, cool breeze for the first time in a week.

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Men walk around selling sunglasses, marijuana, hashish, cocaine.

I was asked about 10 times to buy drugs before I left the seaport. I was there an hour.

The hostel posted a sign saying don’t buy street drugs as they are fake and it isn’t a crime to sell anything not illegal so cops do not stop them.

There is a large euro zone fan screen area nearby. I get a beer and watch a boring game until the half and people watch.

In search of food but it’s all either expensive or tapas which wind up being expensive as you’ve got to order many plates.

Settle on doner and once again it does not disappoint.

Back to hostel as sun sets to shower.

2€ bottles so I drink several on a narrow balcony, only wide enough to stand, 2 ppl max.

Hostel has guitars so I strum chords for a while and miss playing mine but yet when I was at home with guitar next to me I rarely played.

Loudest snorer ever in my dorm. A lady actually wakes him up  in the middle of the night and says, ‘please turn over. You’re snoring.’

Beer: Super Bock

Song: Edith Piaf La Vie en Rose