last week when it was super hot we went to the aquarium, it’s here. it was the perfect way to get out of the heat and hang out with the fish. the aquarium is awesome (apparently one of the best in the world?). i was waiting for the shark to eat someone, but it didn’t.
tomorrow we move into our next apartment. all of our stuff goes down 3 flights and back up to the 5th story, via stairs, via our feet.
here is a link to new photos on flickr: new photos
(apparently it’s legal to drive 4-wheelers in the city with a sport coat and a tie. this isn’t the only time i’ve seen it done.)
we’ve been here for one month now. the first 2 weeks seemed like 2 months and the second 2 weeks flew by in 2 days. this is my last week of portuguese classes. i’ve been going mon-fri from 10-12 for the last 3 weeks, and while i still can’t really speak portuguese, i can read it much better, have a better vocabulary, and can string together a simple sentence. the only problem with being able to fumble through a sentence is that the answer will be in portuguese, and if it’s not yes, no, or pointing in a direction, i often have trouble understanding.
this week we move into a new apartment. it’s 3 blocks up on the same street, and we will have the option to rent it for the whole year if we like it. for the move we are planning on having a taxi drive us 3 blocks up the street with all of our stuff. depending on what kind of car the taxi driver has, i think we can make it in 2 or 3 trips. the only catch is that the street is narrow and one way. so while we are loading/unloading all of the cars will have to wait behind us.
it’s been hot here. today it’s supposed to reach 38. thats 100.4 deg fahrenheit. our apartment doesn’t have air conditioning, but it’s got these vertical metal shutters outside that unroll from the top of the window all the way to the floor. so when the sun starts to shine in, you have to put yourself in jail to keep the heat out.
yesterday it poured for about 15 minutes. i had just come home from lunch because it had started to rain on me, and once i got inside it really came down. i made sure all of the windows were closed – and then it started to rain in the living room.
when we moved in we had noticed cracks in the ceiling, and chalked it up to being in the old country. but it turns out that those cracks turn into faucets when it rains hard.
i was able to move the furniture, find a bucket, and contain the water with towels. so, to relax while watching the ceiling rain, i turned on the tv. the tv that we’ve got here has, what i’m guessing is, very basic cable, or some sort of foreigner package, because it has the oddest assortment of channels. it’s got poker tv, russian news, hong kong news, a fashion channel that only has runway models 24-7, and my friend bloomberg uk . bloomberg is my friend because he’s the one that speaks english to me. i hang out with him despite how extremely boring he can be.
my friend, bloomberg, and all of his odd friends including the poker channel, died as i was watching the rain come down from the ceiling. i’m pretty sure the flooded walls drowned my friend in the box.
ps. and hulu, along with all of the other american tv online websites, block people outside the us from watching.
wednesday was a national holiday, so we went to sintra, which is 20 miles from lisbon, to explore and check out a castle. here are photos from our trip.
being up on the castle walls was surreal. for example, when they were up there guarding, if they got attacked, how did they fight back? not guns, right? bow and arrow? canons? Trebuchet? stones? dirt throwing? europe is really old.
the past few days we’ve been sampling different portuguese restaurants. we try to hit places where the locals eat, but there’s one downside – all the menus are in portuguese, and my iphone google translate isn’t smart enough to translate specific fish names. so i roll the dice and order a random fish off of the fresh list. (the one above is a robalo)
so far i’m 3 for 3 and alive to tell about it. although, since i dont have the de-boning skills that the local diners seem to have i end up with a lot of fish bones in my mouth. the fish always comes whole unless you order a large fish which they don’t seem to eat here too often.
also, this week is a national holiday here in portugal. it’s sort of like the 4th of july, but instead of grilling hot dogs they grill sardines everywhere. every restaurant in lisbon has a charcoal grill out in the street and little grandmas are grilling sardines. the other night we sat next to people eating them and took notes on how to dissect the fish, so one of these nights we will have to try them. also, when i think sardine i picture a small tin w/ little slivers of fish, but the sardines here are about 6 inches long and about an inch think.
above is a photo of the outside of our temporary apartment in bairro alto. we live on the 3rd floor (not visible in this photo). bairro alto is a historic district, but it’s also the nightlife district so there’s a lot of graffiti. 90% of it are tags like these, but around a few corners there are some interesting stencils and other street art.
i’ve uploaded some more photos. you can see them here.
also, today my iphone became a portuguese resident and now has a 9 digit phone number.