team surf

Posted: July 31st, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

euro_surf

i’ve made a few friends here in lisbon that i go surfing with. they go often and the beach is close, so i have been out a lot lately.

no one here seems to have roof racks on their cars, so they just strap the boards to the roof of the car and head to the beach. it actually works pretty well. 

one of the guys has a smart 2 seat car, and we just strap them to the top of his car too. the first time we got on the freeway i thought the wheels were going to lift off the ground.

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tour de france

Posted: July 30th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

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last weekend we went to france to watch the final battle on mt ventoux. we flew to lyon, then drove 3 hours south to the region of provence. on friday we intersected the tour in a small town (roybon) and watched them all pass by as french families from that area had picnics on the side of the road.

then that night when we were having dinner (provence is known for their food and they live up to the expectations) we ended up talking to the french couple next to us (e speaks french) and told them that we were going to watch the tour tomorrow on mt ventoux. they said that the main road was closed the night before because there are already so many people on it, so the next morning we got up at 6 to drive up a different road that intersects the race route 6 kms from the top (the climb is around 20 kms). we were able to squeeze our tiny rental car (fiat 500) into a leftover void space only 4kms from the intersection of the race route. so then we walked up the road w/ everybody and their grandmothers to the intersection of the race, and then met up with the cousins, uncles, nephews, dogs, elvis, dutch, spanish etc. the mountain was packed with people.

then we waited and tried to decide the best place to watch the race. we settled on a spot about 5kms from the top where there was a steeper section of the road hoping that this would inspire attacks, more painful faces, or at least cause them to ride more slowly. then we waited at that spot longer.

finally the caravan (the parade of promotional car-like vehicles advertising their products and throwing out chotchkies) started to arrive, and about an hour later the first riders of the breakaway, the yellow jersey group where we saw the 2nd place rider unsuccessfully attack the yellow jersey group including lance armstrong. then there were more riders to come, the guys just trying to finish the stage, everyone cheered for them. this happened for about 20 more minutes, and then the final group of sprinters and teammates rolled through and it was over.

but since there were 500,000 people on the mountain, leaving was even harder than getting there. everyone wanted to leave at the same time and the only way out was a narrow little mountain pass. the cars weren’t going anywhere and the bikes weren’t making much progress either, everyone was just packed onto this little road all inching forward for miles and miles. it was kind of a joke.

and thats it. we made it to our little car and inched down the road in the car and finally emerged on a road without so many people and we drove home after a long day. i’ll post more of my photos later.


mini

Posted: July 23rd, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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the portuguese are obsessed with small things: small cars, little juices, tiny yogurt containers, small restaurant bathrooms, small shops, small milk cartons, etc. above is an example. on the right, a normal-size bottle of beer, and on the left, a mini bottle of beer. the minis seem to be really popular, but they are really small and you end up with a lot of bottles that you have to recycle. they claim that the minis are good because you always have it nice and fresh.


view from our treehouse

Posted: July 22nd, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

3746054490_b4c72bc291_owe’ve decided to stay in our current apartment for the year that we’re here. the apartment itself is really nice, the neighborhood is on a hill, and it’s on the 5th floor (walk-up). this means that we’ve got some views from our apartment.

here are a few photos from our treehouse.


On the bus

Posted: July 19th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Currently we are taking a bus to a place called sesimbra. We got on the bus 1 hour ago, drove 4 miles, heard a horn honk and we stopped. Apparently the horn was the sound of us getting in an accident. We were going about 3 mph when it honked, then we stopped, and the driver put on a florescent yellow vest and went outside with his papers. I went to see what happened, and all I could see was a little delivery truck parked in the middle of traffic with no visible damage and its driver wearing a matching vest.

Update: after about an hour and a half of waiting, we decided to ditch the bus and do something else. We will have to visit sesimbra another day.

Also, the whole time we were stopped on the bus the sign in the photo below was right outside our window… No cows? No horse drawn carts? what? you have to turn right if you’re herding cattle or traveling on the oregon trail.


madrid airport

Posted: July 18th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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is the coolest airport that i’ve been to. here are a few photos of it.


motherlode

Posted: July 15th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

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today i found the motherlode of all grocery stores in lisbon. it’s located in a mall out by the big soccer stadium (benfica). most grocery stores that we’ve been to are pretty small, have hotdogs in jars, a few different types of cheeses, some cereal, potato chips, the 2 national beers, narrow aisles, and that’s kind of it.

but this one is super american style. the aisles are wide enough to drive a (european) car down and there are many different choices for hot dogs in jars. 

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my personal favorite aisle is the one that has nothing but chocolate cereals. it’s double the length of the photo, all chocolate cereals. i didn’t get any but i may have to try one some day. 

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(photos from my phone)


madrid part 1

Posted: July 14th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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madrid is a cool city. we took a quick 2 day trip there over the weekend, and despite the oven-like temperatures we really enjoyed it. it’s an old city, but it feels modern and cosmopolitan. we only had a day to explore, so there’s a lot that we didn’t see, but what we did see was cool. also, they eat really late too which works out well for tapas action when your plane arrives late at night. the spanish accent is really hard to get used to. it’s like they force a lisp and say gra-theee-us instead of the north american gra-see-us.

here are some photos from madrid.


madrid part 2

Posted: July 14th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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the reason we went to madrid was to obtain e’s visa from the embassy, so on monday morning we got up early and arrived at the portuguese embassy at 8:30 am, 30 mins before they open (we were the 2nd people there). At 9:20 they called us up to the desk, e gave them her passport and photo, then they told us it would take an hour or two to print the visa and we should come back at 11 to pick it up. so we left, came back at 10:45 and checked in with them. they told us (in Portuguese, because no one at the office speaks english) that it will be a bit longer. so we wait. we check in some more. we wait some more and then we find out that the machine is broken and they are trying to fix it. I’m guessing that they are talking about the printer. we start to worry because the office is closing soon (at 2pm) and we have to go to the airport to fly back to lisbon later in the day.

finally we ask if they can do it by hand and the woman that works there, who is the meanest person in the world, goes back into their magic room and comes out with e’s passport and the visa filled out by hand and stamped. perfect, except they spelled her name wrong, only allowed her 2 entries into the country, and issued the visa for 120 days instead of one year. so now we are on the plane flying back to Lisbon with a visa. We are going to try to get the details straightened out in lisbon.

madrid is a really nice city though.


man down

Posted: July 11th, 2009 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

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above is the first casualty of drying our clothes in the style of the old world. you can see my black sock on the roof below, i’m sure it won’t be the last. they don’t have clothes dryers here, so every weekend little old portuguese grandmas and young people all hoist their flags of sheets, socks and red underwear. 

we’ve been busy the last few weeks with moving, working and visitors. during that time the things that seemed very foreign to us when we arrived have started to feel a bit more normal.

in a few hours we are flying to madrid so we can pick up e’s work visa on monday morning. once we have the work visa it can be exchanged for a residence card here which will make us real (temporary) citizens of portugal. which means we can finally get a car.