Thursday, October 02, 2003

Where was I?

Okay, I have 3 stories to tell you about my trip (there may be more floating around in my head, but there are definitely 3).

Since we spent all day on Thursday with the taxi driver and my boss. Hub and I spent all day Friday just the 2 of us. I love my husband - really I do, but I am convinced that we should never spend more than 24 consecutive hours together. It's just not healthy. I get snippy if I'm with anyone for more than 24 hours and with someone who knows how to push my buttons, I get downright bitchy.

Friday morning was fine. He had made it his personal quest that we find yarn in Lisbon. The woman at our hotel told us to either go up to the mall Centro Comercial Amoreiras or go down to the old part of the city, "I'm sure there's something down there." We head downhill toward the old part of the city and just drifted for quite a while. We sat in a cafe for a bit and Hub's day was made when a guy came up and offered him a Rolex "cheeeep." I had the best chocolate croissant in the world and we continued on.

I was amazed to see all the fabric shops in Lisbon. My theory is that since clothing is so inexpensive, maybe you can have something made for you and pay just a little more than buying something off the rack. Anyway, we went into one of the fabric shops to ask about yarn. I had a ball tucked into my little bag and whipped it out when the counter man came over to me (I still haven't figured out what the Portugese word for yarn is). The man smiled very big and said, "Up next street, go left. Go left," and he pointed to the left (natch).

So, up next street we go and then left. The shop was a little sewing notions place. They had every color of elastic in every width I could imagine. Their yarn selection included a 2 foot x 1 foot glass enclosed case that had acrylic baby yarn in 4 colors (green, yellow, white, and blue). I came out of the shop and Hub said, "Nothing, huh?" At this point, I had given up and we just wandered. Then I saw it, across the street in a HUGE storefront there was yarn. Hub said, "Wow, they even have skeins in the window!"

This was the biggest shop of any kind I had seen in all of Lisbon. They had floor to ceiling shelves full of yarn, plus big bags in the center of the shop. I went around putting my hands in every bag. When I had finally decided what color to buy, I approached the counter with my tentative, "Do you speak English?" The elderly lady shook her head and said something to the effect of "What can I do for you?" I pointed to the yarn I had picked out and asked how much. She pointed to one of the signs on the board above the yarn - get this - 7.50 Euros per kilo!!

When I ask what it was, she holds up six fingers and says "Seeex la [wool] and four acreeeleec." Which I take to mean 60% wool and 40% acrylic. I ask "how much for a sweater?" She points to a spot on her hip bone and asks "about this long?" I nod and she holds up 3 and then 4 fingers and waves her hand around a little. So I pull out 4 skeins and pile them on the counter, pay my 7.50 and tell her obrigado and she smiles a big smile and says "tank you!" The whole thing made me feel good and Hub was relieved that he didn't have to be on yarn patrol any more.

So, I ask you, why did he turn into walking Nazi that very afternoon? He decides that he wants to go up to the Amoreiras after all. It was uphill from our hotel, and it's a mall - I DID NOT want to go. Since he had humored me, I was ready to humor him - so we walk uphill. And guess what - it's a mall. It could be in any city in any country in the world, complete with the McDonald's and a couple of tacky gag gift-type stores. He hates malls and pretty much as soon as we are in the place, he wants to leave.

So then he decides that we need to walk down to the waterfront because he had seen an English pub that he thought might be a cool place to go. Does he know which way he's going? Does it matter at all to him that I'm wearing my sandals and not my comfy sneakers? Have I mentioned that he NEVER turns around when he's lost, but continues to drive in the lost direction? Are you feeling my pain yet? After 2 hours of wandering around this city, I'm tired and cranky. We are in the residential areas and very clearly out of our element. (I'm convinced there's a network of "menacing old ladies" who monitor everyone who comes into and goes out of their neighborhoods and when you leave their sight, they call the menacing old lady on the next block so she can keep track of you too.)

I'm getting slower and slower and eventually I step up onto a curb without realizing there's something slippery on this curb. As I'm shifting my weight from right foot to left foot, my left foot slips on the grease. This causes me to stub my right big toe on the cement curb HARD (I did mention I'm wearing sandals right?). What does Hub do? He says, "Keep walking, it won't hurt as much when you're walking." I'm standing on a street corner in a foreign city blinking back tears and he says, "Keep walking." The weirdest part is, I keep walking (I didn't start having homicidal thoughts until later).

He finally decides (about 1/2 hour later) that he's found a suitable restaurant and we can stop walking. (I'd like to take this moment to point out that we did not eat at the English pub because once we got there, he decided it didn't look as cool as he had originally thought.) I go in and immediately order Sangria and water and dont' speak to him until 1/2 the Sangria has been ingested. Then I look at my purple toe and say (as menacingly as I can muster) "Oh, you're going to pay for this!" After dinner, I made him take me to a taxi stand and get me a ride back to the hotel. As of today, most of the purple is gone, but it's a very tender toe and I've pretty much played it up as much as I can.

Whew! That took lots longer than I expected. Can you wait one more day for the last story? It's a good one, I promise. I also promise to bring pictures tomorrow. Come back, I'll make it worth your while.

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