For the sixth time, and with a great degree of scucess, I found a room on Airbnb. My host is a charming Portuguese woman, Agostinha, who welcomed me with a warm smile, a bag of groceries, and unbeknownst to her, pigeon poop on her head. The Portuguese are a bit on the shorter side, so I’m thinking no one she encountered in her errands saw that it was there.
Her apartment is four bedrooms, three of which she rents: a comfortable living room, an eat-in kitchen, and two full bathrooms. Every room is a different color– orange, purple, blue. I’m in the blue room, which has a Buddha head on the side table, a blue chair, a blue painting, and a blue comforter. It’s comfortable and bright. Two large windows stream light in, when I’m ready to open the shutters.
Agostinha was on her way to eat a bifana this morning, so I accompanied her for the walk. A bifana is a pork sandwich; no lettuce or tomato, just simmered pork cubes on a fresh roll. For breakfast, I’d had pastry and mint tea at Doces and Emocoes.
We walked past the library and pool, which is two blocks away; men standing outside pastelarias, and people walking their dogs. For such a tiny person, Ana inhaled her sandwich soon after receiving it; then, she took me to a vintage shop a few streets away. The pristine shop, Humana, had thrift clothes on the ground floor and vintage clothes on the lower level. It’s strange, I’ve never seen an old lady on the street and thought, “Hey, I’d love to raid your closet,” but going into a vintage shop and seeing clothes from the 60s-80s always makes me hopeful.
The forecast predicted a sunny, 81 degree day today, so in the afternoon, I felt the beach was the only place to be. I took the subway to the terminal stop on the green line, Cais do Sodre, where I was to transfer to another train to Caiscais. After almost an hour of waiting on the crowded platform, a sign was posted that the trains were suspended until 4pm. It seems the train drivers are on strike.
With beach plans thwarted, I took the train to Alameda and walked around the area a bit. It’s the Easter weekend, so most of the shops are closed, but the cafes are all open. I chose an outside table, where I sat under a comfortable heat, ate quiche, drank some carrot juices, ate a few heart-shaped sweets, and read The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden for a few hours. If you haven’t read that novel yet, pick it up as soon as you can. It’s highly entertaining, clever and fast-paced. The heroine’s a wonder, and Jonasson’s writing made the day.