beach, food, places to see, Portugal, technology, travel, vacation

Lay off my natas!

After having slept for nearly 14 hours, I am now awake enough to say a proper hello and tell you a bit more about my travels (lucky you).
First of all, thanks for all the lovely comments, and hello to my new readers {waving}. I promise to pay you all a virtual visit once I get back to the States.
The travel to Portugal was obviously successful since I’m here safe and sound, and the transatlantic trip taught me several things:
  • It’s totally worth the $40 to get a day pass to the US Airways Club if you’re going to be in the airport for 4+ hours. Lunch, TV, free wi-fi, comfy chairs… it’s the best.
  • People drink a lot of alcohol when it’s free, no matter what time of day it is (see above note).
  • Pink grapefruit Airborne tastes yummy.
  • Air travel makes some people lose their minds. If it happens to be the person sitting in front of you, there’s no need to pay for the in-flight movie.
  • Just because your flight leaves the gate on time doesn’t mean you’ll actually be in the air on time.
  • A 7-hour flight does not mean you’ll get to sleep for 7 hours; you have to factor in the 2-hour dinner before they dim the lights and the rude wake-up call 2 hours before you land so that they can serve you subpar tea and danishes.
  • If you’ve only gotten 3 hours of sleep in a 32-hour period, it’s okay to take a small step off the caffeine-free wagon (said caffeine will give you quite a jolt after being free of it for 4 months).
  • When you’re trying to get into a country at the same time as 10,000 other people and only one customs officer is working, be prepared to stand in line for two hours. PS. There are no bathrooms between the plane and customs, so you should use the airplane facility, even if the captain has already turned on the “fasten seatbelt” sign.
  • If you’re waiting for 2 hours to clear customs, you will have to go on a scavenger hunt through baggage claim to find your luggage.
After the first order of business of de-grunge-ing and eating, I spent my first day in Portugal exploring the rocky (and windy) coast of Cascais.
The water and sky are both so blue (and the sky is so cloudless), it’s difficult to distinguish the two without the waves.
The coast is a geology teacher’s dream: sinkholes, mica, and salt deposits (oh my!) all in once place.

Aloe grows in abundance (I wish this stuff had grown on the beaches where I enjoyed sunburning).

After posing with the parentals…

(I told you it was windy.)
…we explored the S. Jorge de Oitavos Fort.
(the flag of Portugal)
We also explored a traditional Portuguese supermercado (but I forgot to take my camera in) and passed by the Portuguese version of Target.
Today, day 2 in Portugal, we laid low. Portugal is a very Roman Catholic state, so most things are closed on Sundays. We did, however, chow down on some traditional Portuguese pastries. They were all yummy, but my favorite so far is the nata, which is in the left side of the box.
It’s kind of like a sweet custard encased with a puff pastry, and then it’s torched on top like creme brulee.

Despite my best efforts to have a back up so that I could avoid the camera disasters I usually have on once-in-a-lifetime trips, I’m experiencing a camera FAIL. So our first stop tomorrow is to find a camera. Then it’s off to Baixa (downtown Lisbon) to see the architecture, do some shopping, and finally try a Ginjinha.

Well, it’s nearing midnight here, so I better bid you adeus.

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