Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ginjinha joints

First of all, a couple of hints for how the whole experience of jetting off on a lovers break could be improved by the Powers That Be:

Airlines: Take a stand on fatties. To protect the comfort of normally-sized passengers, anybody over 12st. must pay excess baggage. And you know those frame thingies at check-in that cabin-baggage has to fit into before it can go aboard? Well make one like a plane seat. And if they can’t get their arses into it, make them pay for two seats or throw them off the flight. Serves them right.

Passport Control:
OK, here’s a test. If it takes about 20
seconds to check each document, how long will it take for a planeload of 200 passengers to get through immigration? Answer: Over an hour. So given that a plane lands at Luton every 5 minutes, why have only two officers on duty? Oh wait.... it's the Home Office, innit? Useless gits.
Well, here I am back in cold, dank, over-complicated England, torn away from hole-in-the-wall Ginjinha bars where you sip sweet cherry liqueur for a euro a tot, lazy outdoor lunches of freshly caught/freshly grilled sardines and young-pressed vinho verde, world class coffee and pastries, and aromatic roast chestnuts to be relished in late autumn temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
As you’ll have guessed, I spent the whole flight home squashed up next to a member of the Obese Community who needed a seat and a half to pour his blubbery bulk into and then God knows how long queuing up with the Poles, Romanians and Bulgars for the privilege of being allowed back into my own fucking country.
But Lisbon is beautiful. It has a vibe, charm and pace all of its own, more like a provincial town than a capital city even though the whole museum, arts and opera thing is there if you look for it. It’s got a unique lived-in feel to it thanks to its central shopping and cultural area being right on the doorstep of its residential heartlands, so that tourists share easily in the everyday world of Lisboetas. And luckily for everyone, the Portuguese have resisted the worst excesses of mass Starbuckisation, so instead of having to search around for a ‘typical’ experience, you can drop in anywhere and be served with the courtesy, friendliness and natural hospitality that’s the hallmark of this gentle, decent country.Sadly, this might be the last foreign sojourn for quite some time. Our terrier (who is far too spoiled to be left in kennels) disgraced himself by widdling on the curtains of the lady who looks after him while we're away. So unless another can be found - that's it. But good to have gone out on a high... Portugal was the first holiday I ever shared with Mme., many years ago. It's aged well.. so has she. We had no money, drove all the way through France and Spain with a tent in the boot of a little car. A memory that's stuck with me all this time is of a rifle range at a small town fiesta. You had to fire at a target that released a spring so's a furry toy tied to a length of elastic flew at you when you hit. The prize was a glass of ginjinha - I couldn't miss and at 5 shots an escudo, I had them lined up along the counter. Cheers and shouts of "mais ginjinha!" went up from a growing crowd of hangers on every time I scored a bullseye - we all got merry except for the poor stallholder who got ever more miserable as he just kept on pouring.So there I was again... downing ginjinha with the priceless extra benefit of its flavour bringing back the memories, as tastes, sounds and scents always do best. Life is circles.


Swearing Mother said...

Great post ASU, thoroughly enjoyed it.

All Shook Up said...

Thanks Essemm, good to see you keeping up the work, too.

Swearing Mother said...

Fancy doing the Crazy 8's? If not, no probs, but I've left a message for you on my blog. It may not be your thing, but then again, you might just like it.....

Glamourpuss said...

Hang on a minute! Portugal? I thought Portugal was a land of inept/corrupt policemen, ignorant, slanderous lawyers with a legal system so backward it's powered by asses on a treadmill. You mean the British press has misrepresented this nation? Blimey.


All Shook Up said...

I nipped over, SM.. but unfortunately the Crazy 8s wasn't what I hoped it would be.. so no thanks (for now). But keep the offers coming.

You're spot on, Puss. Luckily, we managed to escape disguised as nuns after being accused of having sex in a hotel room. As if!