Day 5 – Meeting the people

Day 5 = March 16, 2012

As usual, Friday got off to a slow start as we let Quinland sleep in until 2. David is really feeling the pressure of not having done anything in Lisbon yet. I try to remind him that this week was always intended to be a slow, decompressing week, and that – combined with sick Quinland – it was just going a bit slower than anticipated.

Still, once Q got up, we got out of Dodge. We had lunch in a little restaurant two doors down from us. There is actually a closer one, right on the street level of our building, but as we have never seen anyone in there yet, we are not convinced of its quality. The two-doors-down one, on the other hand, was well-populated and quite good. I had an amazing bowl of soup and some grilled pork, David had a dish of beans and meat and tripe, and Q – who was still reeling from her scare at the natural-foods restaurant – got steak, french fries, salad and a Coke. We have decided to make this our go-to lunch spot for a while, to help Q get comfortable with Portuguese food. It’s hard to not know what the menu says and not be sure of how the food is going to be prepared when you are sick and away from home, but I anticipate that will be half the fun once she is feeling a bit better.

Lori and Q at Santa Justa Elevador

From there, we took the subway up to Baixa/Chiado, the downtown area, and walked around. Quinland was in search of index cards for her school report (which we found for about $10 a pack!) and some postcards to send to her grandma, I was in search of a lock for my bag, and David was in search of some Lisbon sights. We walked down a cobblestone pedestrian street to the Praca do Comercio, a large plaza along the river where all the boat traffic used to tie up when arriving at the city; then up toward Rossio Square, stopping at a department store to look for a hole punch for Q’s index cards and to get the lock for my bag. (I have been carrying the laptop around with me, and my normal paranoia has increased to phenomenal heights.) At Rossio, we caught the Metro for Campo Grande, where we were going to our second Portuguese Game Night.

This Game Night was being held at the soccer stadium of Sporting Clube de Portugal (aka Sporting Lisbon), one of the big three soccer clubs of Portugal, the others being Porto and Benfica.  The stadium contains a mall, which consists of a discount supermarket, a clothing store, a shoe store, a food court, a few restaurants, and a multiplex cinema. Outside of one of the restaurants is a large area of tables and chairs where the board gamers play.

We were greeted by Nuno, whom we had met at Passion Fruit on Wednesday night, and he got us into a game of Pit with his wife, Helena and two new gamers. David and I then played Troyes with Nuno while Q played Galaxy Trucker with three people she just met. She was a bit shy at first, but David asked if she could join them, and pretty soon she was teaching the finer points of the game at her usual volume. She and I got dinner and headed home pretty soon after that, while David stayed later and got a ride home from some kind folks since the last Metro train runs at 1 AM.

We have not yet gotten our cell phone situation up and running, and Quinland was pretty unsettled by the whole thing. She didn’t like the idea that David had to be out of contact for so long, in the wee hours of the morning, with questionable transportation. I suppose she can’t remember a time when cell phones were not ubiquitous. I figured he had cash and the ability to take a taxi if he needed it, so I wasn’t worried. Or else I am heartless. One of the two.

Oh – I forgot to mention the whole travel-lock fiasco. As soon as I got the lock, I promptly went to lock up my bag. When I opened the lock, I noticed that one of the keys did not fit properly, but I tried the next key and it worked just fine. When we got to the Game Night place, I went to open my bag to get David his back pillow, and my key did not go in. Neither did the not-yet-tried third key, nor the already-failed first key. The dang thing was permanently locked shut. After much frustration and under-my-breath cursing, I turned the thing over to David, to no avail, and then to Nuno, with no luck. Ultimately David got it open and instructed me to never use the lock again. Not that I needed reminding. Urgh.

Q playing Galaxy Trucker

Expenditures: Lunch at the downstairs restaurant, ice cream in Baixa, index cards and post-it notes, four postcards, a travel lock, burger and pizza at the food court for dinner, three bottles of water and two bottles of yogurt drink to take home for Q for later. The poor kid has been suffering after the IV antibiotics last weekend.

Experiences: Eating at a little local restaurant; first sight of downtown (Q said, “We got out of the Metro station, and there was Lisbon!”); shopping in downtown shops; real conversations / hanging out with the friendly Portuguese gamers; interesting experience at the stadium mall; stupid lock fiasco.

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