Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 2- Moscavide to Alverca, 19 km, part 2

Eventually we past the turnoff for Granja and reached Alpriarte. A woman greeted me and she asked me if I spoke Portuguese. Nao. Francais? Non.
We stared at each other for a moment before remembering that we have hands and can communicate with gestures. Then I remembered one of perhaps 6 French words I know, 'manger'. She smiled and pointed one way which I knew was a town far away. I tried another one of the six words, "petit?", hoping it was close enough to meaning 'close'. It worked. She
led us around the corner to a local cafe.

I only use the word cafe because I want to acknowledge that there were tables and chairs and food and drink. There was also dirt and grime and a roving flock of flies. At first I felt bad that I hadn't wiped my shoes at the entrance but then I noticed a table of four men with even muddier boots. I now understood why the woman had pointed to a far off place at first. writing about this several days later, i think I'm being a little harsh. They were very friendly and took care of us.

With full stomachs and morale, we continued, onto an isolated farm road. We all thought it was very nice walking on a dry path. We whopped and fist bumped. Big mistake. We made a couple turns and suddenly we were in worse mud than before. It was super sticky mud. Soul and shoe sucking (sole sucking?) mud. The mud was so sticky that soon our boots were double size, like Frankenstein shoes. Everything stuck to the mud-- more mud, rocks, sticks, leaves, plants, and small forest animals. In the previous mud pits, we'd had several ways to minimize the problem but now, on flat ground, there was nowhere to go but through. After awhile, I stopped trying to scrape mud off.

Since you're reading this, you know we made it. Finally we reached dry land. We left the way a little early to take a well-deserved shortcut to Verdelha de Baixo for food and accommodations.

While we were standing around looking confused and possibly about to have a mini-argument, a very short and very round middle aged woman approached and offered us a ride to what we assumed was her rooming house. We piled into her tiny car, barely squeezing our packs in. We gasped and braced for impact as she backed into oncoming traffic. Close one. She turned a corner and less than a minute later, we got out.

She assumed we wanted separate rooms. She crossed herself and invoke the Virgin Mary's name when we insisted on sharing one room. I pointed to Jeong hwa and said 'esposa' and 'familia'. All was forgiven and she was all smiles after that.
We took a room on the second floor, 'negotiating' a price of E35 for the night.

To be continued...

Sorry, wifi access is spotty so I gotta post whenever I can.

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