Sunday, 7 November 2010

In Portugal – 6

Saturday was a day of surprises. I went out for a stroll after breakfast, leaving the chess player busy analysing and planning moves for later in the day. My objective was the bishop’s palace, which I have still not seen as I was waylaid by other things.

headed across town, through the park and over towards the estuary. On my way I came into the Jardim Municipal, a kind of garden square which I have been through before. This time it was full of stalls of all kinds. A flea market was underway. In the sunlight, for it was a very bright sunny day once again, it reminded me of the scene from the film "Empire of the Sun" where Jim arrives at a sports stadium full of looted goods that have been abandoned by the retreating Japanese, spread out sparkling in the sun.

Here in the Jardim M
unicipal there was everything you could think of: pottery, bric-a-brac, statues, garden equipment, second book, jewellery, stamps, musical instruments, tools – some old and rusty, others pristine – and even an old treadle sewing machine like the one my grandmother had, this one in apparently perfect condition.

So instead of visiting the bishop’s palace, I wandered around looking at the stuff on the stalls until I realise that it was almost lunchtime and headed back to get the chess player organised.

Our plan was to find t
he Dory Negro restaurant that we had failed to locate the other day. We knew which road it was on but, typically, the road was not named on the map the tourist office had provided or, when we eventually found it, on the road itself. Having walked up and down the main street we asked for directions.

Two very helpful ladies gave us detailed and possibly contradictory di
rections. Finally one said that she feared that the Dory Negro might be closed for holidays – Está em feiras – but, ever helpful, they gave us directions to another restaurant nearby which they highly recommended. Unfortunately they never gave us the name and by the time we had ascertained that the Dory Negro was indeed closed for holidays we had, of course, completely forgotten the directions to the other restaurant.

Nothing daunted, we asked in a newspaper kios
k if they knew of a good restaurant nearby. At first the newsvendor was directing us back to the Avenida, the main seafront road where there are lots of pizza places. Just them one of her customers butted in with information about O Aquario, 500 metres (translated by his friend into 500 feet!!) up the road. So we set off up the hill and had just asked for further directions from more helpful, friendly passers-by when our original informant passed us in his van, pipping and waving and indication the restaurant, now in sight on the corner.

what a delightful little restaurant it was, moderately full of Portuguese families having Saturday lunch out. And the food was good as well (sorry Colin!!) and, as seems to be usual here, very prettily presented.

Then we had a little emergency. As Phil tucked into
corvina grelhada he managed to swallow a sharp bone and get it stuck in his throat. There then ensued an episode of coughing, patting on the back, eating lots of bread – grandmothers’ remedy to coat the bone in bread and help it down – and drinking lots of water: all to no avail. Eventually it seemed to have made its way down sufficiently to allow him to continue eating. So, moment of high drama over, we finished our meal and went back to the hotel.

An hour or so later, however, he was still conscious of “something” there at the back of his throat and so we ended us getting a taxi to the hospital and waiting around for quite along time to have somebody take a look. The final diagnosis was that a espinha had probably gone down but had most likely made what the doctor, whose English was mostly good, described as a “hound” on the inside of his throat. We worked out that he meant a wound and waited until later to make jokes about the animal at the back of Phil’s throat – not a frog but a dog!!! Anti-inflammatories and mouthwash were prescribed and we were told to return if it did not improve.

It seems that some people will do anything to get a little attention!! And attention he HAS received. From the hospital we had phoned the organiser of the tournament, someone Phil had played chess against in Spain, to let him know that Phil would almost certainly miss last night’s game, which proved to be the case. So this morning we have had a series of enquiries as to his state of health and much commiseration on his bad luck.

As for me, I really wanted to practise my Portuguese but probably not in such extreme circumstances!!

1 comment:

  1. It would serve you right if you'd been eating dog meat . . .