Dakar to Lisbon


9/3 – 9/2010

Left Dakar, Senegal at 2:00am on September 3rd – TAP(Portugal Air) was packed – kids crying, food served at 3:00am, lights on = zippo sleep = arrival at 6:50am in Lisbon = 25 hours no sleep and patience level was minimul.   Horrendous international passport arrival line, and then, no luggage.  Time:  10:00am – still at airport filling out forms in hopes luggage would be found.  Stood in taxi line for 30 minutes and finally arrived at hotel.   29 hours, no sleep and greeted by:then…..and then…oh yes, this will work.  I crashed.

Lisbon is fabulous — wonderful cobblestone streets, great museums, idyllic temperatures, cafes everywhere serving scrumptious pastries and expresso, harbor restaurants catering to all nationalities and friendly Portuguese people.  I was constantly lost as I wandered the city. (Just decided it is difficult for me w/out mountains to focus on.)   But then, realized there was this other alternative that alluded me for years — “street names” . Once I finally figured that out — I was on a roll.  Found a taxi driver who took me to some beach and country towns outside of Lisbon.  His English was minimul, so the conversation was a constant show and tell.  I spoke Spanish, sorta, he spoke Portuguese and somehow, we were able to communicate – albeit his hands were off the wheel 50% of the time doing “show and tell” in describing the words he was trying to say.

Huge wind turbines dot the hills providing wind energy to little communities, modern beach hotels/resorts filled to capacity with European visitors, pristine beaches and once quaint beach towns have been discovered with toursit money flowing in, SMART CARS zip around cobblestone streets, and family quintas(farms) converted into upscale B&B’s.  Info is accessible by Google search engines, TripAdvisor websites, Portugal blogs, Lonely Planet travel guides and “Hidden Places” in the New York Times travel section.   Every place is accessible, it seems, one way or another, on one’s computer.  So, for me, constantly getting lost, connected me with the little pastry man who told his son to walk me to the main street(at least I think that is what he said!), sitting in a cafe in some neighborhood eating a great meal of fresh scallops on mashed potatoes, a group of backpackers asking ME for directions(!), an amazing bookstore w/1st edition Portuguese books, and sitting in a little park watching the world.   Eventually I found a street with the “Tourist Yellow Hop On/Off Bus” trundling down the road and reality was with me again.

I have recouped…..as you can see, my luggage was found in Dubai and returned to Lisbon, and I am ready to move on to Northern Portugal.  Leaving tomorrow by train to Porto, the original capital, now famous for Port wine, wonderful architecture, a world heritage site, art galleries, museums, windy streets and trendy areas!

http://gallery.me.com/lisagsharp6#100024

the above is a photo album – you may have to cut and paste it to access– not sure how it all works — i sent a link to all — if you didn’t get it, let me know and will try again.

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Another beginning…


Abigail

My 10 year old English bulldog says “Take me too, will you?”  And, oh yes, I dissoved into tears when I saw her in the bedroom tucked in my suitcase, not wanting to get out.  Amazing how animals know.  Tears have been shed saying “good bye” to friends, family, my sons, horses, dogs…and now, am in DC with my sister doing some final shopping and waiting to check in w/the Peace Corps on Monday, 8/9 at 11:00am.  All seems like a whirlwind that swept me up with the words “We aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto” echoing as I rolled through this tunnel of applications, medical exams, acceptance, packing, selling, dispersal of belongings, paring down to a 10X10 storage locker, saying goodbye to people and now — here I am in DC.  It all seems surreal.  Especially, since this started with ..”Oh well, I’ll just send in an application to the Peace Corps and see what happens.”  The realization of how many good friends I met in Taos after 3.5 years and friends I have kept over theyears has taught me the importance of friendships and support.    I have learned not to take friends for granted, appreciate their kindness, be as open to them as they have been to me and make the effort to keep in contact.

This is a journey that I have wanted to do for years and the road is open w/out any obstacles, only unlocked gates.  May we all have our paths open up to us.“Going to really miss you, Abigail.”

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