|We had a communication breakdown with the guy who watches the riad at night...my
recognition of some French words was not near as helpful as Dale's high school Spanish, and we thought we'd communicated "forget about breakfast at 6:30a and we need a ride to the airport at 7am". But there he was, making us Moroccan pancakes at 6:30, the table set with so many condiments we felt we just had to eat. But no ride. We were standing in the street, afraid to close the riad door (that big secret door to the street that bolts automatically).
At 7:10a, Dale poked his head back in and asked (in Spanish) and the guy made a call. A few minutes later, a petit taxi was zooming through the pedestrian street and we were on our way to Menara airport.
Royal Air Maroc does not seem to worry about being an on-time airline, so we just rolled with it. Our flight to Casablanca was about an hour late, so we ran for our connecting flight which should have been completing boarding. But no worries-that flight was an hour late too!
We got to Lisbon at 2pm-ish, got through immigration/customs, and the long line for taxis...and we probably made it to Hotel Fenix Urban at 4-ish. Very contemporary, kind of Kimpton if you've stayed in a Kimpton, very un-Morac! And Lisbon is filled with sidewalk cafes, sites, etc...but first things first...LAUNDRY!!!
We had this vision of finding a lavanderia who would take in our laundry by the pound/kilo, and turn it around next day. We had two whole nights here...a gift of time. We asked at the hotel desk, and he immediately directed us to a place. Somehow we got lost on the way, and a woman in a bakery took pity on us and directed us to the same place, but now it was in a different location. Three times was the charm - another shopkeeper told us to go to a completely different shopping area. When we arrived, carrying kilos and kilos of filthy mountain sweat, blood specked, mule dung spattered laundry, it was a price per piece. We've done by kilo in several countries, but never by piece. Here we are talking 6.50E ($9)for underwear, 7.0E ($9.50) for a tank top - outrageous! We had so much to launder. Same price dry clean or launder. Wow.
So we went in search of a super-mercado to buy dish soap. Our contempo hotel bathroom had a huge clean tub just waiting for loads of hand laundry. I knew this meant the end of my hand henna, but it was for a good cause - we couldn't stand our own stink.
We also stopped at a pharmacia on the way because my toothbrush had smelled like mold for over a week. That's what happens when you move everyday and keep it in a ziploc. Pretty gross I know. Teeny little travel toothbrush cost $6!!! Ouch. Portugal is going to kill us money-wise.
We also decided we needed a picnic to get us through the laundry project. We'd had a pancake at 6:30a, no lunch and it's now 5pm. After several attempts we found a market. This place had a package of two toothbrushes with a travel case for about $2. Aaaarrrgggghh! We picked out wine, water, cheese, bread and olives...our staples. And a bottle of dish soap for fine hand washables of course! Actually, I don't really know what I picked. In Lisbon, if you talk to someone under 40 you can probably expect them to speak English fairly well. But there is no English on signs, labels, etc. Always fun!
Laundry took some time, and we were a bit concerned about drying. There was no where to hang things, so Dale strung up a line which meant our own showers would have to wait. And the hotel is that kind that conserves energy by turning off your power/AC when you leave (because you need to take your key), so that wouldn't help our drying project. Just needed to do the best we could.
We finally ventured out into our neighborhood - more of the professional, business district area of Lisbon. We didn't have the energy to venture in to the "young parts"-save that for the next day. We found a fun little bistro called Passion or something like that. It had 6 or 7 tables, and their thing is that they only do 9 dishes at a time and they do them with passion, for the ingredients, preparation, etc. It was a good dinner, and we had lots of laughs. We started to learn that no matter what type of Portugese establishment (at least in Lisbon at this point), there must be a TV, it must be on, and if possible it will be playing futbol (with volume). IF not, it will be playing Travel Channel or the like.
Off to rearrange the wet laundry and get a good night's sleep!
Tomorrow is our day to explore Lisbon...