“This way to Uber”.. the young man was ushering me away from the long wait for the line-up of taxis at the Portugal airport. Truth is I was looking for Uber earlier but gave up and decided to have a one hour coffee break at Starbucks. There was no hurry in me, I still hadn’t booked accommodations for my first two nights here.
Scrolling through the booking sites and sipping my 2.75 Euro coffee (4.00 Canadian money) I almost fell asleep. Travelling 24 hours was taking its toll. A five hour layover in Toronto was ok I guess, the big surprise was the one and a half hour line-up to get through customs, once in Portugal!
It was lined up like Disneyland, I counted 40 rows going up one way and down the other. Seriously, it was also hot or maybe it was all those bodies. The old gal behind me pipes up “well that’s one way to herd us all into a single file”. I was almost wishing I had a cane or a wheelchair so I could get into the fast lane.. don’t hate on me, I said ALMOST..
So I decide on the Holiday Inn for my two nights, meanwhile warding off two strangers asking me for money. I told both that I would love to feed them but my government didn’t pay me enough to be old and travel too. Is there a mark on my forehead that they always seem to pick me? Maybe I just look well-fed huh?
Meanwhile the people waiting for taxis is also looking like the ‘Disneyland’ line-up again. Exhaustion sets in and now I’m getting cranky too. The young guy is trying to usher me away with promises of the Uber waiting for me. I look him directly in the eye and say “I am putting my life into your hands, because I don’t think you are really an Uber driver”.
He shows me a picture on his phone which means nothing to me. I think of my kids and hope they understand if this turns out badly. I take chances and I trust people a lot, but even though I know this is not an Uber, I follow him anyway, I’m so tired I’m not thinking straight. I also make a snap decision to try the hotel I’ll be staying in, on the tour.
The Intercontinental Hotel is very pricey for me as a single but better that than being married I guess.. loll. The young man ushers me to the parking lot and pulls the bait and switch.. I knew it! You see he speaks English but passes me off to another driver in a decent looking car, that speaks no English whatsoever.. oh crap!
Portugal is lovely but I feel so lost with all these streets going in circles and snaking around weird corners and, and.. Jesus.. where the heck is he taking me? I have the non-Uber driver from hell, or am I just being cranky? Conversing with him is out, he has absolutely no understanding of English. Ah well he is easy on the eyes .. so there is that, I guess.
After using my imaginary brakes and reaching for a non existent ‘oh shit handle’ many times, we reach the Hotel Intercontinental .. whew! 25 Euros (36.50 Cad.) later and now I am confronted with another choice. This hotel is first class and in another life, was in my price range.. but this is now. I am weary and so over all this decision making.
Joao Sousa the front office manager, is making me feel special and is even throwing in breakfast for me. He also looks up the Holiday Inn and says it is only a 10 minute walk and they will look after my luggage for me. I can get two nights there for the price of one night here.
I decide to have a coffee and think it over, he escorts me to the business office (my phone needs charging) and gives me an adapter for my phone. He has a server come in with a little porcelain pot of coffee and a couple dainty cookies. The coffee is soooo good! I charge my phone drink my coffee and look around me, I like everything I see.
Joao has me, I love attention to detail, and yes I love the attention as well.. loll. Good service and good coffee 3.50 Euros, this place goes beyond what is expected and delivers. I tell Joao I will have to go home and sell my firstborn to pay for the room, or I’ll just text the kids to send me money… lol.
We book the room, I am so relieved and he has even delivered up an amazing view AND two double beds! A fellow ICA gal (a well known caterer and chef has agreed to share a room with me.. thank you : ) usually with twin beds. We have robes and even a bidet!
This is how I want to live, I’ve had a sleep and now I will have a shower and go looking for supper. Oh.. the bed is everything I love about a bed, (well there is no soul mate to share it with) but then, no husband either .. I love it!