Yesterday, because it was the only chance for exercise, and we’re being fed like geese headed to foi gras, we took the morning to go to the beach and walk around a bit.
The beach — praia de Matosinhos, the only name I remembered because we used to go there for a month sometimes two every summer — has come on a bit.
First it’s only 15 minutes or so away. I always tell everyone we didn’t grow up near the sea and going to the beach was a treat. This is not precisely true, so much as it’s hard to get there via the ancient medieval network of roads, on buses that belched smoke but moved only a few inches per minute. It took us two hours, with a change of buses, and we carried picnic baskets, so that we wouldn’t starve on the way.
Anyway, the sea was just the place we bathed, though very cold and known for very big waves, which I was terrified of having been rolled once or twice.
Now it’s all tourists in wet suits and surfing boards.
This is a little a bit like the theme of this trip. The place I used to go and get drunk with college friends has been cleaned up and smartened up and is now the center of tourism in Porto and very historic, every house a plaque saying it’s from the 14th or the 11th century. The place I used to go to tea with grandad — the one that’s not a MacDonald’s — is now expensive and we had to stand in line to go there and have tea in style like I used to (I suspect J. K. Rowling flapped her lips about it. It’s a beautiful belle epoque cafe, but nothing explains the line of people from all over the world.)
I live in fear of some day coming back and finding that someone has taken mom’s washing tank, because it’s very important and a rare jewel of washing tank design.
We walked on the beach and wet our feet — it was very weird for two seabirds to move to Colorado — but I kept telling Dan “But it’s just the place we used to sea-bathe.
Brewing somewhere in the back of my head is a story that for full justice should be set in Terry Pratchett’s Lancre, with tourists coming in and removing the gazunders and Nanny Ogg’s pipe because they’re rare examples of blah blah blah. I’ll have to file serial numbers.
I’m still working on Grant in Portugal, but with us leaving Tuesday, we’re being besieged by visitors come by to either say goodbye, or get to see us while we’re here.
Meanwhile weird insight into young Sarah. I met a young man (eh, my age) I hadn’t seen since we were both 18. We met at a conference right after I came back from the US from my exchange year. I have no memory of him, but he remembers me. I asked why. He said “Because you came in, and you took charge.”
Eh. I remember myself as mouse timid. This might not have been true.