Lisbon and lost luggage

I arrived to Lisbon today. The day started at 3.30am with a short, expensive ride to Schipol Airport. Just me and my great big many-galloned backpack. Archteryx, blue, some black, patches on the lid. Each detail has its own special sku number at the airport. If I had it right now, I would take out a stick of incense and light it. But it still hasn't arrived. I should have known it was no good when I was told to lug it to the odd-sized baggage area before 5 a.m. Nobody was there, so I waited. A Dutch family also had some odd-sized baggage to drop, we walked around and found a manned drop.

It will get on the flight, right?
Yes, of course, no problem.

After waiting two hours at belt #9 for odd-sized items in the Lisbon airport, I describe my pack to the overly busy lost luggage office. I fill out an official lost luggage report, and I am on my way to the city center. I have no load, so I figure instead of queueing up for the taxi and paying some outrageous fare, I would just bus and metro it. I get directions and make it fine. I have even planned ahead this time, and not only do I have a place to go, I have the address and phone number of the hostel handy.

I walk up and down Avenida Altamirante Reis. It's hot, I am still in heavy travel jeans, and I lumber through the sketchy hood shouldering the most uncomfortable laptop bag I have ever met. I cannot for the life of me find the place. I pass by where it is supposed to be a couple of times and find a public phone. (Thank goodness there are public phones here.) I call. They say yeah, that is the number, you have to walk down the street more, closer to where the avenue turns into a smaller street. OK. Another hour. I am starting to feel whiney and desperate. Nobody knows the hostel, though everyone wants to help, tries to help. Normally I wouldn't be so attached to a hostel I couldn't find, I would just let it go and look for another one. But I gave the airport this invisible hostel's address, and it's where they are going to deliver my pack, if my pack ever arrives.

Eventually I hail a cab and ask if he knows where the place is. He doesn't really, but I get in anyway, because I figure we can cover more ground by auto and maybe he can call them on his cell to get better directions, in Portuguese. It turns out to be exactly where I thought it was the first time, you know, an hour or so ago when I called and they said I should keep walking downhill. The driver is horrified and says how muito perigoso this neighborhood is. I already know it's pretty dangerous, because I had been walking around the same area for hours already. You don't have any friends here? You are here all by yourself? Why? Are you looking for adventure? This is no place for you to stay. You could stay at my house. I am just driving the taxi all day anyway, and it's only seven km from the airport.

So that's where I am now. Haha, just kidding.

Really, I ended up in Portugal for reasons of yoga, rural farmlands, and dishwashing galore. I'm not looking for adventure, rather for peace, solitude. In having someplace quiet to go, I am, in fact, trying to escape travel for a bit. Traveling's hard. So often nothing works out the way it's supposed to, the way you plan it to. Just. Like. Life. This is starting to sound like a Black Sheep article. It's just that when you're out there on the road, it's only natural that you and life come within grimace distance of each other more often. How we divide ourselves from our lives is a whole other story altogether.

1 comment:

Elena said...

Oh Heather, you tricked me for a moment there about staying with the taxi driver. I am sending good vibes that the airport finds your bag and has an easier time locating the hostel than you did. Enjoy doing yoga and relaxing in Portugal.


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