I'm all jacked up!
Happy New Year! I know how to party!
Well. That wasn’t fun.
We arrived in Lisbon New Years Eve and I was not getting better. To be honest, I was getting worse. I made a simple OUT OF SERVICE post with no real content as a feeble attempt at humor, but I was really struggling.
We checked in at our hotel, which is in the middle of the Baixia (pronounced Bai-sha) district, and just blocks from the largest New Years Celebration in Portugal. Nearly all of the restaurants were full or all the tables were reserved. We wound up having dinner at a Kebap stand a few blocks from the hotel.
I've never seen an Indian/Kebap restaurant before! But it was good.
From here, we start walking towards the square where the huge celebration takes place. I have no idea how large a crowd but it was easily over 100k. We listen to a Portuguese band just BUTCHER Pink Floyd while we walk. I’m not a big Pink Floyd fan but they have some stuff I like. What this band did to their music would normally cause the assembly of a tribunal for prosecution.
As we listened to the band commit crimes against Pink Floyd, we wander through, taking things in….and every step becomes more difficult for me. I get to the point where Laurie is pointing out that I’m stumbling. I hate to go in for the evening but my wife insists on it. She is a good wife and tries her best to take care of me.
New Years crowd in the square
We ended up watching the fireworks from the balcony in our hotel room. Well…….Laurie did. I saw them from the bed. I was totally spent and felt terrible. According to Laurie I coughed and snored the night away.
The morning was not much better, and I ate very little breakfast. At this point Laurie took it upon herself to investigate options. I was sitting on the bed in our room and she came up from the lobby. She informed me that she discussed the matter with the desk clerk who directed her to take me to the “private” hospital via taxi, and told her they would call a cab.
The "Private" hospital was quite nice and very modern
Laurie coerced me into going to the hospital for care. We took what actually was a car service (not a taxi) that the hotel had called. The hospital was rather far away (around 18 minutes by car) but traffic was very light on New Years morning. He was quite expedient and chatted with Laurie on the way.
He asked Laurie where we had traveled in Portugal. She told him about the Azores and Porto, and he asked what we thought of those places. Laurie told him how much we loved the Azores and that we were unexpectedly not impressed with Porto. He said “Lisbon is much cleaner and more organized”. After being in the city for a day, I have to agree. I was concerned that the driver had a persistent cough.
I didn't want this bracelet today
The hospital was very organized. I checked in and they charged me cash (I paid via credit card) for my visit and told me that any further charges for treatment would be extra. I paid 97 euros ($109 U.S.) for the doctor visit and diagnosis and I was instructed to wait in the waiting room.
I waited perhaps ten minutes and was called back for triage. From there I waited only a minute or two and was taken into an exam room where we talked with the doctor. She spoke very good English and we explained the situation, saying it was a carbon copy of what happened in France the previous year. She examined me, listened to my lungs, and diagnosed me with bronchitis….same as last year. She prescribed a steroid/bronchodialator inhalation therapy, a steroid injection, oral steroids, and antibiotics. I paid another 79 euros ($89 U.S.) for the bronchial treatment.
The square looks a lot different today
A cab picked us up at the hospital and drove us to a 24 hour/open holidays pharmacy. I sat in the cab while Laurie had my prescriptions filled, costing 7 euros ($8 U.S.). They were quite expedient and we were soon on our way. As with the other driver, I was concerned that our current driver had a persistent cough. It seems everyone over here has some chest infection and I’m paranoid as hell at this point.
We arrived back at our hotel and decided to have a late lunch at a nearby Indian/Italian restaurant. Yes, it is an odd mix for sure and I don’t know how they came up with that. A large local family originally from India were celebrating the birthday of a woman who was obviously the matriarch of several generations of this family. Laurie noted that the family from India were all eating pizza.
A very talented puppeteer playing to the street crowds
We order with Laurie having Indian food and me having Italian. The food was very good and not at all expensive. We watch the large family bring out a birthday cake for the matriarch and sing happy birthday in what I think was Hindi. They cut the cake and sent a piece to the other tables in the restaurant including us.
They were so nice and we stopped on the way out to wish the grandmother a happy birthday. When I did that she clasped her hands at her heart center and bowed to us to show her appreciation. (Laurie helped me with that, it’s a yoga/Eastern religion thing and she explained it to me.) It was a pleasant lunch and for the first time in a while I was actually hungry.
Laurie buys handmade souvenirs from local artists
We wander around this area of Lisbon for what is left of the day. We watch street performers, see the sights, and buy real handmade souvenirs from a couple with a stand in a small artists market. We wander a bit more.
Like a lot of this part of Portugal, the streets are on different levels, sort of running straight up a cliff. Periodically there are elevators that will take up up to the next level of streets. At one of the elevators I took a photo of a huge poster from the Lisbon Police Department warning locals and visitors that while marijuana was not illegal here, certain nefarious individuals had been selling bay leaves in place of the genuine article. Just a handy tip from the Lisbon Police to keep an eye on your weed dealer.
Take a tip from the cops on how to not get ripped off by your dealer
We continue wandering and taking in the city. I start feeling better and not struggling as much. The intense fatigue is gone and while I still cough a bit, I’m doing better. Considering the fact that I am presently on 4 separate steroids and an antibiotic for respiratory stuff, I SHOULD feel better. And I should be quite happy that with all those steroids bumping around in my system I’m not growing a second head or webs on my feet.
Our last stop of the day is for dinner. We stumble across a Japanese restaurant and decide to eat there. We’re trying to figure out the menu and are confused as it says “all you can eat”. This is obviously some mistake as we’ve never seen an all you can eat restaurant in Europe and most certainly not a Japanese and Sushi style one.
The crowds are still out and about this evening
A group of people from Scandinavia at the table next of us overhear our confused discussion and explain that “yes, it IS all you can eat”. They have a small tablet on the table and you write the number of the item on the menu and how many of them you want. They pick up the slip, make your food, and bring it to your table.
We were somewhat skeptical of an all you can eat Sushi/Japanese place...but it was actually quite good. The dishes were small, like two small meat skewers, two or three tempura shrimp, 4 pieces of sushi, etc. But you can order all you want.
I’m all jacked up on steroids. And for those of you that don’t know, they cause a heightened appetite. I’m gonna get my money’s worth here. Goodnight everyone.