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Ferry Meltdowns, Incompetent Slumlords and Heavenly Pineapples

Updated: Apr 8

Lemon Pie and Dark Chocolate Gelato (photo by author)

In week 32, I had some mishaps, some good times, and of course there were more hijinks from my Portuguese Slumlord.

It Happened on the Way to Gelato

One day while out running errands, it hit me how I don’t venture to farther out neighborhoods much anymore. While that is somewhat a necessity so I can live a normal life, I decided it was time to head farther afield to some favorite spots. As it was the afternoon, I made the decision based on where I could get the best afternoon treat. I decided to take the ferry across the Tejo to the town of Calcihas for the only lemon gelato, not to be confused with its healthier and less satisfying cousin sorbet, in Lisbon. Paired with the dark chocolate, I get two of my favorite flavors in one stop. It’s heaven in a small gelato cup!

When I arrived at the ferry terminal, I was among the first waiting. Usually I hang back and get on last but for some reason, I stayed up front and boarded the boat as soon as it arrived. That was a huge mistake. As it was a particularly hot day, inside was like a furnace. There was no escape on the windowless ferry with no outside deck or seating.

Immediately, the remnants of a cough that would not leave me surfaced. I tried to contain it as a family of three took seats in the middle aisle perpendicular to my row against the back wall. I tried to give them a warning cough as they were about to sit but they ignored me, settled in and started getting food out of their bags.

Unable to stop it, I went into a coughing spasm. It was nonstop coughing of the sort that I was spitting and drooling and utterly embarrassed. A man seated in a row facing mine sat staring at me, expressionless. The family got up and fled upstairs like mice from a cat. A poor woman trapped in my row next to the locked window looked like she was in a hostage situation. 

Unable to do anything outside of jumping in the Tejo, I no longer wanted to look at the nervous people around me anymore. I put my head back and tried to cool off as best I could by fanning myself. The cough did not get any better and the spitting and drooling continued.

Finally, I felt a tap on my arm and heard someone saying something in Portuguese. I looked up and saw the man who had been staring at me stoically. He was holding out a cough drop. Bless you my kind new stranger-friend! I thanked him many times, using a combination of what I hoped were heartfelt Portuguese versions of “Thank you very much”.  

The cough drop started working as the ferry pulled into the dock. I contemplated waiting for the family that fled from me like I was number one on the most wanted list and following them into town. Then I realized doing so would make me a douchebag, not them. Instead, I exited the ferry, headed to my gelato place and ordered my well-deserved treat.

My Incompetent Portuguese Slumlord

The longer I live, the more I learn that if you are patient, eventually the universe returns the impact of their evil doings to the vile among us. You don’t have to do anything but wait and watch.  

Apparently, My Portuguese Slumlord decided he would try once again to throw me out of my apartment. The current attempt was to send me a registered letter that informed me he was not renewing my lease. Legally, this letter must arrive 120 days prior to my lease expiring. 

One day, my real estate agent messaged me that she was told by My Portuguese Slumlord that he had sent a registered letter but received it back. The man is such an incompetent criminal that he sent the letter to the building’s mailbox. This mailbox is the same one that he and I stood outside the building for quite some time, trying to get the key he gave me to work. It never did. After trying unsuccessfully with him watching and refusing to get a new lock on the box, I threw my hands up in the air, and went inside the apartment. Instead, I rented a post office box. 

Oh karma you sweet, vengeful friend! 

As he missed the deadline, he cannot throw me out and I can stay another year. When he told his sad story to my real estate agent, he said he would just swing by and drop the letter off in person. I am going to let you guess what my response was. 

Until that incompetent criminal reimburses me for the electric bills he has stuck me with and puts the electric back in his name, I can stay right here paying my cheap rent. It’s a great deal even with the electric bill. 

From this moment on, he will be known as My Incompetent Portuguese Slumlord.

My Pineapple Heaven (photo by author)

Pineapple Heaven

One day I was watching a football match in one of my favorite pubs. I arrived a bit early to secure a barstool and ordered a coffee. Immediately, I was harassed for not ordering a beer, despite there not being much of a price difference between the two here in Lisbon. While I agree that beer and football go together like ice cream and sunny days, when one watches as much football as I do, one must watch some games alcohol free. There are many things I want to try in life, but being an alcoholic is not one of them.  Quickly, I paid for my coffee and headed out to scan the neighborhood for a place to watch the games alcohol and harassment free. Worst case, I could go to the other sports bar I like where the staff could care less if my high comes from caffeine or beer. Before I got to that bar, I passed a place called Cervejaria Dote. While they have a bar, they also have a full food menu and three big TVs that show the games. An empty bar stool was waiting for me, so I settled in and asked for a black tea.  No problem at all!  As I watched the start of the game, a big pot of tea and a cup was placed in front of me. That was my first half consumption. At half-time, I asked the bartender, a young girl that looks like a Portuguese version of the actress Lily James, for a juice. She had many options including different ways to prepare them. Intrigued, I chose pineapple. As I was confused about the preparation options, I told her to surprise me. She started chopping and throwing things in a blender, after which she brought me the tastiest glass of pineapple juice-something I’ve ever had. It was so good I started calling it my “Pineapple Heaven”. I am now addicted to the place and the staff. They always welcome me back for alcohol-free viewing of my games which always includes a glass of my “Pineapple Heaven”.

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