13 months
Jul 5:
woeful tunes
Jul 10:
clean clean clean
Jul 17:
diary of a boogie board
Jul 20:
the low down
portugal gallery
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one of several sandy coves (this one frequented by locals) south of town
Lagos, Portugal; Jul 19, 2005

luis & simao

A few months back (before we had even started to think about where to stay when in Lisbon) we received a random email from a Portuguese guy named Luis. He was writing not only to say that he liked our site, but that we were welcome to stay in his apartment in Lisbon (for free!) as long as we could come at a time when it was available (usually when he’s out of town). What luck (especially since he sounded like a really nice guy)!

our first look in Lisbon, where we met Luis:
Praca do Comercio

Turn for the worse: As the weeks passed, we emailed back and forth. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get our schedules to match up, so despite his kindness, it looked like we’d have to find somewhere else to stay. Drag – it would have been such a bonus to have an apartment, but oh well.

Things are looking up: A few weeks later Luis writes back again with excellent news. He has found a different apartment for us! The only downside, he tells us, is that the apartment won’t be furnished since somebody will have just moved out. Is that okay? Are you kidding! It’s great! And it’s even more great because Luis won’t be out of town, so we’ll get to meet him and hopefully spend some time together.

Fast forward to today, our first day in Portugal. After our flight, we take a bus into Lisbon and, as promised, Luis is waiting for us at a coffee shop. Together we take a cab to the apartment where we’re met by Luis’s boyfriend Simao. They’ve brought over sheets, pillows and towels for us. In a nutshell, they’ve greeted us like old friends and they’re quick to arrange some outings together so that we will get the most out of our stay here. Really, we couldn’t feel any luckier and more grateful.

Luis & Susan

Luis is a freelance writer and translator and Simao is a graphic designer. They’re both hip, funny, and super friendly. And as a bonus, they speak excellent English. In the coming weeks they’ll take us to down home restaurants, trendy rooftop bars, and real-deal fado (see portugal: woeful tunes). They’ll tell us about Portuguese culture, politics, and what the young folks today are thinking about. And on our last day in Lisbon, Simao will personally escort us to the bus that will take us down the coast to Zambujiera do Mar where, by amazing coincidence, since we had decided to go there anyway, we’ll stay at Luis’s parent’s guesthouse overlooking the ocean.

Grace & Simao

So once again, we are in debt to complete strangers (not just Luis and Simao, but also Carlos and Andre, the owners of the apartment, whom we never did actually meet). But lest you get the wrong idea, our stay in Portugal taught us that our experience really wasn’t all that strange; the Portuguese people as a whole are friendly and generous. Combined with the general laid-back feeling of the country, it makes for a pretty great place to spend time. We hope someday Luis and Simao (or Carlos and Andre) will visit us in San Francisco and we’ll be able to return the favor.

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