One of the many things we like about longer stays in foreign cities, it gives us a chance to bond with some of the locals. Only here a couple of weeks and it is already happening. Even in Porto, where we only spent a weekend, it happened as well. On our very first late evening here, we ran into these 2 lovely women (sisters as we learned) selling Sangria at the top of the hill overlooking the Douro River in Porto. Clay started a conversation while buying 2 sangrias, and first thing you know, they are begging us to move to Porto. Maybe it was Clay’s charm, but more likely it was the Texas mystique, because they seemed fascinated with the fact we lived in Texas. BTW – The best sangria I have ever tasted. It might just be worth moving for that reason alone. (wink, wink)
In Lisbon we have our favorite little coffee shop, and know many of the servers there who call out to us when we arrive, “Bom dia Clay & Maggie”. The gal in the photo below was one of our favorite servers. The first time we met she told me she was from Jersey, and I told her we were in NYC recently. She figured out the confusion, and said that she was from the Island of Jersey in the English Chanel – not New Jersey. We all three got a good laugh!
Another example is we have two local guys that are always in the front of their souvenir store at the bottom of the steps where our apartment is located. It is such a narrow little street that we can’t help but be just a few feet from where they hang out to invite tourists into their shop. Early on we bought a couple of small things at their shop, and began talking. Now, every time we leave our apartment they say good day to us. If they are not busy, they strike up a conversation with us. We are learning so much in casual ways like this.
Clay on our narrow street and “Eddie the Eagle” ready to ski town our steep stairs from our apartment.
After a couple of weeks here, we finally are being recognized as not your usual 3-5 day tourists so many more conversations are spontaneously happening. Lisbon people, in general, are very friendly, and fun loving people. The longer we are here the better we like it. Clay says that we’re not like a lot of other tourists, who “arrive by cruise boat, storm ashore in waves, invade the souvenir shops, then retreat at the end of the day, hauling their booty of plastic bric-a-brac and I ♥ LISBOA t-shirts”.
I think that one of the joys of traveling is it makes you more comfortable striking up conversations with total strangers. Clay would argue that I am already that way, but it just seems easier here. All of us travelers here are on the move, and in the travel zone of confusion, jet lag, excitement, happiness, and eagerness for learning more from our adventuresome other travelers. Isn’t that what makes travel so fun? I think so.