20.9.04

Alcântara á noite


I didn't get back to Lisbon until about 1am this morning. Elsa, Sílvia's cousin, gave Alexandre and myself a lift to Alexandre's flat. Rather than get a taxi, Alexandre offered me his spare room, which I gratefully accepted as I was too tired to continue my journey. Didn't stop us sitting up talking until 3am, though. I was wakened at 7am by the sound of a bus revving its engine right outside the window of the room I was sleeping in. I thanked Alexandre, and headed out into the Lisbon rush-hour. I managed to squeeze onto the train to Cais Sodré. I didn't have to wait long for the bus either, which was just as well, because I was beginning to fade at this point, and I desperately wanted to get into the shower. Back in the flat and all was well... nice cold shower and nice clean clothes. Did some work on the computer in the flat, and a colleague asked me to translate an article of his - so at least the work isn't drying up (fingers crossed). A while ago Charles told me the story of a brand new state-of-the-art swimming pool that was built less than a mile from our flat. Apparently, the pool was an election gimmick dreamt up by the previous local administration as a way of getting votes. As soon as they won, the pool promptly closed down, and remained closed until last year, when the new administration re-opened it. However, it is in a part of the city that for years was renowned for being drug central - Casal Ventoso (they demolished the district a few years back and moved the addicts on) - they actually toyed with calling the pool 'Piscina Casal Ventoso', but they eventually settled on naming it after a famous Portuguese long distance swimmer from the 1950s, whose name presently eludes me. And to the point of this story... Charles and I went there today, and boy was I impressed: a competition size pool with all the necessary facilities. Cheap, clean and warm. Best thing, though, was that it was practically empty - people just don't seem to want to go to a modern public pool near where Casal Ventoso used to be. One thing is for sure, with daily tickets costing 1.45 euros, and a monthly pass costing 10 euros (including lockers), I will be back.

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