Linhas de ferro

All of the trains from Alcântara to Entrecampos have been affected by the recent problems that have closed the railway tunnel between Rossio and the rest of the Sintra Line. What it means is that instead of two trains each hour, there are now four - which is a good thing, I suppose. However, it also means that there are an awful lot more people using Sete Rios and Entrecampos stations - particularly the Metro stations. Now all the people from stations on the Sintra Line (which seems to be most of the people who work in Lisbon) have to get off the train at either one of these stations to catch the Metro into the city centre - before the tunnel closed, their trains took them right into Rossio station, right in the very heart of the Baixa. Now, of course, they join with the commuters from across the Vila Franca and Fertagus Lines, and fight to reach the Metro station. Of course, I don't need to get the Metro, but I do have to fight my way through the throng - and my exit is in the opposite direction from the Metro user's path. After pushing and barging my way out of the station (afraid that some idiot might shout 'FOGO!', and cause a stampede), I then have to walk up a fairly steep hill and then run a gauntlet of cigarette smoking, laptop carrying students who are deep in conversation about the merits of Rousseau's theories on human nature, or merely talking about so-and-sos recent night out on the ubiquitous mobile phone that, as I have mentioned before, seems to be grafted to their ears. After that, I had to attend a meeting (again) with the same chain-smoker in the same small office. I managed to get down to the Irish Pub early enough to take control of the Sky remote, thereby ensuring that myself, Charles and the bar owner, Connor (my old boss in my bar-managing days) could watch the Rangers v. Celtic game - much to the consternation of the arriving Chelsea and Newcastle fans. Unfortunately, however, Celtic squandered their one goal lead with five minutes of the game left, allowing Rangers to equalise and take the game to extra-time and an eventual 2-1 victory. Not to worry, though, I had four pints of Guiness, a plate of chilli, and good company, and now that Celtic are free from worrying about European and CIS cup runs, we can concentrate on the important matter of winning the league. Ho hum.


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