sat 24 dec 2011 02:50:38 hotel pestana porto
got to porto
schiphol didn't *seem* busy until i tried to get to the gate, then it was like 15 minutes in line to get as far as the security checkpoint. not my favorite thing to do, happily i don't have to do it very often. the good thing about gettting on airplanes is that it gives me a chance to talk to god more earnestly than usual.
flight to porto was 2:45 ish. delayed takeoff. landing here i realized it's an hour 'earlier' than ams, ie their time zone is like england. so it was just before midnight when i was in a taxi to centro.
got real close to praça da ribeira, but couldn't get any closer because of little auto-bollards -- but i could see the hotel (recognized it from google street view) so i got out (price of taxi from airport just over eur 20) and i walked down the hill and came to check in with a guy named bruno.
my room is on the corner and has a lovely view of the bridge nearby and across the river, and i can step out on to a little balcony.
as soon as i looked down from the balcony, i felt like i was in the president's box above a theatrical stage. i saw various scenes playing out below me on the quai in the streetlight. including, notably, a man repeatedly calling out 'paola! paola!' before he reached a woman who looked like she was about to throw herself into the river. somehow he got her away from the edge, then there was a lot of sobbing. so, drama. i hope they will be okay.
bruno recommended the bar next door called 'o cais' (dunno what that means) and i went there and had 2 pints and a sort of tosti ham kaas which they called 'sande mista'. lots of smoke in there. friendly place.
so far i really like the look of this town. it's on various levels high and low. hilly. at this moment the river is swarthed in fog.
tomorrow will be a problem eating, because of the holiday. everything is supposed to be closed except maybe one restaurant ... i'll either figure something out, or i'll lose a bit of weight. there are granola bars on the desk.
have not yet tried the vinho do porto. soon.