Friday, 21 January 2011
Fog of the Atlantic for three days solid... the interior of a ship undergoing minor (22 million) refit... eating loads to keep energy levels up... not getting enough sleep... aching every single morning... feet hurting every single day... how incredibly dirty old air-con systems are when you rip them out (fine black dust that'll do you no good at all). These are the things I will remember from my recent visit to Portugal.
I did manage to get off ship for one afternoon - we were well ahead of the game and able to slope off while other contractors caught up with us - and nosed around the local town. It was a cold day, overcast where it had been sunny the day before. The town seemed more run-down than I expected, but nice enough so far as the people go. The usual small places for eating more than drinking; no real bars as such. Nothing much to report.
It's a community; people who go away to work on boats in refit. Some familiar faces, some names remembered. Do the work, take the money, go away and spend it until the next contract comes up. Some guys work all year round and make stupid money, some half the year, and some less and have other work to do. It's better than working in the local shop, I guess, but like anything you do a lot of it gets old. Time for a change I think. Maybe. When the next contract comes up I will say yes or no and that's when I will know. I always say never again at the end of something; then make a decision the next time the issue comes up. Time will tell; like a lot of things, really.
We were crossing a river into Lisboa, heading for the airport. The driver and I were chatting - me in my bad Spanish that he understood some of, him in his native language which I understood some of. I'm certain we were crossing this river on a long bridge and he said it was the border between Portugal (on the left) and Spain (on the right). Now that can't be right, can it? I'm going to go and check - I mean, it just can't be right but I swear that's what the man said.