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Lost in Lagos, Portugal

By Rick Chapo

Lagos is a small town in Portugal built on a large hill overlooking the Mediterranean Ocean. While its old world charm is evident during the day, it can be a real pain at night.

Upon arriving by train in Lagos, I quickly booked a bed in a private home with a local family. I was loaded in a car and driven to the home that was just over the crest of the hill on which Lagos is built. From the home, it was about a mile down to the beaches and water. Ah, good old exercise.

Being from San Diego, I immediately put on my trunks, flip flops and headed for a swim. As I came over the top of the hill, I looked around to get my bearing and admire the view of the sleepy town of Lagos. It reminded me of home and I stomped on down to the water with a smile on my face.

While swimming and catching a tan [okay, sunburn], I met some fellow travelers from London. From the beach, they took me to see cultural sites such as museums and so on. Okay, we went to a couple of bars. As evening turned into night, I endeavored to turn in early as I was burnt out from the long train ride from Lisbon. We agreed to meet the next day and I congratulated myself on my restraint as I walked out of the drinking establishment.

As I walked along, it dawned on me that I didn't know the name of the street I lived on. No reason for alarm. I was at the bottom of the hill and a mile or so up on the top was my room. Figuring I would see something familiar, I started huffing it up the hill.

Many of us non-Europeans go to Europe for the historic effect. Tiny winding streets with cobblestones are a personal favorite, but not when you're wearing flip flops and there is practically no lighting. I fell on my butt at least twice on dew covered cobblestones. As I neared the top of the hill, I managed to crack my right foot on one of those owe so cute half curbs that seem to appear throughout Europe.

Making matters worse, I was lost. I stopped to get my bearings and tried to avoid thinking about the sticky, wet feeling on my right flip flop. It was useless. There wasn't enough light to make out much and what I could see was completely unfamiliar. There were people walking around, but I couldn't ask them for help since I had been to stupid to write down the address of my host.

Being a typical male, I took the only logical option available to me. I walked up and down streets for roughly two hours, got chased by two dogs, cracked my right foot AGAIN on curb and generally developed a bad mood.

Just as I was contemplating sleeping in the bushes, I rounded the corner and there it was. The most beautiful little white house with a $6 room in Lagos. Delusional and tired, I staggered up to the door. It was locked. I gathered my wits and knocked. The lady of the house opened the door, looked me up and down and started giggling.

Like a wayward son, she took me into the kitchen and made some tea. I had scrapes on my knees and the toenail on the big toes of my right foot was an international disaster zone. She and her husband kept asking me if I had been in a fight!

Lagos is a great town if you're looking for a little beach time. Just make absolutely sure you write down the address of where you are staying.


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