A Travellerspoint blog

January 2021

Odd Travel Moments - A Young Girl With A Bird On Her Boob In

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This photo was taken in 2015 and for some reason I am just now writing about it all these years later . And I don't know how I missed posting this. Mark and I were with our friend Gillian on holiday in Lisbon. Our last day there we were having lunch in an outdoor restaurant and noticed this girl with a bird hanging on her shoulder. At first we thought it was a dead bird which we found a bit odd. But then it moved. She was wearing a live bird on her blouse. It was just sitting there and not bothering to fly away. I love odd travel moments like this.

Mark and I have known our friend Gillian for almost 14 years now. We are more family than we are just friends. Gillian visits us often. And we travel together frequently. She makes frequent guest appearances in blogs because when we are all together trouble usually ensues. I am not sure why. Perhaps it's because we tend to drink a bit when we are all together. Gillian will deny this of course. But trust me. It's a fact. From time to time she and I remember this girl. We always say she is part of a novel that should be written. Or we say that one of us really needs to write a blog about it. But it has not happened until tonight. Gillian, her time in the spot light has arrived. I hope I do her proud.

Times are tough. To complain about it makes you look juvenile. Everyone, world wide, knows times are bad. There is nothing you can say about it that everyone doesn't already realize for themselves. We are sharing this pandemic world wide. When 400,000 people have died in your country it seems selfish and callous to say how much you miss travel. Or it seems insensitive to say I wish I could go out to my pub. And then it really seems childish to complain that you have nothing to write about in your travel blog. There are far more serious things to be concerned about. I talked to two good friends today and both told me they have tested positive for COVID. That's very serious. I prayed for them both tonight. I can't sleep. Stress has robbed me of sleep for weeks now. So while I sit here fighting insomnia the unfinished blog about the girl with bird on her boob came to mind this evening.

Mark and I love Lisbon. It was never a place on our bucket list to visit. But once we arrived there it captured our imagination. We have now been to Portugal twice and would love to again. We have some travel friends who live in Lisbon that we enjoy visiting.

Mark, Gillian and I with our friends Miguel and Gloria

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And the wines in Portugal are some of the best in the world. The food is very good also,

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And then there is the mesmerizing Fado music that we learned to love. Having some wine and listening to Fado music is one of our favorite experiences when we visit Portugal. This is the Fado bar we visied in a back alley in Lisbon. There is a young girl dressed in black singing the melancholy fado music.

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And yet the girl with the bird on her boob seems to be my one haunting memory. When I think of my time in Lisbon I almost always go back to that last day and seeing her. It was odd. This was to be our last day in Lisbon. We were to leave for the airport in the morning to bid goodbye to Gillian and start our flight home. But we wanted a good meal and a few laughs on our last day. We really wanted something that we would be able to remember and talk about for years to come. And there she was. Leaning against a wall behind our table. An attractive young girl with a bird sitting on her breast. It caught my attention and then Gillian saw it also. We tapped Mark and motioned for him to turn around and look behind himself and then he too saw what we saw. There was no point trying to explain it to him. It was easier just to tell him to look. So we all looked.

Our first thought was why does this girl have a dead bird attached to her blouse. So we started making up reasons why the bird was attached to her. None of them made any sense at all but it didn't matter. We were just confused. And then the birds head moved. It was alive! Then we wondered why and how she had attached it to her blouse. Was she cruel and stapled it to her shirt? No, the birds foot moved and it repositioned itself a little. It was just sitting there hanging on to her blouse. And it never left her or flew away. Finally she pet its head, took it off of her blouse and put it in a small box. Then she went inside the restaurant and to our surprise was working there as a waitress and was going on her shift. She handed the box to a waiter who was going off shift and he kept it for her. It almost felt like Woody Allen should be narrating this in one of movies set in Europe. I could almost hear his voice introducing the girl as the main character in his movie and her love interest who shared the bird with her. And then suddenly everything changed. Again Gillian and I noticed something else odd and we were transported from the world of Woody Allen characters to a John Waters movie. Just across the street from where we were sitting we saw a man, a true John Waters character. He was standing by a wall relieving himself right in eyesite of our table. Well if it was a Woody Allen character we would say relieving. But this had turned into a John Waters movie so this man was pissing against the wall. Directly in front of us. Did I take a photo? Of course I did.

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I knew I would be telling this story one day. And I knew I needed an ending. And this man provided the ending for me. So now in January 2021 when I am stuck home quarantining from the pandemic and fighting with stress and insomnia I finally am writing this blog from the summer of 2015. You never know how a story will end. I assumed the girl with the bird would be the entire story. And then man started urinating. So there's the end of the story.

When this mess we are in is over we will travel again. And we will see more strange things happening around us. And yes, I will document them with photos and tell you all about them in due time.

Posted by littlesam1 07:10 Archived in Portugal Tagged birds lisbon portugal fado_music john_waters woody_allen Comments (5)

2020 - The Year We All Stayed Home

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I usually write a year end blog on New Years Day. I have been thinking about what I wanted to say about 2020. I went back and reread my year end blogs from 2019, 2018, and 2017. I noticed that each of those years I started out by saying this has not been one of my best years. And I ended each blog saying I was sure the new year would be better. This year I just don't know what to say. So I think this photo taken in Meredith, New Hampshire is the best way to start. What a long strange trip it's been.
Last years blog said we were already planning travel for February 2020. Well that didn't happen. Mark did buy his new car in February.

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And we did take a road trip to Odessa, Delaware where we went to a restaurant for the last time without a mask. Also with the new car we went to Woodland Beach, Delaware. That's a place I had not been since I was five years old when my family rented a boat and went crabbing in the Delaware Bay. The high lights of Woodland Beach were my photos of a lone house on the beach...

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..and a nuclear reactor on the New Jersey shore across the Delaware Bay. When I edited my photo of the reactor to a black and white image there was a spooky blue haze all around it like radiation coming out of it. Oh 2020 this was just my first surprise of the year.

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We started hoarding toilet paper, stocking up a two week supply of emergency groceries and hunting for masks to wear next. While doing this we got the word from my daughter Danielle that she had been hired for a job in Boston, She had been unemployed for most of 2019. She and her wife ended up selling their house in Atlanta, packing up a rental van and moving to Boston right at the heart of the original quarantine. List this under things to stress out Dad. Just as Danielle was preparing to move my other daughter Katie was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. She was hospitalized and of course we were not allowed to visit. Another item to add to the list of things to stress out Dad. We did go the hospital parking lot and wave to Katie's window. You can see Katie in the window above. I will not be embarrassed to say I cried on the way home.

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So what is next to add to the list of things to stress out Dad. After leaving the hospital Katie was told due to Covid and budgetary issues she was being let go from her job. Perfect timing. Just what a person with a major medical diagnosis needs. No health insurance. Lots of prayers were said. That's one thing 2020 has done. It has increased my prayer life triple fold. And within a couple of weeks Katie was offered a temporary job in New Hampshire! The company provided her with a beautiful log cabin on isolated dirt road with a view of Mt Washington in her back yard.

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I was a bit concerned when she accepted the job. The idea of her just being diagnosed with Crohn's disease and moving to an isolated cabin on a dirt road in New Hampshire was definitely another item on the things to stress out Dad list. She had to drive up for an initial interview and introduction to the new company. I did not want her to drive from Baltimore to Lancaster, New Hampshire by herself so I drove up with her. We were booked into a resort that had been closed for twelve weeks, The Mountain View Inn. We were one of a handful of guests there for opening weekend. Other than one or two other people were were the only guests in a 180 room resort. I will say in the midst of a world wide pandemic with quarantining all around this was a wonderful escape for three days.

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I wanted to be trendy and follow the big fashion statement of 2020, a Covid beard. I had never grown a beard before and I have to admit I liked having one. I still have it to start out the new year 2021. Add this to the list of things to stress out your husband.

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We were able to visit Katie in New Hampshire later this summer and also spend a day in Boston with Danielle and Andrea. It was a bit tricky going to Boston. Massachusetts had a ban on visitors from Maryland due to Covid that came with a healthy fine if you tried to spend the night there. We did drive to Danielle's house and drove with her to see some of the sites in Boston but that was the best we could do under the circumstances.

2020 continued to haunt us the rest of the year. Everyone has been affected by 2020 no matter who they are. It was no respecter of persons. I had friends who died. Friends who were very sick. And our beloved dog Delilah died this year. She was fourteen years old and had health issues. We did get to take her to New Hampshire before she died and she loved the cabin and the huge fields around it. She died November 8, 2020. We had a vet come to the house and we said our goodbyes on the back deck of our house.

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We were lost without her and knew we wanted another dog to fill the void as soon as possible. We found Tallulah just a few weeks later from a rescue site. We drove to central Pennsylvania to pick her and bring her home.

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But 2020 was not finished with our home yet. Two days before Christmas Tallulah darted out of our house and was hit by a car. We thought she was gone for good. Once again many prayers were said and out faith was tested but she survived. She had a dislodged shoulder and a multi fractured leg below the shoulder. There was concern this 18 month old pup would have to have her leg amputated. But as of New Years Day she is recuperating at home and her leg has been saved. We will have eight weeks of recovery and hopefully the leg will heal properly.

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As I said in the beginning "What A Long Strange Trip It's Been". 2020 is a year no one living now will ever forget. This truly has been one of the worst years of our lives. But my girls both have jobs. They both had adventures moving to New England during the pandemic. Mark's mother had Covid while in assisted living and recovered but sadly is fading from Alzheimer's every single day. Our dog survived. We have toilet paper. And as a family we all have each other.

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What is my final image of 2020? This about sums it up. A dirty mask left on a table in Littleton, New Hampshire. I'll this year here at the table.

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Posted by littlesam1 20:39 Archived in USA Tagged family new_hampshire 2020 covid year_end Comments (10)

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