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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)

Tuk Tuks - not only in Southeast Asia

Exploring the world in Tuk Tuks. From Thailand to Portugal. You never know when you might need one. Especially if happen to have a broken ankle.

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Tuk Tuk's and traffic in Chiang Mai

When I think of tuk tuk's I immediately think of large Southeast Asian cities with lots of traffic and tiny little tuk tuk's weaving in and out of the traffic to transport tourists quickly to a special destination. I took my first tuk tuk ride while I was in Bangkok, and yes it was large southeast Asian city with lots of traffic. The guide books all said to be careful of tuk tuks. They over charge. They are expensive when compared to using a bus or a tram. I did not find them all that expensive in Bangkok. Once I assured the driver I did not want to visit the tiger sanctuary or any other tourist trap on his list it was a pleasant and quick way to get to my chosen destination. Mark and I used tuk tuks' several times while in Bangkok. We found it fun to zoom through the busy traffic blocked streets. And the breeze blowing through the tuk tuk was a welcome relief to the heat in Bangkok.

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Mark and I in Bangkok in the back of a tuk tuk

After leaving Bangkok we visited the city of Chiang Mai. We decided to hire a driver with a taxi in Chiang Mai instead of using tuk tuk's. Our driver was a very nice lady named Ebon. We spent an entire day with her for only $45. She was delightful and showed us many interesting places and taught us a lot about the city of Chiang Mai and surrounding area's outside of the city. We met her at the airport when we arrived in Chiang Mai. She drove us from the airport to our hotel and gave us her business card to use if we were interesting in hiring her the next day.

After our day with Ebon we decided we would spend the rest of our time in Chiang Mai on foot visiting the many side streets, temples and shops. As we walked the streets we say many tuk tuk drivers parked along the streets. Each tuk tuk we passed called out to us "Tuk tuk?" After a day of hearing "Tuk tuk?" at least a hudred times I started to find it humorous. We saw one last tuk tuk driver on a very hot afternoon and as he called out to us I responded with a friendly laugh "No. No tuk tuk's today". I was looking back at the driver and was not watching my step very well. Mark had walked on ahead of me. I slipped on a curb and had a very bad fall right in front of the tuk tuk. I called to Mark ahead of me frantically. I knew something was wrong and I could not get up on my feet. I had broken my ankle. I looked back at the tuk tuk driver I had just said "No" to hoping for a ride. I must have made him angry when I said "No tuk tuk" the first time, as he just looked at me and started up his tuk tuk and drove away. Mark helped me to my feet and I realized I could not walk back to our hotel. Luckily we were able to flag down another tuk tuk and he took us safely back to our hotel.

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After leaving Chiang Mai we flew to Phuket and stayed in the city of Patong. I had no issue hiring tuk tuk's in Patong. My foot was very swollen and it was painful walking. At this time I thought it was just a sprain. I did not find out it was actually broken until I returned home and went to the emergency room four days later. Four days of tuk tuk rides in Phuket gave us the chance to see the variety of different tuk tuk designs in the city. Some had fancy lights inside the cabin that blinked on and off. One had a Winnie the Pooh decor which I found amusing.

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It's a Winnie The Pook Tuk Tuk in Patong

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We traveled to Portugal in June 2015. The last thing I expected to see was a tuk tuk. We were not in Southeast Asia. We were in Western Europe. We took a day trip from Cascais to the city of Sintra. We had been in Sintra in 2009 for a day also but did not get the chance to really explore the city. We made the big mistake of walking to the Castle of the Moors our first time in Sintra. We had wanted to see the Castle so when we saw a sign pointing to the trail to walk to the castle we thought it would be a good idea. We did not really research this very well. The sign made it look like just a brief hike. In reality the Castle of the Moors is on a very high hill way above the city. We spent our entire day climbing the hill to the castle and we too tired afterwards to really explore any of the city itself.

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Castle of the Moors - high above the city of Sintra

When we were at the Castle of the Moors in 2009 we were able to see the beautiful Pena Palace located above the castle on an even higher hill. We did not have the time or energy to visit it that day. So on our return trip in 2015 we planned to take explore the many side streets and alleys of Sintra and then take a bus up the hill to visit the Pena Palace. As we explored Sintra we walked past a tuk tuk stand. What kind of sorcery was this? Tuk tuk's in Portugal? We also noticed that the drivers of the tuk tuk's were very attractive young men.

So it was decided. We would hire a tuk tuk to take us to the Pena Palace. It was a bit more expensive than the tuk tuk's in Thailand. But it was worth the price. We had a very pleasant driver who took us to the palace and showed us quite a few beautiful over looks on the way to the top of the hill. It was a lot easier and more fun than the long climb we had on our first visit.

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Our driver was not only pleasant and a good guide but he was also a very attractive young man which made the day all the more pleasant for these two "older" gay men. At the end of our trip I asked the driver if we could take a photo. His thought I meant for him to take a photo of Mark and I together. When I explained that I wanted a photo with him he kind of blushed, smiled and said of course.

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Our friendly tuk tuk driver in Sintra

So if your in Sintra take my advice. Do not follow the sign to the walking trail to the Castle of the Moors or the Pena Palace.

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Take a tuk tuk instead.

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Larry home from Thailand with crutches and a broken ankle

Posted by littlesam1 21:43 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok chiang_mai phuket portugal sintra accidents tuk_tuks broken_ankle Comments (5)

People Watching In Sintra, Portugal

Learning a lesson from an older couple


View Larry and Mark return to Portugal on littlesam1's travel map.

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People watching from a small cafe in Sintra

I love to sit back and watch people when I travel. I know some where some place there is some one sitting back watching me also. But it's all part of being a traveler. So I am sure there is a photo of me doing something that someone else found amusing or unusual. I was in Sintra, Portugal in June 2015. It was very hot and Mark and I had done a lot of walking. It was time to sit down for a while, have a cool glass of Vino Verde and maybe a chilled can of Pepsi on the side. We found a little cafe just out side of the tourist center of the city. We took some time to talk about some of the things we had seen in Sintra. We looked at some of the photos each of us had taken. Then we ordered some lunch. While waiting for lunch to be served it was time for me to do some people watching.

I saw a older gentleman walk toward a table near ours and take a seat. He had two braces attached to his arms that he was leaning on for balance as he walked. He took his seat and removed the braces and placed them against the side of his table. He appeared to be alone. A few moment later an older lady came to the table. She had very large swollen ankles as a lot of senior citizens develop at her age. I am getting close to that age myself. They placed an order with the waiter. A few moments later they were served to cold beers. They smiled and raised the glasses to toast each other silently. It made me smile. I thought it was very sweet.

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A little later our lunch was served. It was a delicious lunch. I ordered a meal a little heavy for a hot afternoon but it was so good I did not mind.

I was drawn back to the older couple. I glanced over to see what they were doing. I noticed that the lady had taken off one of her shoes. I thought poor thing. Her ankles must really be bothering her from all of the heat and the walking in Sintra. She casually took her foot and tapped the gentleman's foot under their table. He smiled. Then she slowly ran her foot up his leg and massaged his leg with her bare foot. He smiled even more and reached across the table and held her hand. This went on until their food was served. It was something totally unexpected and I could not stop watching. There was something so sweet and so loving about that moment. They were oblivious to every one around them and they were having a very intimate moment.

I enjoyed my glass of wine. Lunch was excellent. But I do think this couple had a much better lunch experience than I did. God bless them. An elderly couple still in love and not afraid to show their affection for each other. I thought about them for a while and thought how
sweet it must be to still be romantic with each other after all of their years together. But then I thought perhaps I was wrong. Maybe they were new lovers who had both lost their previous spouses. Whatever their story is does not matter. They left me with thoughts of getting older and still enjoying all that life has to offer. And perhaps I should put down the camera more often, stop editing photos over lunch, and just reach over and touch my spouses hand. Maybe some one younger will see it, sneak a photo and write a blog about it later.

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Posted by littlesam1 06:47 Archived in Portugal Tagged portugal sintra people_watching aging_and_romance Comments (2)

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