I didn’t sleep well. A bed in a dormitory, which usually means, you’re not going to go through the night without being disturbed at some point. Or maybe, you’re going to get woken up early. I certainly did. I’m sure it was 7.30am when I first looked at the time. Now did I look at the time, or did I look at a watch for the time? I think I was in the cafe for 9.00am and the trams had started running already.
The cafe was a beautiful place with a highly polished wooden bar, that was complimented with a sparkling brass handrail underneath. Period art dressed the walls, it was hard not to keep staring at them. The coffee was good, but I won’t be going back, damn expensive it was. There was a mature lady sitting next to me. I remember thinking her red type coloured hair must have been done professionally. How could deep red hair look so natural? By her side her matching handbag was leaning against her leg. She was so chic!
I’d got jobs to do today. I was changing the set up of my luggage to lighten the load. It meant a five mile cycle to the other side of the city which wouldn’t have been so bad, but I had ring roads to negotiate and my stomach was hurting again. It was a constant grabbing pain and it was relentless. It was the curry, that was the culprit, and if I had the chance, I’d take a pistol and shoot it up the bloody arse, then he could suffer too. I know what you’re thinking, a curry doesn’t have an arse or a gender. Maybe so, but this is my story and if my curry has an arse and a gender, then it is human and ‘Curry’ is the name of the swine, who was the chef that evening. And so, there you have it!
It took hours and hours to get these jobs done but they were done now and I was happy. I’d passed another curry house within the suburbs of Lisbon. There was a dish on the menu I hadn’t tried before, so I took a photo of the front of the restaurant, hoping the address would show up.
Another place I passed was another Nepalese restaurant. Now, I’ve had Nepalese before and it didn’t really do it for me, but I wasn’t going to rule it out. It was a possibility. I picked up a pamphlet so I had the address. There was a dish I liked the look of. Chicken with veg. cooked in a sauce made from cashew nuts. It’s different.
Before deciding on where to go for dinner, I had to consider the risk of putting more strain on my gut and whether I wanted to lie on the bed for another four hours, sipping water before bed. You see, when travelling, it can be often that you’re living off porridge and fruit and veg, and so when one hits a multi cultural city, with every cuisine available, it’s difficulty not to want to try something new.
I went for it. After doing my research I’d decided upon a Goan restaurant. There are quite a few Goan restaurants dotted around. Hundreds of years ago Portugal had a connection with Goa. I think it was political and not very favourable. The same can be said for Africa and Brazil. There are African restaurants but not Brazilian. I suspect the cuisine is practically the same.
I got to the restaurant, through dark narrow alleys where guys were doing drugs on the street. One guy, who I didn’t manage to get a photo of, was crouched on the floor in an ungainly and unconventional way smoking something out of a pipe. When I got to his side, he took a draw and then blew it out immediately, coughing and spluttering. Fucking knob!
The restaurant was rammed, I had to come back an hour later. And when I did it was still rammed. My table was by the kitchen at the rear of the dining area and facing the front door. I could see everybody and the vibe was happening and very alive. The staff were brilliant, I think it was a family run restaurant. Oddly or maybe not so, they were all Portuguese. I placed my order and was recommended a samosa to start. I didn’t really want it but the waitress was adamant how good they were. She was right and when I’d finished she asked if I liked it. ‘Surprising yes’ I replied. She told me they were home made and not from the supermarket. I had a chicken dish for my main course. It was more of a Nepalese dish, nonetheless it was brilliant and because so, it couldn’t be rushed. There were two deserts that I wanted, one with spices and dates, the other, Goan traditional cake. I opted for the cake, the waitress wanted me to have the savoury desert but I had a sweet tooth on by now. I enjoyed it, only a small portion so I decide to order the savoury. I had to wait a while, it had been freshly made. It was piping hot and tasted amazing. On the house, the attractive waitress in her early thirties bought me some mango kulfi. Again, gorgeous. The bill was 21€ and that included two bottles of Super Bock, alcohol free lager. My value for my money was unquestionably without question. The whole experience of ninety minutes was worth every cent and more.
The outside would make most people cringe and walk by. However, experience has taught me, the best food is in the worst of areas. I wanted to go back the following evening and try more dishes and to see Rita, the waitress. It was a shame, they were closed for two days because of the national holiday.