I had my blog entry all set to go this morning, and then it erased the whole thing when I tried to publish. And, since I was already running later than planned to get in line for our Metro cards, it had to wait. Now I am eating a late lunch after standing in line for two and a half hours to submit our applications! Whew!

Yesterday we went out shortly after noon, intending to check out a nearby gym (which turned out to be expensive but also very nice, not to mention right across the street!) and to ride the famous tram 28, which takes you on a rickety loop all the way through some of the oldest and most beautiful areas of Lisbon. It was very cool to ride, and to see the tourists hopping on and off along with Lisboetas of all sorts: elderly people, kids, regular people on their way home from work, crazy people. Very entertaining, but hardly an efficient way to travel — it took us almost 2 hours to complete the loop! (I took a ton of photos, which I will upload as soon as we have functional broadband, hopefully later this afternoon.)

About half way through our ride, it started raining, which came as a total shock. They’d been predicting rain practically since we got here, but as every day remained hot and clear, we didn’t really believe it. Finally, that rain caught up with us, and how. The temperature dropped suddenly, the wind came up, and you could see shivering, shorts-clad tourists slipping and sliding on the marble cobblestones, which became all the more treacherous when wet. We seem to be adjusting to them though, as we made it home without a mishap.

I quickly added some more layers, had a cup of tea to fortify myself, and left again for my first attempt at a Portuguese lesson. In my zeal to warm up, however, I added too many layers, forgetting that there was still a steep hill between myself and my destination. I reached the top, sweating and late, and then sat in the small, cramped classroom with the nice young Portuguese teacher, trying to surreptitiously blot the sweat from my face as best as possible. Seems I have some ways to go before I get my autumnal temperature regulation down.

The lesson, once it had begun, went far better than I expected. She had me take a quiz to determine my level of comprehension and writing, but since I don’t have any, it was fairly comical. I guessed most of the answers based on my knowledge of Spanish, and as it turned out, I didn’t do so badly. She used each mistake/guess to teach me the proper way of saying something, which soon led to a discussion of the same concept in French or Spanish, the history behind that word or pronunciation, and so on.

In the end, we only made it half way through the test before she said it was time for her to go, and politely ushered me out the door. I looked at the clock, thinking it was perhaps an hour later, and discovered to my shock that almost two hours had gone by! Again, there goes that fluid Lisbon time. Guess it’s a good sign as to the value of the class! I am checking out a different class Wednesday night, but as I am currently the only student she has (outside of her university classes) and we are clearly compatible in our teaching and learning styles, well… this will be the one to beat.

But first… to finish my lunch, and recover from the stunning inefficiency of state bureaucracy. More on that adventure tomorrow. I’ll be sure to write REALLY… SLOWLY… so that you can get the full effect!

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