Thursday, 23 August 2007

Portugal: Day 4


Sunday dawned balmy and gorgeous, but the beauty of the day was tinged with regret that this was our last day at the party. Not even a full day at that, as we had to leave by 12:30pm to have enough time for the drive back to Porto. Not only did we have but a few hours left of sunshine, we were also missing all the big name acts that we'd come to see. Eskimo, Ticon, Sub 6 - all the DJs that drew us to the festival in the first place were all playing Sunday afternoon through to evening. We knew the party was a 5 dayer, but we're used to trance parties in Cape Town finishing on Sundays, with Saturday night being the big night. Here, Saturday was just the warm up to the real deal on Sunday, and we were really bummed to have to leave just as it was reaching its peak. We couldn't even drown our sorrows as all the ice had melted and we had no cold booze (no ice was sold at the party - we had to make daily 20 minute trips to the nearest town to buy).

The plan was to get up, get dressed and washed, have breakfast and come back to pack up camp before we hit the dancefloor for our final hours. However, we didn't take OJ's natural inability to hurry up into account. As usual, the rest of us were up and ready to go to the food stalls while OJ was still disentangling himself from his sleeping bag. After much nagging and hustling, we finally set off for breakfast, OJ hopping along while trying to put on his shoes on the way. We love him, but his lagging behind and indecisiveness drove us dilly sometimes! Shoes and I split off from the group to find some sort of breakfast that included toast (we were delighted to discover toasted ham and cheese) and the others went to the crepe stall. While they ordered, OJ stood around wondering what to eat. As the others got their food, he decided to get some juice. But of course, he couldn't decide which type. Finally, he got his juice while everyone else was eating their breakfast, and then wondered off to find something to eat. Shoes and I met up with the rest of the group; by now we'd basically all finished eating, and OJ was off at another stall waiting in line to order. Blaaaaaahhhh! We'd told him we wanted to spend as much time on the dancefloor as possible, so we left him waiting for food while we went back to camp to pack up. 20 minutes later, after Shoes and I already had our tent down and folded up, OJ appears with his falafel and says he was kept waiting for 15 minutes for his food. By the time he'd finished eating, we all had our stuff packed and were headed to the car to drop it off. We seriously thought we'd see him at the dancefloor for 5 minutes just before we left, but somewhere down the line he must have realised we were serious about not waiting, and by the time we got back from the car he had everything packed in his bag and ready to go! We could hardly believe our eyes. :-)

Finally, we all went down to the dancefloor for Skazi's set at 9:30am. Except that Skazi hadn't started by 9:30... or 10:30... or 11 o'clock. They were running really late, and he finally came on at 11:30am - and he wasn't that great either! We'd been hoping to catch the beginning of Eskimo's set at 11:30, but with the delays we only had about half an hour left to dance, and no chance of seeing him. Skazi came out with his guitar and rocked out, but the music had a blandness to it which was disappointing. We were hoping for one more caner of a stomp before hometime, and we didn't really get it. Just before 12, we went down to the river for one last swim, and then settled into the van for our long drive back to Porto.

The drive took was a lot shorter than on our way there, which is always the case, and we made good time. Mostly we just dozed or read books - the energy expended over the previous 72 hours combined with the heat had made way for mass lethargy. After dropping off the van, we went for drinks and snacks at Porto Airport - not nearly as horrific as Windhoek's excuse for an airport, for those of you who have been, but quite small and quiet. There was a great souvenir shop though, and Shoes and I bought a mini bottle of the finest Port in a painted wooden box - it looks like pirate's treasure.

Of course, no conclusion to any trip we take would be complete without the pre-requisite drama. It started when our flight was delayed by half an hour. Half an hour was actually about 45 minutes, and by the time we boarded everyone was stressing about getting back to London before the last train and tubes. Eyes was the only one who had to work on Monday, and Scarf had to go to college, while the rest of us had wisely taken the day off for recovery purposes. Even so, we'd been travelling for 10 and a half hours by the time we got back to London, and irritation had set in. When we finally got our baggage at Gatwick, we went to check the train times only to find there were no trains to London Bridge! The station had been closed for some emergency, leaving us with no choice but to go a very round about route through Clapham Junction. We considered a cab, but they're really expensive for such a distance, and we were really broke after the weekend, so we opted for the train. At Clapham, we said goodbye to OJ and the rest of us ended up having to catch night buses home as we'd missed the last train. It couldn't have been a worse end to the weekend - standing in the pouring rain, soaked through and freezing, waiting for a bus that never seemed to come, and when it finally did, took absolute ages to reach home. Welcome back to bloody London!!!!! We walked through our front door 14 hours after we'd left the party - exhausted, dirty, cold and barely speaking to each other. And that was the end of our party in Portugal.

* I'm happy to say that we are now all on speaking terms again, a good night's sleep having restored our good spirits, and the photographs are now reminders of how fantastic the trip was, rather than how terrible we felt the night we got home!

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