Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Portugal: Days 2 & 3

Friday & Saturday

We woke up at 7am after a surprisingly good dos. You don't realise when you travel long distances how much it takes out of your body, especially as you often don't feel tired. Of course, the copious amounts of alcohol we'd consumed the night before might have had something to do with it, but luckily there were no hangovers to be seen. We were pretty fresh and more than ready for a day of chaos.

The sun rises at about 6am, so by the time we got up it was already fairly warm. Breakfast consisted of a tough omelette sandwiched between paper thin (and cardboard tasting) bread, and very very very shit coffee - I can't stress enough how bad the coffee is in this country. Trance party food is never gourmet, but Portugal had some new lows on that front. Then our day began.....

Basically it went like this: drink at campsite, wander down to dancefloor for a stomp, stroll off to stalls for ice-cream / fresh fruit salad and yoghurt (the best discovery of the party), ooze along to river for a swim.... repeat x 10, in random order. It was baking hot - around 30 degrees everyday, and we absolutely revelled in it.

We'd all brought chairs along with us on the trip; the four housemates had little fold up fishing stools and Neutrino and OJ bought these low plastic chairs with bendy backrests so you could lean. Of course, jealousy was rampant once the four of us realised how cool their chairs were, as we had to sit up straight the whole time while they could lounge around. It was therefore a source of great satisfaction to us when Neutrino, who was thoroughly enjoying our envy, attempted to show us just how far back his backrest could go - and snapped it in half, ending up sprawled in a heap on the ground. For the rest of the party, he alternated between squatting like a pauper and sitting tough in the dust.

One of the main attractions of the weekend was the contingent of Portuguese hippies, making up more than half of the attendees at the party. At trance parties in Cape Town, you do get a lot of hippies, but nothing like this. These hippies were a) dirtier (this could have been the dark skin / dark hair combo, but most of them looked as if they'd never seen a bath or hairbrush in their lives), b) skinnier - Cape Town hippies look normal, many of these ones were emaciated, and c) so, so, SO much crazier!!!! We were nearly crying with laughter at some of their antics. Our personal favourite was Naked Guy. Naked Guy was obviously tripping out on something serious, and he'd managed to lose his clothes in the river. He was doing the funky chicken on the banks of the river with just a little sling bag to cover his modesty, except that the bag was bouncing up and down as he did, so not really covering much at all. All the while, he was jabbering away to himself, and frequently bursting into manic laughter as he tapped his heels. We were absolutely broken. Eventually, security came to take him away as they figured he might be a danger to himself. He was having none of it though - this skinny little man trying to escape from two huge beefy bouncers... it was quite a sight to see. And he wasn't the only one. At one stage it was almost as if we were in a theatre, and various acts were coming out on stage to perform for us. You can't make this shit happen - you can only be so incredibly grateful you were there when it did. We christened the river the Put It Away Pool, because nearly everyone who came down there to swim should really have just put it away! Europeans are far more relaxed about nudity than South Africans, and it's therefore no biggie to waltz down to the water, strip off for a swim and then lie down with your package out to bask in the sun. But for us, conservative as we are about baring all in public, it was alternately funny and then rather gross as these, ahem, less than attractive people just keep whipping it out in front of our disintegrating retinas.

Friday also saw the arrival of our token friend, Max. We were sitting around camp, rather inebriated and cackling at everything, when we hear this South African accent going "Hey, are you guys from South Africa?" and out from behind a bush pops a lone ranger in a funky headband. So of course, we told him we were, and we established that we all come from Cape Town and that he went to Westerford High. Our buddy Old Cranky Man teaches at Westerford, and once Max told us that he knew him, he was welcomed into the group with open arms. We made him pitch his tent in our lager - something that had us in hysterics because it was a fold out tent that popped up like one of those car sunshields - and gave him a beer to settle him in. After that, Max was like our pet dog. Everyone morning we'd wake up and look for him, and when we found him we'd check how he was and what he'd been up to. We exposed him to our special brand of humour and he was cool with it, so we figured he could stay.

The music was really good, and we had some caner stomps on the dancefloor. We didn't go down there too much in the middle of the day as it was so hot, but we did the sunset and sunrise sessions, and occasionally a mini stomp in the blazing sun. They had good shade up and plenty of sprinklers, so it was bearable for a while. Friday night was our longest stomping session. We spent most of the night on the floor, and when it started getting a little chilly around 4am, Shoes and I came up with the great idea to go and fetch everyone coffee. What we didn't take into account though, was that the nearest coffee stall was a good 10 minutes away. This, plus the fact that the (very shit) coffee was served luke-warm in the first place, meant that our trip resulted in us bringing back four cups of cold coffee which were only filled halfway due to spillage - the ground was that uneven. Bad idea then.

We stayed up pretty late on Friday night, and then woke up early on Saturday, so most of the first half of Saturday was spent in a bit of a haze. The wind also picked up in the morning, and where we'd just been hot and sticky before, we were now hot, sticky and permanently covered in a layer of dust. Although we did swim and Shoes and I showered in the ice cold showers, there was nothing we could do to get away from it. We were lying in it, eating it and drinking it with our vodka. It became our friend after a while though; you really have no choice but to embrace it, otherwise you spend your whole party being annoyed. We could at this stage no longer look down on the hippies for their dirtiness, though.

Saturday was alot more chilled out than Friday. We went down to the river to watch the sunset and saw to our delight that there were statues in it - except they were moving! More craziness from the locals.... three people covered in what looked like grey plaster of paris were standing motionless knee deep in the water, occasionally moving with robot like slowness to change their positions. Love it.

We went to bed pretty early on Saturday night, in preparation for an early morning on Sunday. We intended to make the most of our last day at the party, but as you will see tomorrow, spanners get thrown in the works pretty easily when you're in a group....

To be continued....

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