According to Moroccan girl #1, police in Morocco is so corrupt that there’s this one time her friend was stopped for drunk driving (drinking at all is illegal since her friend was Muslim, and Muslims aren’t allowed to drink in Morocco, so a Muslim drinking and driving is doubly illegal), and not only did he get away with it after some bribing, the officer even told them where the next checkpoint is, so they can avoid it. THEN THE OFFICER GAVE THEM SOME WEED and sent them on their way (now not just driving drunk, but stoned AND drunk).
Moroccan girl #1 was quite fun to be around, but I think I’ll skip over Morocco for now on my list of countries to visit…
On the following night, we went out to dinner at a local restaurant with the hostel staff (the beautiful Polish girl mentioned before, and two other guys). Hostel staff are usually fun people, since they are usually avid travellers themselves, and always have endless stories to tell, and travelling tips to share – very useful for newbie travellers like yours truly.
The dinner was pretty unremarkable due to technical problems in the kitchen or something, but we did get to talk quite a lot.
As it turned out, the two people that sat next to me (Indian guy #1, Canadian guy #1) were both doing their PhDs in computer science (one somewhere in Germany, and one in Paris), and they didn’t know each other.
Seriously, I can’t even make this up. One of them does compiler optimisations, and the other one machine learning, but is scared of deep learning (don’t worry, this is the only mentioning of deep learning in this story).
I also got to hear the story of the Polish girl. She grew up in Poland (I gave this away earlier, but I actually didn’t know she’s Polish until this point, since she spoke Portuguese and behaved 100% local), and decided that her day job was too boring, and just learned a bunch of languages (she speaks Polish, English, Spanish, and Portuguese fluently), quit her job, did some travelling, and decided to move to Lisbon and work at a hostel, leaving everything and everyone behind. How cool is that?! And she is only in her 20s according to my highly accurate girls-age-estimator biological neural network!
She then took us all to a local live music bar halfway across Lisbon. I don’t go out too often when travelling since I like to be able to wake up early in the morning and actually do stuff during the day, but hey, it was my last night in Lisbon, and I always have trouble saying no to pretty girls :). Walking on the streets at night was amazing – almost totally devoid of people, warm yellow lights on mosaic pavement, and with a refreshing breeze.
(Photo courtesy of Karl Gercens, since I forgot to take one, but it looked EXACTLY like this minus the rain!)
On the way to the bar, I talked to an English nurse in her 50s (English lady #1). She has been travelling for a few months every year for decades, and have set foot on all continents and almost every country in Europe, North America, and South America. All by herself. Apparently that’s a good thing about being a nurse – they need nurses everywhere, and with British credentials, you can work pretty much anywhere.
People often say they will start travelling after they retire. But you know, as a nurse, I see a lot of things most people don’t see. I see that many people don’t get to retire. Many people don’t get to be old. And even if they do, many of them don’t have the health to do it by the time they retire.
So I decided I want to do all my travelling now.
– English lady #1
The bars were nice and one of them had an awesome granny DJ.
On the way back, I met a guy from San Francisco (Californian guy #1). He works as an artist doing some freelancing now so he can live anywhere in the world he wants. He just came from Berlin and loved the scene there (“it just felt right”), and will probably be moving back there for a few months. And of course, we talked about crazy housing prices in the Bay Area.
That night I booked a flight to Prague, Czech Republic. Next morning, said goodbye to everyone, and I was gone. I will probably never see any of these people again.
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most, to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you
– Glinda, Wicked
I had some time to kill before the flight, so I went to check out a few places (a castle and a cathedral). Lisbon is known for being hilly. It was a nice hike.
To be continued…