The Longest Day

Remember back in the day when travel seemed so easy? You’d just get into your pneumatic tube and off you’d go to your destination? Those were the days. It seems a bit harder now.

The first actual (out of country) day of travel started of promisingly enough – we left Pickering! Arriving at the airport  3 hours before our flight (why on God’s grey earth do they insist you be there so far ahead of your flight time?!), we were greeted by the friendly Air Transat person telling us that our flight was delayed – by 6 1/2 hours! What to do, try to get back to Toronto on their woefully inadequate transit system or stick it out in the airport? We decided to opt for the latter. We were given complimentary food coupons for our troubles (doesn’t include booze – bastards!) and the time went by fast enough.


Airport Beers! (Not free)

We boarded the plane (piloted by no-other than Jean-Luc Picard – actual name) at almost 1am, popped an Ativan with my tiny glass of shitty wine and hoped for some sort of sleep.


I’m flying this plane straight to hell!

There was no sleep to be had. I just can’t sleep sitting up in giant tube full of strangers. Instead the combination of drugs, booze and giddy anticipation kept me awake and unduly influenced my choice of inflight entertainment – Amazing Spider-Man 2 and some baseball movie starring John Hamm.


Mmmm, Indian Hamm.

We landed in Lisbon around noonish (local time), not having even a minute of sleep and then we were forced to to wait for half an hour in the blazing hot sun on the tarmac for a weird looking Portuguese bus to take us to the terminal. Of course we boarded the last of 3 buses and were the very last in line for customs. A humungous, soul-crushing line. That only took just over 2 hours to get through.

We then negotiated the subway system to the area were our little hotel was located. That went fairly smoothly until there was a big crowd boarding the car and some dude and his luggage in front of me was just ambling on, taking his time, not a fucking care in the world. The bell for the door closing sounded and we still weren’t on the car. I swiftly kicked the dude’s luggage into his legs propelling him forward and making just enough room for us to squeeze on. That was my favourite part of the day. Small victories.


This is everything we brought. Minus the dog.

Emerging out of the subway into beautiful downtown Lisbon, we attempted to find our hotel on foot. With all of our gear. In the blazing sun. With no sleep. We wandered the streets in frustration looking at Tami’s homemade map for about an hour. Giving up we hailed a cab, knowing that they might or might not rip us off. They did of course, aided by Swanson telling him that we were lost. I’ll do the talking next time.



X marks the spot!

We finally got to our room just after 5 in the afternoon, tired, hungry, sweaty and tired. I sat down on the bed and i immediately fell asleep. Swanson woke my up about 30 seconds later. Must stay awake. Must fight jet lag.

We ambled down onto the streets in search of beer and food. Lesson number one in Lisbon, and around the world I suppose, is never go to a restaurant that has laminated photos of the food on the menu. We knew this but capitulated out of sheer exhaustion and frustration and stupidity. The food was shit, of course. And expensive. But the beer was cold. I was pretty frazzled and wiped out when my poor little guy bit his tongue hard, drawing copious amounts of blood. ‘Dad, is it bleeding?” he asked opening his maw to reveal a mouthful of blood and twisted flesh. “Oh, Gussy!” I bleated, tears welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t let him see how upset I was for fear of him becoming upset. It was the icing on the shit-cake I was served all day.


Hard to resist, I know.

After our “meal”, we went for a stroll around the waterfront which was very cool, saw some neat art and whatnot.


Neat art. Projected on the front of a building with All of My Love by Zeppelin playing over loud speakers.

I fell asleep around 11 and then woke up around 1, having to go to the washroom. Did I mention that it was a shared bathroom in our cheap-ass hotel? Well it is. And there was bidet water splashed all around on the floor as I walked in there, bleary-eyed and bare-footed. Ok, for reals, what the hell is with bidets? I’ve never used one, don’t even know how, and wonder why they even exist. Seems like a lot of work just to freshen-up one’s undercarriage.

What had I gotten myself into I screamed in my mind as I lay awake in bed, listening to the traffic outside my window, again on the verge of tears. Only 350 or so more days of this. Gawd help us.



10 thoughts on “The Longest Day

  1. Jealous!
    Actually, I went through the same thing when we arrived. 30 hours without sleep, men with machine guns strip searching an African man in the arrivals lounge and multiple hash dealers following us looking for a sale. And we didn’t have a hotel room. Found a great one and drank beer. It gets better from here I can tell you.

    • It is much better after 10 hours sleep. Lisbon is a lovely city. Things always seem surreal and/or bleak when no sleep is had.

    • Lisbon is pretty great so far. I slept for almost 11 hours after that trying day. Food isn’t the best but the wine is cheap and plentiful!

  2. Loved reading this. Awesome, detailed account of arriving in a strange city after a long journey (and mega delay at Pearson) and no sleep. Glad to hear you’re enjoying it more now after some rest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *