First Month in Portugal

April 18, 2019

Snippets for now, as I don’t have enough on any topic to warrant a post.

Jet Lag

It was bad. Hadn’t completely recovered when the daylight savings change happened. That alone usually disrupted sleep for a week for most of my life. For the first time I tried tried treating jet lag by walking outside for 30-60 minutes while the sun came up. Supposedly it helps reset your body clock. Don’t know if it helped. Do know it gave me something productive to do, exercise and photography, after waking up way too early.

x-20190318-06468-850Taken in the park adjacent to my apartment.

Unpacking While Jet Lagged

I knew that what would seem as perfectly obvious places to store things while jet lagged wouldn’t look that way 3 weeks later. Lucky for me, most of them did. Haven’t lost much. Did take me 2 weeks to find a pair of shoes. Can’t find the photo gear padded insert for my daypack, but I didn’t try very hard because –

Moving the Former Airbnb Stuff Out of My Way

I’m going to move the Airbnb stuff in the bedroom I use to the bedroom I don’t use. Actually will use it when I reassemble my PC bits in a new computer case and add a monitor. Also will move unused kitchen stuff into that bedroom. Unlike unpacking after arrival, I’ll do it on paper before doing it for real.

Why a 2 bedroom? Rooms are small here. Wanted a second one for computer desk, dry box for camera and lenses, empty luggage storage, and a bicycle if I buy one.

Exercise Walking

Fewer obstacles to deciding to walk than in Thailand. I’m not limited to: 1) Avoiding the heat by walking early in the morning or after dark, 2) Streets with sufficiently large margins to separate vehicles from pedestrians, except for a few narrow ones in the town center, 3) Streets with inclines either too shallow to raise my heart rate to desired level, or so steep as to hurt my knees, 4) Streets where the packs of soi dogs are friendly. Haven’t seen a stray dog here yet.

Eating Habits

From previous trips, I knew I wasn’t going to pig out on pastries, despite living 50 m from the best traditional pastelaria in town. Then I tried Salame de Chocolate for the first time. Ohhhhh Nooooo. Is it as heart unhealthy as it tastes? Recipe check says yes. Lets see if I have the willpower to buy 1 a week, eating half there and saving the rest for another day. It’s not going to help that blood test results from last week show all cholesterol and related numbers were in the excellent range.  Link to Google Images.

For the first time since Nov 2008 March 2010 my apartment has a kitchen. Yea! Living in Hua Hin meant toast that was usually barely warm, always too lite, and with one exception, bread that I tolerated at best. It was there I realized how much I liked toast and that I took something seemingly that simple for granted. I’ve been making up for the deficit with the aid of French jellies and jams. So far, my favorites are Fig, Chestnut with Vanilla, Rhubarb, and Red Currant, in that order. 


Adventures in Speaking Portuguese

This happened during my second visit to a shop selling whole and half flattened grilled chickens. I was served by the same man each time. The following exchange between him and myself was ALL in Portuguese, except for one word by me. His questions were short and simple, e.g. how many, whole or half, here or take away, as were my answers. Then he asked which sauce. I could tell from the graphics there was chili pepper hot, orange, or lemon. Didn’t know the word for lemon. I asked. After he replied, I pronounced it mostly correctly. He said it again, I nailed it. Then, as he was applying sauce he said ‘Thank you for learning Portuguese.’ I replied with a sincere Portuguese version of ‘Many thanks, sir’.

Next Door Dust & Din: Worker Shacks Taken Down

April 6, 2014

Construction began next door almost 7 months ago. One of the more obnoxious aspects is no more. Back in Sept. workers cleared the lot behind my apartment and built shacks to house the workers.

The obnoxious and noxious aspect was their cooking fires. That meant I couldn’t enjoy one of the pleasures of high season, opening doors and windows after waking to let in outside air which was cooler than in the apartment.

On Thursday, they were dismantled.

The pit toilet will stay until the building is finished (or plumbed?).

Next Door Dust & Din: At Least This Won’t Take Long

October 14, 2013

What better time to replace a road than during the month with the most rainfall?


Other roads are being replaced nearby. Based on their progress, this pain in the asphalt should last about a week, though I don’t know how the car and truck owners are going to navigate the mess.

Next Door Dust & Din: *groan*

September 14, 2013

Thought I knew enough about construction to think it couldn’t get any worse. But it did.

In March, 2012 I returned from the Vietnam trip to find the empty rowhouse building catty-corner to my balcony was partially demolished. Today they’re finishing the job:


Must. Be. Optimistic. Between earplugs and work not starting until until 8 it doesn’t affect my sleep. Closed windows keep the dust down. Avoiding the too warm apartment in the afternoon by hanging out someplace has mostly positive side effects. The completed building next door will probably put my apartment in morning shade. That’s great because it’s the only wall which gets direct sun.

Maybe things will be better in mid January after returning from Chiang Mai.

Three Years in the Life of Soi 94

September 3, 2013

The construction next door got me thinking about the other changes on Soi 94 over the 3 years 1 month I’ve lived here. So I went out to count and photograph the new buildings on the first kilometer of Petchkasem Soi 94. Some buildings appear in more than 1 photo so I can show continuity of the street.

Note: These photos are cropped wider and shorter than I usually post. It’s the first time I noticed Flicker was not displaying all of the photo in reduced size. Damn. Thus, some of the photos have buildings and labels that are off the edge of the display photo. Click on photo to see the full width.

3 Years on Soi 94

#1 Boutique hotel plus small shopping center. What looks like 3 buildings are all part of the same property.

3 Years on Soi 94

Photographed from the entry to #1’s parking lot.

#2 Unknown, probably apartments.
#3 Restaurants

Number 3 existed as an open air food vendor space. It was a roof held up by poles. They kept the poles, replaced the roof and added walls so it counts as a new building.

3 Years on Soi 94

Fifty yards past the far end of #3

#4 7/11
#5 Restaurant (Off the right edge, click photo to see uncropped version)
#6 Unknown, probably apartments

When I moved to Soi 94 #5 was a different restaurant. They lost their lease, and tore down the building. They moved to #18 (below). #5 is now a new restaurant in a new building. Here is where it gets weird. Three years ago the land that is now #7 (below) was empty. The people that now own #5 put up a building and later tore it down on the space that is now #7. As if you care.

3 Years on Soi 94

#6 Unknown, probably apartments
#7 Shophouses
#8 Residence, probably
#10 Shophouses (Off the right edge, click photo to see uncropped version)

Number 9 is set back too far to be visible from this angle.

3 Years on Soi 94

Taken from the far end of #8

#9 Residence
#10 Shophouses (It’s the building below the number label, not the one to the left)

3 Years on Soi 94

#10 Shophouses
#11 Unknown, too early in construction. One can see a concrete post starting just about the left ‘1’ in the ’11’ label and 3 posts to the left of the motorbike rider’s head.

3 Years on Soi 94

Two hundred yards farther on

#12 Shophouses
#14 and #15 – see next photo (#15 off the right edge, click photo to see uncropped version)

3 Years on Soi 94

#13 Residences. These 2 are on the front of a deep lot. Three other residences were there before I came. They’re all the same color and style. They’re all owned by Finns.
#14 Hotel / apartments combo.
#15 Shophouses
#16 Shophouses

3 Years on Soi 94

A different look at #14 to #16 to explain the road. Soi 94 makes a 90 degree right turn at the power pole to the left of #16, then makes an immediate 90 degree left turn so that it passes to the right (front) of #15. Some call it the chicane. Others get confused because they don’t realize that’s still Soi 94.

3 Years on Soi 94

#15 Shophouses
#16 Restaurant

See that Brown and tan bulding behind #16? Behind it is a lot where a new building is under construction, behind that is my apartment building.

3 Years on Soi 94

One hundred yards past the far end of #16

#17 Shophouses
#18 Restaurant, the one that used to occupy space #5.

The dog in the lower right corner is Lucky. She came up to me after I stopped here which is right on the border between the pack she belongs to and the next one. The 3* brown dogs in the photo belong to the next pack. They’re not happy about Lucky invading their turf, but keep their distance because I’m present. All are growling.

*Third dog off the right edge, click photo to see uncropped version

Over half of the shophouses are empty. Doesn’t stop them from building more.

Next Door Dust & Din: Oh Crap

September 2, 2013

How could it get worse? Let me count the ways.

1) The pile driver workers moved their first hut from the other side of the lot:


to under my window:

Dust and Din Next Door: Holey Crap

Of course, they brought their rooster (not shown).

2) See those trees to the right of my balcony in the photo above? They’re gone:

Dust and Din Next Door: Holey Crap

No idea why the lot was cleared. Optimism tells me the owner was being a good neighbor, sparing the adjacent property owners the ongoing cost of trimming back the encroaching foliage. Yeah, right.

The worker hut was dismantled to make room for the foundation work. No idea if it will be rebuilt.

Actually, neither the dust nor din has been as bad as I anticipated. ‘Musicians Earplugs’ is the generic name for those designed to stop only the loudest noises. I find them the most comfortable. Between those, keeping all the windows shut and changing my habits to be elsewhere when things get noisy, it’s OK. As such I don’t anticipate posting any more on the subject.

[Updated 2 hours later] Oh crap just became Oh Shit. First step in construction is always driving piles. There are six men building what appears to be the wooden frame for a living hut. A big one. They’ll probably put ladders on both sides of the fence – which means my balcony will be within reach. So much for leaving the back door open. So much for thinking this isn’t going to be as bad as I anticipated.
[End update]


July 17, 2013

Fate told me to find a new place to live. Maybe.

The vacant lot next door was prepped for construction a couple weeks ago. Since then no activity but I know what comes next. Pile driving (everything here is built on piles). Don’t know what’s going to be worse, the engine noise, the diesel fumes or the rhythmic striking of metal on concrete. Any one of them will make being here somewhere between unpleasant and intolerable.

The plan is to get out of town for a 1 week trip once the pile driving starts. Murphy’s law says if I wait for the pile driving, it will never come but if I take the trip anyway, the pile driving will start the day after I return. Then I realized there was another low-season trip I keep forgetting about. Deal with those, Murphy.

Apartments with non trivial sized windows on two walls are rare here. I have big windows on 3 walls. Only way to duplicate that is probably to rent a house. That means giving up one of the best landlords I’ve ever had, regardless of country.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and the construction will happen when I’m in Chiang Mai for the high season.