It’s me again.

Lisbon after dark

Another blog from:-     Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

I’m beginning to feel like I’ve lived in Lisbon forever. That was until this morning the facebook postman brought me a video from home in Kathmandu. The video was about Raju taking Flocky for a walk and when I watched that, I felt an overwhelming desire to be in Kathmandu today.  I watched the video several times and saw my naughty dog get so excited to be going out with Raju that she was even trying impatiently to open doors herself.  I wish I could post that video here but I have no idea how to do that.

This morning I saw one of the best sunrises of my life and couldn’t stop watching. The whole sky from the east turned red and silver and I wished I had enough photography skills to be able to capture that scene.  I have an amazing panorama here from the kitchen balcony so I can see across the rooftops to the nearby estuary.

We are on tenterhooks here because the Portuguese Embassy in Delhi has sent Goma’s passport back and we are praying that she will have her residence visa stamped inside. We should know within the next two or three days and if all is well, she should be arriving here in Lisbon within a few days. She will be the first family member to arrive here.

Three naughty girls with Raju.jpg

I really liked this picture of Flocky with Rekha, Rasmi and Raju.  Rasmi sent it a few days ago. Flocky is sitting in such a dangerous place, high above the stairs with no guard rail.  She just wants to be always with the people she loves and protects. She doesn’t care how uncomfortable or dangerous as long as she is with her family. It is always so exciting to get pictures, messages and videos from Kathmandu.

Good morning, Pat. Thanks for sorting out my WordPress problem.

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A rare entry from Dai, AirBNB guests, climate change and recycling

A rare blog from:-         Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

Wonderful view of Rossio Square

I don’t know where to begin, it’s been so long and I’m not used to writing anything these days.

The summer was quite an ordeal this year. Six months of heat and dry weather was finally relieved yesterday as the tail end of the latest hurricane hit Lisbon briefly. Today I’m actually feeling cold and I’m thoroughly enjoying that. There can’t be many people left who doubt that man is destroying our wonderful planet by causing climate change. But it seems to me that very few people are prepared to take action to stop the destruction.  I,  for one, am prepared to go to almost any length to do my bit to save our planet. I am prepared to eliminate meat from my diet, I am almost vegetarian in any case. I am prepared to use public transport instead of driving a car around.  I already do this although I might buy an electric car in the future. I am prepared to recycle every small thing that I can. I already do this. One thing that I cannot do right now is to plant trees. I wish I had somewhere where I could plant them and grow my own organic fruits and vegetables I hope that day will come. I already use as little plastic as possible and reuse those inevitable plastic bags as many times as I can. When I see the disregard for recycling here, I am always shocked. People just don’t bother, don’t seem to care. I get mad when I see this.

I had a recurrence of my red eye problem a few weeks ago and it lasted quite some time before finally disappearing. These days I use my computer much less to avoid having eye strain. I’m fine again now but I need to take care.

Having AirBNB guests has been an amazing experience for us. We meet guests from all corners of the world. Yesterday two guests from Germany and one from Hong Kong  checked out and a guest from Ukraine checked in. This evening, a middle aged couple from Quito, Ecuador, will arrive here; Carlos and Ana Maria

Whilst the majority of guests are nice people, not all are nice and we’ve had some really terrible people here too. Maybe 5% or one guest in twenty will not be friendly. I dislike having such guests and feel very happy when they depart and we can relax again. German and British guests are consistently good, quiet, friendly and very considerate. We also get guests from Morocco and Algeria and they are consistently excellent, very friendly, polite and calm.  Recently we hosted our first guests from The Yemen, a diplomat and his wife. They were really excellent guests and I would love to meet them again one day.

We have a list of countries which produce many unpleasant guests. This list is very private obviously because we also get excellent guests sometimes from these countries and I would never wish to cause offence to good people.  But in general we dislike, loud, brash, over confident people and people who have little or no consideration for others or people who think they are better than others.

We get mostly excellent reviews from our guests. Well we’ve also had a few bad reviews too, always from those obnoxious guests who look hard for something to complain about.  Our typical reviews are like this:-

Anthony is a fantastic host, we really enjoyed our time in Lissabon. The room was very clean and well organized. I will book Anthonys room again everytime I travel to Lissabon. Greetings from Germany!

Anthony

Response from Anthony: 
Thank you Paula for this great review. You were also great guests and I hope you will come again to my home. Hi to Leon also.

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When we get such reviews, I feel that all our efforts have been worthwhile. If we were to get many negative reviews I think I would throw in the towel and finish hosting altogether.
Goma will be the first family member to arrive here from Nepal. I or Kumar will meet her flight from Kathmandu at Lisbon Airport. I can’t wait. I get on famously with Goma and we love to chat and sip endless cups of tea together.
Kumar is well but seems to have some sort of eye infection. It could be too many hours on his laptop late at night. He is now working full time at a sushi & pizza restaurant in Belem (Bethlehem). Some nights he brings home delicious pizzas for me to eat next day. Yesterday he came home very early because of the hurricane approaching Lisbon. So instead of pizza, we shared a bottle of excellent, chilled, white wine. That guaranteed me a good sleep.

Welcome to Portugal

 

Will my neighbours think I’m crazy if ……

Another blog from:-     Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

Vineyards in Douro Valley

I don’t know what to do here. This afternoon the temperature reached 40c (104f) and these apartments became almost unbearable inside but tomorrow we might have 43c (110 f) and we have several elderly people who cannot dream of buying an air conditioner.  I’m thinking of putting up a notice in the hall downstairs to tell anybody that wants to come to sit in my apartment, they will be welcome.  I have a small air conditioner although that is struggling to keep our place cool in this awful heat. Many people have died across Europe this year because of the excessive temperatures. If I do put up the notice, maybe my neighbours will think I’m a bit ‘over the top’ or quite quirky. Well of course I’m not quite sure how to write such a notice in Portuguese language either.  Maybe I’ll just give it a miss.

I have experienced 48c when living In India and many years ago I spent a week in the United Arab Emirates when the daily temperature ranged from 44c to 48c but in these cases we had air conditioners in the hotel rooms to retreat to.

Well apart from the extreme temperature, all is going well here.  I had an ice cold beer with lunch today which I think was a mistake because it made me feel ever hotter. Tomorrow, no alcohol for me.

The picture at the top is not mine but it is of the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. The River Douro flows through the vineyard covered hills there. I wouldn’t mind living there and growing grapes. It will never happen. You know how I always dream.

A very rare journal entry

Sesimbra 1

A very rare journal entry from:-   Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

It’s been a while since I posted anything. Life has been terribly busy for me, mainly because 14 months ago I started hosting with AirBNB and apart from  two or three days, the rooms have been packed here.  It’s been an incredible experience for me and I’ve met some amazing and wonderful people along the way.  Well I’ve met maybe eight or ten pretty nasty types too but most guests have been fine and some have turned into great friends.  Hosting is very hard work if we do it well. I try my best to do it well.  We have guests of all sorts of descriptions and expectations. I think the most frustrating guests are those who expect five star hotel standards for just a few euros.  And I’ve also learned that no matter how hard we try, we cannot make bad guests happy. They will always find small things to complain about.  They are also usually the people who try to bargain down prices and pay as little as possible. These people don’t give good reviews.

I have four or five times had people crying when saying goodbye at my door. This has an amazing impact on me. Most people love staying here and find us superb hosts and this really surprises me because I don’t think of myself as a great host.  I am always just myself and try to welcome people as best I can.  I always think that I’m not cut out to be a host but it seems that I am, after all. We get mostly five star reviews (90% at present) and I am a ‘Superhost’

Since coming to live in the Lisbon area we have talked about better places to live. I do love this little apartment but I don’t like the area so much. I want to live somewhere less urban. We also have bad neighbours upstairs

Man upstairswho make no effort to control their two year old kid from running wild on the wooden floor above our heads and creating thunder for us for hours every day. And if I bang the ceiling to ask them to be quiet, they get very upset. Only they are allowed to make noise it seems. All other neighbours are friendly here.

The picture at the top of the blog is of a detached house for sale in a very desirable place called  Sesimbra,

Sesimbra-SeaBookingsabout an hour from here. It’s being sold for 329,000 euros which is just 291,00 UK pounds. I guess somebody will buy it for around 275,000 pounds. I wish I could win the lottery because I’d sure be grabbing that place. It has a great kitchen

Sesimbra 2  too so the girls would love it, when they get here.

And take a look at the sitting room. Sesimbra 5If I had that, I would change it to my style and it would look terrific. The only negative thing is that the swimming pool is a bit small but that wouldn’t worry me so much.

Well I have work to do now. I feel like sleeping. It must be that great red wine which Kumar forced me to drink with lunch today.

Just pausing from a lot of online work

Another blog from:-     Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

Portugal energy drink

I think I’m going to have to stop my online work for today. My eyes are getting sore and I need a walk I think.

It’s not often that I get some time to myself but today it  was possible because nobody was checking out and nobody checking in. My guests have gone sightseeing across the river so I have the place to myself. I love that.

I have spent the day working on Kumar’s contact lists for his new website. We’ve got to make a success of his new company. We need a cash injection right now. I bought four Toto Lotto tickets for Wednesday’s lottery and I always dream of winning.  They cost only ninety cents each and  a top prize would only be worth around 100,000 euros probably but we sure could use it right now.  My dream is to be able to send money to Luma in Nepal so that she and her sister can rebuild their two village homes which collapsed in the huge earthquake of two years ago. Sometimes I feel really helpless and useless. Anyway the most important thing is that nobody in our family was killed and everybody is still smiling in spite of this huge tragedy which hit the family two years ago. So many people  around us were killed when their homes came toppling down.  I was really proud of the girls immediately after the earthquake because they found any materials available and built a temporary home in an adjacent field and stayed there with my German Shepherd, Flocky, for six weeks. Because during those six weeks there were numerous aftershocks daily, some very strong.  I would have been terrified of the snakes because there are so many where we live. Take a look at the home they built:-

Emergency shelter after earthquake

We’ve come a long way since that awful day. Luma and the family are gradually collecting and borrowing money to rebuild their village homes. We now have a small apartment in Lisbon which will be our family home when they are able to come here. Thanks to AirBNB we are able to save some money in the bank. But my home is sure not a Utopia. We have neighbours from hell living upstairs and this is a constant cause of stress.  I wish we could afford to move to a peaceful house near Lisbon but far enough away to be surrounded by green trees and plants, with a good garden where I could have a greenhouse and grow all our own organic fruits and vegetables. So back to my dream about winning the lottery and the need for Kumar to make a success of his new company.

Anyway, enough online for today. I’m going to pour a glass of something good and watch the TV for a while.

Happy Easter to all my readers.

Listening to Modern Talking and remembering India. Surprise call from my oldest friend.

TAP Constellation

Another blog from:-           Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

I started this blog several days ago but had no time to finish it. I need to change it all now. Does anybody here remember Modern Talking ? I used to love their songs. Still do. I have been playing their albums recently and nostalging about my days in India, driving my 4 wheel drive around the Himalayan area, listening to Modern Talking cassettes. They were great days.

I have always loved aircraft, since I was a young child living not far from London’s Heathrow Airport. I lived along the London Road in Langley and I would go with my friend Stephen Roth, by bicycle to the airport to sit for hours watching the planes landing and taking off. My favourite plane was always the Lockheed Constellation (pictured above) and I would watch the ‘Connies’ for hours, never becoming bored. Air India, Qantas, BOAC,  TAP,  TCA and so many other carriers operated these famous planes. Funny that although I love planes, I hate flying in them. This is the main reason why I haven’t been to Bournemouth for so long. Kathmandu Airport saw yet another air crash two weeks ago when many people died.

The temperature is warming up in Lisbon now. Yesterday I regretted having worn my winter jacket and I carried a full backpack and another large bag up my mountain from the supermarket to home. We live atop a hill here and believe me, it’s a hard steep climb which always leaves me sweating and out of breath by the time I reach my apartment.

8:28 am on 28th March

It was impossible to finish my entry yesterday. I was tired after having to wake up at 3:45 am for departing guests. I fell asleep in my armchair after getting back home and just as I was waking up, my phone rang. It was a big surprise to hear my old friend Martin’s voice at the other end. Martin hasn’t phoned for a long time and I’m a writer, not a phone person at all, so we’ve been out of touch recently.  Anyway it was thrilling to chat to Martin after such a long time. We were best friends when we were young and went through so much together. We even went poaching more than once and had a narrow shave with the police on one occasion. I’ve been friends with Martin longer than any other friend so I’m always nostalging about those days when we were young and adventurous, daring and ridiculous on occasion.  It’s great to be in touch again.

I must go. I have a guest arriving from China this morning.

 

My recent news

Another blog from:                     Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk

Portugal-lagos8-1166x875

I pity everybody in northern Europe with all the wind, ice and snow. We’ve also had an unsettled period recently with plenty of rain which we were desperate for. This morning here in Lisbon we have bright sunshine and in a couple of weeks the weather should be getting much warmer. My new portable airconditioner will be delivered here on Tuesday,  just in time before the heat arrives. The above picture shows one of the beaches in Lagos in the Algarve area of Portugal.

The biggest news from here is that after a very long wait, Kumar is now officially a resident of Portugal and you can imagine how happy he is with that news. He has many places to visit soon, Nepal, Bournemouth, Switzerland, Germany etc. But he also wants to spend a lot more time with the business because there’s a limit to what I can do single handed.

Portugal-Sintra-Pena-Palace-4

Who has heard of Sintra ?  It’s a beautiful town just to the west of Lisbon and one of the highlights of any visit here.  All my guests make a visit there and this evening I will have two guests from Mexico City and they are on the way to Sintra right now.  It’s a place of castles, magical palaces, forest and hills, great restaurants, flowers and trees. Everybody loves Sintra.

Tomorrow we will have a guest from Malta, that’s a first.  With AirBNB we meet people from all around the world and earn a little money at the same time. It’s very hard work but I love it mostly.  I sure don’t enjoy hosting when we get the occasional bad guest(s) but those are rare.

Well now I must run. I have a lot of work to do and I have to go out to buy some bananas and potatoes.  I have to write to Tatiana in Moscow, Pipa in Bournemouth, Britta in Denmark and several more. I also have to clean the bathroom and cook some dalbhat for dinner tonight. I am really late with all my messaging these days so please bear with me if I am keeping you waiting..

LIfe is great.