Portugal: Day Four (quatro dia)
The day I’ve been waiting for since well before we left: our first Portuguese Gym Day. John had tried explaining how different this gym was from any gym I’d been to before, and especially different from the FH (oh FIELDHOUSE, How I miss thee!!!!). John had showed me which alleyway it was down, but I actually hadn’t seen it yet (how exciting…!). We met Ken & Bobby at their apartment at 11:00ish. I had packed all my shower stuff (I get to workout AND have a hot shower? BEST DAY EVER) and I was ready to lift. We walk the few short blocks to the alleyway. On the street-side is the gym-owner’s restaurant (he also owns a construction company). His name is Ernesto, but everyone calls his Ernes (pro. Er-neshhhh). Up the alley is a big parking lot and a teeny-tiny square building with a low-flat roof. It says fitness on the front, so I guess this is it. Imagine the littlest YMCA you’ve ever been to and then take out any walking space. Then put in into a foreign country and take all the women out of it. That’s almost what this is like.
Ernes actually looks like a gym-owner; short (like pretty much everyone in this village) and ripped up. He says it’s no problem for me to work out there, but he wants to make sure I am going to work out with John. There is one foam roller that’s actually not made out of foam, and not really any space to use it. John uses it first while Bobby and I run around the block to warm-up. There are a few bikes and one treadmill. John first told me when I wanted to run in Povoacao that I might be able to use the one treadmill at the gym. #ididntcometoportugaltoruninside . John set up a five-exercise-circuit for us, and we did 4 rounds at 10 reps each. For those of you FH diehards who are dying to know we did: front squats or goblet squats, curl-squat-press, alternating DB press, maxed out on pull ups (and those are almost-real-pull-ups as there is nothing to jump-pull from…!), and SB leg curls. While there are mirrors in this teeny-tiny place, it is so humid and there are so many people inside, they are actually fogged-up beyond use. I am the beastiest girl in the place, which I am not actually used to. In the FH, most of us sweat like men and we all work our tails off. I did 7 almost-real pull ups and felt manlier than everyone except for the soccer players I came with. And not in the good way when I feel like a beast at the FH.
I finally made it to the shower, and discovered that the handheld shower head has nowhere to hang from the wall. “That’s ok, at least there is hot water!” I thought to myself. Wrong again, young and naïve self, wrong again. Cold water, but I forced myself to shave my legs anyway. If I’m going to go beast-mode and have hairy eyebrows and crazy hair, I must have smooth legs. I suffered through my shower and made it back outside to meet the guys.
John and I stopped at Pic-Nic (of course) on our way home for some coffee and wifi. We had our first Portuguese meal: Omeleta Fiambre (eggs and ham, which is served with salad and white rice) and a hot dog which they call cachorro (translation: puppy) covered in ketchup, mayo, onions, and batata (potato) sticks.
When we finally walked home, we saw that the nail salon was open. We met our landlord, Carla, who was hanging out with Ernes’ wife, Lina. She is incredibly nice—I told her I desperately need my eyebrows waxed and she said she will knock on my door when she is done and she will take care of me. We also tell her our propane problems—John cannot go and refill the propane tank like I asked him to, because apparently it is too heavy. #thingsidontneedtoknow She says she will call someone and it will show up on our door. Which it does. She also gave us the password for her wifi from the nail salon, which works almost all of the time in our apartment. This effectively limits the time we will spend in the guys’ apartment.
Poor Carla. When she does knock on our door at 7:00pm, one eye is puffy and red and she is apologizing profusely. While giving her last client of the day a refill, she got acrylic powder in her eyeball and must go to the medical center ASAP. She says she will come over the next day.
John goes back to speak with Ernes at the gym who tells John he will hire him to teach group exercise classes next door to the gym, above the restaurant he also owns. The space (I’m told) is big and has some equipment (dumbbells, stability balls) already inside of it. Last year, a woman taught some classes up there that were quite popular. John comes home with the promise to start next Monday and will be paid 10 euro a class. #weneedincome
After his successful meeting with Ernes, and successfully installing the propane tank that was delivered to our door thanks to Carla, we find Serenela and Marcel (from Mira Mar) in our rua. Serenela explains, with Marcel’s help, that we have been allotted 75 euros a week to spend on groceries. This sounds reasonable enough, so we walk with her to the market underneath the guys’ apartment so she can buy us all groceries. Once inside, we come to the understanding that the 75 euros are not just for John and myself (and Romeo) but ALL of the American players. Not including Romeo, there are six mouths to feed. After some budget discussion, and talk of how the boys had been spending about 180 euros every 10 days before this newly imposed budget, John and I add a few essentials (as we have gone shopping for ourselves a few times already) to their cart and after Serenela pays for us, we take our groceries home.
While I work furtively on my blogging skills, John goes to practice then celebrates a teammates’ birthday down at Cesar’s (across from Pic-Nic) and comes home to what? #riceandbeans