Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Adventures in Portugal: The First Rule of Time Travel

The first rule of time travel is always determine your space/time location immediately upon arrival at a new location. At least according to To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. It's pretty good advice.
I did try to follow that rule. I looked at my phone and trusted the time it said. Turns out, it's an hour ahead of what the ACTUAL time is. Which is why I got to the University of Lisbon an hour sooner than I should have, and after waiting half an hour....

All right, I'll start this story in order. There were no significant problems with my flights. I discovered that Madrid's airport is like a mall, with lots of skylights. The terminal where my flight was wasn't quite as nice, and all the food shops were over in the central part, so I just got a snack from a vending machine while I waited for the flight to Lisbon. I met a nice lady who was on my same flight, and we found the gate together. We got to Lisbon yesterday afternoon and my landlord's son was waiting for me at the airport after I found my suitcase, so I got to my house without any problems. I was able to buy groceries and get everything unpacked, then I read until it was time for bed. I set my alarm for 7am and went to sleep. It was darker than I expected when I got up, but I ate breakfast and read a bit before I set out to find the metro. I got turned around slightly and walked several blocks in the wrong direction before I asked for directions. When I finally found the metro station, it was easy enough to buy a ticket and I got myself to the University at what I thought was the right time. Because I trusted my cell phone's clock. I waited half an hour for my tutor, and I eventually decided I'd better go back to my house so I could send her an email. Which I did. Of course, I came out a different exit than I'd gone in once I got back to my metro station, so I got slightly turned around again, but I eventually found my house. Which is a good thing. As soon as I walked in the door, my phone rang. It was 10:52 according to my phone and my tutor wanted to know where I was, because now she had been waiting for me for nearly half an hour. So I reset my watch to match the real time, then I head back out to the metro and make it to the University by 10:30. Time travel. Don't ask me why I didn't recognize the clocks in the metro station and realize what had happened sooner. The worst part was realizing that I had really woken up at 6am. I'll change my alarm tomorrow. Sleep is important.
My tutor, like everyone else I've met so far, was very nice and understanding, and she showed me where our classroom is and she gave me a test so she could measure my Portuguese skills. Then we got a snack in the cafĂ© and we took care of some things, like getting the paperwork started on my metro card, which will let me buy much cheaper tickets. I had to take some pictures for that, and for my student card, which I'll get tomorrow, and so I used one of those photo booths. It was simple enough and the photo is possibly better than the one on my drivers' license. I'll have to compare later. I'll go pick up the card tomorrow. The university also provided me with a sim card that I can use to make local calls, which will be convenient. My landlord is going to bring me a cell phone that I can use with that sim card so I can keep my other phone for texting back to the states.
When I got back to my house, I was pretty tired, so I took a nap. I think I'll still be able to sleep tonight. Hopefully I'll be adjusted to the time difference by the end of the week.
The next thing on my to-do list is to buy some sunglasses. It's very sunny here, and I think I'll avoid lots of headaches if I can protect my eyes from the glare. I'll have to buy some more food eventually, but I have enough to last me a couple of days. Well, that's it