We are dog sitting for some friends in Figuiera, which is a little village about ten miles outside of Lagos; it's also where Max's school is, so if school were in session we could walk there, which would be very useful considering the state of the car (more on that later). In any case, Pica is a quirky Chihuahua (spelling?) who was a in a major snit when we first arrived. Even though she knows us, we are not her people and she was definitely NOT impressed. However, she recovered and let me take a few pictures of her. Max bribed her with wet food (she was definitely NOT going to eat the treat I offered her) and she thawed out. Then she decided that she likes sitting on Frank and has even decided that she would try to sleep in the bed with us. I have a cold and since I was coughing so much last night I went and slept in the kids' room. She was already in the bed, so I didn't kick her out. Chihuahuas can take up a lot of room when they want to!
It's really nice having the space of the house--we can even be in separate rooms if we want to--but the nicest thing is being the only people who ever use the bathroom. Frank is also very pleased to be able to take a bath again. Max actually took two baths in twelve hours, but he said he didn't use soap the second time. In any case, here are a few pictures of the house, although if I had really had my act together I would have picked up all our clutter first.
The only downside is that the washer is very quirky, which means that it is taking me an average of 2.5 days to do a load of laundry. To be fair, what takes a lot of time is waiting for stuff to dry, but I do miss our absolutely not-state-of-the-art-but-free washer and dryer on Behan Street. However, this is a quibble, really.
|Pica being annoyed that the paparazzi have found her|
|Mug shot (profile)|
|Trying to sweet talk the photographer|
|The kitchen window, stove, and dishwasher|
|Courtyard with cluttered table, lemon tree, and outdoor fireplace. There are no Christmas trees in Portugal, so we'll decorate the lemon tree.|
|Messy kitchen table|
|Master bedroom and door to bathroom|
|Loft bed with quilt hanging down (Max sleeps here). I don't know if you can see the railing, but he can't fall out.|
|Bea and Vasco's room (they are the kids who actually live in the house)|
|Looking out the door of the kids' room into the hallway|
|Courtyard with outdoor table and lemons hanging in the foreground|
We've been on two hikes around here since we've been here. Jade loves to hike and would be so happy in a house with lots of space for her to run around. Yesterday's hike was especially interesting because we had to break through the bamboo and the briars to get to the trail we needed. It was frustrating because we could see it but couldn't get to it and it was starting to get dark. We did finally make it, though. Max was a terrific hiker and never complained. Jade, of course, was ecstatic. Here are a few pictures from our hikes:
|Looking down from the cliff|
|Approaching the cliff|
|This looked like a fairy mound to me.|
|Happy happy dog|
|On the way home--beautiful light!|
|Cool-looking rock (Frank took this one)|
|Some sort of ruin that you can see from just outside the house|
|Heading back to the village.|
|Max checking for enemy forces|
|Max looking like a movie star|
|The toothless wonder!|
Now the bad news: Jade, unfortunately, is still looking for a home with more space. I so hate to see her go, but she really needs to be somewhere where she can run around and chase the birds.
The other piece of very bad news is that our cute little convertible has a cracked head gasket. We aren't sure yet whether we'll have to junk the car or not, but we are hoping to be able to find a used part. New ones are apparently very, very rare, as it's a very rare engine. In any case, we are out in the country without a car, so it's a bit inconvenient, but we will make it work. There are buses, of course, and Figuiera isn't very big, so it's not as if we are stuck.
The weather has been nice--not nearly as windy out here as it was in Lagos just before we left. Max is still playing soccer three times a week (or will be again in January), I videoed his end-of-term performance but it's a big file, so I have to figure out how to get it out. Maybe I'll break down and try YouTube.
In any case, that's about it from here! We hope you all have wonderful holidays!