Monday, October 17, 2011
Its been a busy week and weekend. The great late summer/fall weather continues to hold out.
Friday evening I went with Dr. Basto and his son to the Soccer Match. Portugal vs. Iceland. Portugal needed to win the game to continue qualifying for the EuroCup. It was my first soccer match and was a great time, especially when Portugal won 5-3. Goalll !!!
So where to go?.... I decided on a day trip to Aveiro, a small town south of Porto about halfway to Lisbon. According to the interwebs, its also known as the Venice of Portugal, so I thought why not check it out. The trains were super easy and there was a 30 min express train from Campanha. I took the 11:30 train after getting in my sleep requirements after the game. As I take my seat, I hear an older couple speaking English. I turn around and ask if they are from the US. Turns out not only are they from the US, but from South Carolina. It was great to meet some other southerners, and kind of random. We talk during the ride down about med school and their lives. They offer to buy me lunch in Aveiro...sweet. We explore the town and canals together. The lady keeps making me stop and take pictures for my mom. They had to be back in Porto earlier so I head to the tourist office to see what else there is to see. Turns out there are walking tours for 5 euros and they will do one for a single person. Turns out the guy runs it as a small business out of his house and whenever someone wants a tour the office call him up to come. Since I had walked around the city, I pick the salt making tour. Aveiro is also where all of the salt comes from in Portugal. The tour consists of a walk out into the marshes and the salt farm with various evaporating pools. A great idea for a nature lover like me. After the windy and salty tour, I head back into town, walk around, and have dinner before taking the train back to Porto.
So once again I am supposed to meet up with another erasmus student on Sunday after his meeting. He is not sure when it gets out, and will plan on meeting me out in the city. On the list for the day go visit the stock exchange palace and explore some more. I arrive there 15 mins before the next English tour, perfect timing. The palace is extraordinary, however they don't let you take pictures inside which is a bust. After the tour, I decide to get some lunch. I walk by this restaurant which is in a courtyard and has a menu displayed. Frango Asado Sandwich which is a grilled chicken sandwich, perfect for lunch. I start walking to a table when this sweet old Portuguese lady hands me a menu and grabs me to come with her. It turns out the menu I was reading on the street was for her restaurant, which is also in the courtyard and consists of a few tables and chairs. The place where I was going to sit is a large corporate place that built their restaurant in front of her's. When I order the sandwich she tries to explain that they are out and do I want grilled chicken with potatoes instead. All I understood was they are out of potatoes. We try to figure each other out for a few minutes, me in English then broken Spanish, and her in Portuguese. Her daughter eventually comes over and explains. The food is good, but as usual not spicy enough for me. Good thing I brought Tabasco from the US.
I spend the rest of the day walking along the river and then across into Gaia, this is after watching some of the Portuguese youth jump from the bridge into the river for fun a few times. Once in Gaia, there are a bunch of street vendors selling crafts. Great place to get gifts. I spend the evening just relaxing on the river and having dinner and drinks before heading back. However, it was odd that the waiter asked if I was eating lunch at 630pm. Turns out dinner is much later here in Portugal and people generally stay out late after since most people don't have to go to work until 10. Doesn't work so well when you have to leave for the hospital at 7:30. I never did meet up with the other student, guess I got ditched again.
The work week went by pretty fast. We had a lot of new admits this week which made things interesting. I even got to take the H&P for one of them since she understood English. The Portuguese med students would translate for me to help out. I also did my first successful ABG on one of our patients this week. All of the patients are really nice, and I have picked up enough Portuguese to say hello each morning, ask if there is any pain (useful for physical exam time), take a deep breath, again, and see you later.
On Wednesday, I got out to dinner with the Team. They used to have group dinners all of the time, but this was the first in 6months. Perfect timing for me. I spend the afternoon with Flavio, the Portuguese med student on my team in the city checking out Servalles, a contemporary museum with extensive gardens. It's free with a student ID, but we had to take the bus there which is the only downside. We talk and walk through the gardens where I proceed to pick oranges off the tree and eat them, as he tells me, "you are going to get sick." I also eat some chestnuts that have recently fallen from the tree. Luckily I didn't get sick. We leave and meet up with some of the other visiting med students that I meet at the meeting last week for a few drinks and go back to get ready for the 9pm dinner. I am going to meet Flavio and the med student from the team next to mine at the hospital and we will carpool to the restaurant. I get out at the hospital, and oh great. The phone wont make calls or let me text, and gives me some recording in Portuguese. Luckily after walking around aimlessly I see them in the car. Turns out the phone is out of money, guess I should not have sent all of those international texts.