Fly from a tattoo studio in Lisbon



How many times it happens that you are invited for dinner by your guests being a B&B-owner? Most of the time, I cook for my guests, but now it was the other way around.

For us it was the first time.

A very sweet gesture

They came for a few days, Mónica en Dira, and right away they were very enthousiastic about their house and about our little village. They wanted to flee from the big city.

They live close to the airport in Lisbon

Used to city noise, they came to chill on the countryside for a few days.

They don’t care so much about the few passing tractors.

It adds to the feeling

They are used to some noise with those planes coming and going.

Dira works at a company that trades in expensive brands of sunglasses. There are quite some ciganos in that neighborhood, and that gives situations like:

A man comes in, puts a  tennisball on the counter and says: “Give me a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses.” He doesn’t like to use lots of words. The ball is meant to be the pay for the glasses.  Diras collegue only needs 1 second, and says: “Desculpe, this is too much, I don’t have any change for that.”

The cigano is flabbergasted for a sec

but then he laughs loudly and says: “Hey, you’re a good guy!”

And while he walks away, he repeats again: “Yeah, yeah, a good guy.”

Everybody is relieved. You better not get into a fight with the ciganos.

If you don’t do what they want, they can be trouble.  Mónica knows them as well.

She runs a tattoo-studio

“You are so expensive”, they tell her, “Why do you ask so much money. For us you can do it cheaper, huh? Over there they only ask so much.”

“Ok, fine” Mónica answers without any hesitation, “so you go to over there? Here it is this much. Period.”

She knows all too well that if you leave 1 millimeter space for doubt or negociation, they will misuse that millimeter right away. And she doesn’t feel like tattooing all ciganos in the neighborhood for almost nothing.

We shiver and enjoy those big-city-stories under the marvellous dinner they prepared. Bacalhau (of course) but in a way that I don’t know yet, a gorgeous pasta, a salad (my favorite), portobellos in a wonderful creamy sauce …. the whole mesa-de-apoio is full with beautiful bowls full of food.

It seems to be too much

but when it’s good, everybody eats more than normal. We do quite well.

Broes and Hugo, my son and a friend of his,  Mónica and Dira speak really quickly, I can follow it somewhat. This slang is too much for me. And I can’t answer that quickly for sure. I can say things like “pois, pois” frivolously in a conversation, but something like “Pronto!” I still can’t handle naturally.

Pois means something like I say, wellwell, okay – and pronto is the spanish Vale, the french Tiens, the dutch jaja, ok, the german schon gut.

In your own language you can hear and recognize all slang, accents and dialects, but it is much more difficult in another language. I don’t hear if someone comes from Porto or Lisbon, north or south – they do. My sons as well, allthough they were not born here. Obviously it’s enough to go to school for a few years. You’ll learn much more than just the curriculum.

It is a nice topic

It doesn’t happen every day that we are able to exchange those ideas. Most of the time it is just a polite chat, nothing more.

This dinner was food for the body as well as for the spirit!



cigano – gypsy

desculpe – excuse me, sorry

mesa-de-apoio – side table