From Bubblegum to Cough Syrup

Remember my story about the obnoxious shower gel I bought at the very beginning of my stay here in Lisbon? (see link at the end of this entry). Well I finally finished the damn bottle. It took me a while and I used most of it for washing my clothes to speed up the process, but it is finally dead and burried. So it was with great anticipation that I chose a new shower gel. It sounds so trivial and you are probably wondering what the big deal is about a shower gel. But hear me out for a second – showers are more than a quick dash under the water for me. At the end of the day, I like to feel and believe as though I am washing away the stress, trials and tribulations with a calming and relaxing dialogue between body, water and soap. We all have our bathing ceremonies and quirks, and for me the shower gel has to speak to my senses, and not just get me clean.

I figured it is spring time after all, the season for cherry blossoms, magnolias, tulilps, and hints of summer. How could I possibly go wrong with pommengranate and black berries? Ho boy… It’s a good thing I bought a small bottle this time because what assaulted my nostrils was not the gentle scent that I expected, but a bizarre aroma that made me wonder whether I had fallen into a giant tub of Strepsils cough drops. Yup, chalk this bottle up as another froggy blooper. OK, having learned from previous experiences, I decided to wash a couple shirts with the offending red liquid, but the longer I washed the blouse, the stronger the smell and after two minutes I could have sworn I was washing clothes with Benadryl cough syrup. I’ll try and add some essential oils into it to temper the obnoxious smell, but I am terrified of ending up with another bubblegum concoction. I will find that perfect shower gel eventually, it just have to go througha few duds first.

Surprisingly there was no rain this weekend here in Lisbon. The skies were still overcast but at least the sun came out. Alas, I spent most of the time in bed with a cold. I suppose it was my body’s way of telling me that I need to slow down and let all my systems catch up. So i spent a little time tending to my hydroponic garden. Most of the cuttings I was given almost four weeks ago have sprouted roots and I have sperated them into individual bottles. It is such a joy to watch them grow and multiply along the window sill. I now have a small batallion of containers standing guard, which I am so proud of and make me smile each time i glance over. Except that the cleaning lady doesn’t seem to agree with my set-up. She comes into my room once a week and I always know when she’s interfered with my plants. It’s a battle of the wills, and the containers are lined pretty much like the cars are parked around town – so close to each other that not even a fly would fit between them!

This is the same cleaning lady who commits routercide each time her mop knocks over the router, effectively rendering the entire floor incommunicado. It is a good thing I don’t work from “home” or I would be freaking out each time General Bucket and Admiral Mop came knocking. Never a dull moment around here I tell you. Oh, and if you don’t label your food that you place in the common fridge, it gets summarily thrown out after 48 hours. I forgot to write my name on my bread last week, and was pretty shocked to find a very empty and hollow fridge on Friday. Gaaaah!

Hostel life continues to thrive with characters, but the most recent batch of inmates, oops, I mean guests, have bordered on the psycho, with loud temper trantrums and door slamming in the middle of the night, not to mention the distraught travelers arriving at odd hours in search of bedspace. You hear all languages around here, a lot of it familiar but ocassionally there will be a strains of a language I have never heard before. I can’t even say that these are all young backpackers because quite a few of them are middle-aged to seniors passing through on yet another adventure.

Stay tuned as i embark on Week 5 in Lisbon.

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  1. I’m impressed you are staying so long in a hostel. I don’t think I could handle it myself – too stressful. Or maybe it wouldn’t be, I don’t know. I haven’t stayed in one since my mid 20s. My kids love them and always stay in hostels when they’re on the road. You know you don’t have to suffer crummy shower gel if you don’t want to. I give you permission to pour lousy personal care products down the drain. They don’t give out certificates for eeking value out of stinky shower gel!

    1. Thank you so much for reading, following and enjoying the blog and my adventures! Yes, there are indeed days I wish I was trudging home to my own four walls, but this hostel adventure is part of the whole inculturation package. I think it will make me appreciate my new home even more. I think what helps is that it reminds me so much of my college dorm life and all those times I spent in a monk’s cell on retreat. Cheers!

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