If you missed part one, you can read it here.
So before I get into the latter half of the Loulé story, let me set the stage for you again: We’re legit in the middle of nowhere, no transportation, staying with a French couple, who speak basically no English, and their fifteen-year-old daughter who interpreted as best she could when she was there.
The best way for us to communicate was through acting as if we were playing charades. For example, trying to explain how terrifying the first night was by reenacting us running around and dogs chasing us. They found this amusing.
This was basically how our entire stay was. Us speaking in English, them pretending to understand, and then them speaking in French. Then they would laugh at us, I would laugh back to make them think I knew a couple words of French, Meghan would get annoyed with me pretending to know French, and the cycle continued.
Did I mention we still hadn’t figured out how to tell them that I was Casey, and not Meghan? They would direct a question towards me, call me Meghan and then the actual Meghan would answer. I would imagine that their minds were in about as much of a pretzel as ours.
No more fish –
After sensing our first night was less than stellar they offered to do a BBQ for dinner the second night. This sounded awesome! Stephan (the Dad) asked me to come to the store with him to split the cost of the food. We got into the Accord, he lit up a cigarette, I cranked down my window and we were just a couple of dudes on the road. We got to the grocery store and he asked how many fish we wanted (they were about the size of a trout) so I said that Meghan and I would have three.
I should have been suspicious when he bought 13.
We arrived home, grabbed some beers, played darts and ate some tasty Portuguese snacks. Then it was dinner time. Their daughter was at work so it was just the four of us for dinner and he threw all 13 fish on his coal grill. When they were done, he put two whole fish on each of our plates (heads and everything) and said “bon appetite”! Can we have this deep fried, please?
Okay, so those two weren’t bad. We drank another bottle of wine and I thought we were done. Then Stephan brought out seven more fish.
Without even asking, he put two more on my plate and even after a few very polite, “no thank you’s”, Meghan got another one as well. I explained in my best, hand-motion, game-of-charades, way that I wasn’t hungry and he gave me a look like I ripped his heart out. But being the people pleaser that I am, I sucked it up and continued eating until all that remained were bones. All-in-all I ate four entire fish, plus a bag of chips to mask the taste. Meghan almost threw up.
Portuguese Brandy –
So the same night of the fish supper, and since Stephan and I were now buddies, we decided to have a little party. Let me start by saying drink for drink with a Frenchman, living in Portugal, who served in the military, used to drive semi-trucks full of acid, and makes his own liquor was not a good idea.
This trip for Meghan and I has been relatively tame from a drinking perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I think we drink every day, but it’s normally no more than two drinks each. Well, I had already had six beers before dinner this night.
Once the fish started rolling at dinner I had to start chugging wine so Stephan and I drank two bottles. At this point I’m feeling “lit” as the kids would say. Alright, probably time for bed.
That is until he mentioned he makes his own liquor in the backyard and asked me to try it. People-pleaser can’t say no.
So he goes around back and grabs something that looks like a water cooler you would have in an office. Inside smells like a mix of gasoline, nail polish and death. He smiled and told me that it was Portugese Brandy. In his broken English he told me I must “experiment” by having a shot with him. After one shot he told me I needed another to truly “experiment”.
This is the face of a man after drinking six beers, a bottle of wine and two shots of Portuguese Brandy.