the week started with the kind of deep house cleaning that you only see when guests are coming: windows, balconies, cupboards… the works!
then we took a 7 hour train heading north, which was nice and i did lots of reading. this week, i started and finished “the fault in our stars” (which seems like everyone but me has read by now) and i also started and finished the second book of “the scum villain’s self-saving system“, a series that continues to be entertaining. at the same time, i’ve been making slow progress on “country driving”, a book about china. i find myself impatient with longer books, my brain looking everywhere for action and quick dopamine. but i try to persevere. the reward are passages like these, which delight my heart in their deja vu feeling:
“After fifteen miles we crested a hill and saw a line of hundreds of vehicles stretching all the way to the horizon — Jeeps, Jeetas, Santanas, Liberation trucks. Nobody was moving, and everybody was honking; an orchestra of horns blared into the wind. Never had I imagined that a traffic jam could occur in such a desolate place.
We parked the City Special and continuend on foot to the gridlock, where drivers explained what had happened. It all started with a few trucks whose fuel lines had frozen. The trucks stalled, and then other vehicles began to pass them on the two-lane road. While passing, they occasionally encountered an oncoming car whose driver didn’t want to budge. People faced off, honking angrily while more vehicles backed up; eventually it became impossible to move in either direction. Potential escape routes along the shoulder were quickly jammed by curb-sneaking drivers. A couple of motorists with Jeep Cherokees had taken advantage of their rear-wheel drive by embarking off-road; usually they made it about fifty yards before getting stuck. Men in loafers slipped in the snow, trying to dig out City Specials with their bare hands.”
time here in the north is mostly spent with family, in shared meals, doctor appointments, and construction visits. also, catching up with this cutie pie, who has just celebrated 6 months!
we also stayed with a few friends in marinha grande, because this weekend was the tree plantation event we always attend in the pinhal de leiria! a nice sunny day, filled with the hard work of getting trees in little holes on the ground. this year, over 3000 of them got planted, helped in part by 2 professional planters hired by quercus. they were so fast!
our arms and back hurt quite a bit from all that effort, so we took it easy afterwards, doing some sightseeing in leiria and learning the basics of chess, something we’d been meaning to do for ages. although we’re very much newbies, we didn’t lose the first game!