Stuck In A Lift At 2.30am With Four Drunken Geordies
Have you ever been stuck in a lift at 2:30am with 4 drunken Geordies? No? Well, I’d highly recommend it. If you’d indulge me, I’d like to tell you of how we became stuck in this predicament.
It all started on Thursday 4th April 2013. Newcastle United were in Lisbon to play Benfica in the Europa League. We’ve had some amazing away trips in recent years (type in “drunk Geordie sings Coloccini song” into Youtube. It’s my uncle doing karaoke in Swansea in April of 2012. He was drunk. I nearly died laughing. Here (below) is a photo of myself and my brother.
We can’t really breathe, we were laughing so much. I’m the one who has collapsed from laughing, my brother’s the one who’s having the heart attack), so expectations were high for this one. New country for me, new stadium for all of us (I think) and good times a plenty.
Anyway, I digress. We flew from Manchester airport early Thursday morning, strolling past the plebs who didn’t opt for fast boarding or whatever it’s called. Everything from then on was hunky dory, get into Faro airport fine. Now, we get to the passport control, and lo and behold, the people have been replaced by machines. In theory, a great idea. In practice, when a plane containing the odd drunken Geordie turns up, not such a great idea. One man in particular, my God, he approaches the machine, which was already quite troublesome for the many holidaymakers already, and puts his passport in upside down, backwards, on the wrong page. Every possible incorrect way, he did this, until finally he gets through the first gate. You could hear everybody behind him let out a sigh of relief. Until he shouted, “Tonight Matthew, I’m gonna be…”, not realising he had another gate and check to do…
Driving from Faro to Lisbon was fine, I was in my shorts and t-shirt, enjoying the 15 degrees Toon summer like weather that Lisbon was experiencing. Until it started raining, so I sadly had to change into my jeans out of practicality, leaving my ambition by the wayside. We get into our hotel which is right next to a metro station and make our way to the city centre for lunch. As first impressions go, Lisbon: you fail.
Within seconds of leaving the metro station, we were offered coke by a 15 year old, crack by a 30 year old, and a huuuuge bag of weed by a pensioner with no top on. Crazy. I’d go back there in a heartbeat if all the people buggered off, like Liverpool. We even saw a girl with only one arm, who one of us gave a euro to. She then walks over to one of the drug dealers, gives the money to him, high-5s him (with her one remaining arm, clearly).
The thing with our football trips is that, more often than not, the match becomes an irrelevance (mainly cos we lose, a lot, but we’re not jinxes by any means). We lost the match 3-1 but that doesn’t matter too much in terms of how enjoyable this trip was. Before the match, to ramp up the atmosphere and as a sign of ‘fate’ or whatever, a bald eagle is flown around the Benfica stadium, and if it lands on a certain spot, then Benfica will win. So of course it lands on the certain spot and of course Benfica win. Oh well… After the match had finished and we had some food, we settled in the Hard Rock Café like any tourist would, and enjoyed some good music and a few cocktails.
The next day, we were up early-ish to travel back down the Portuguese coast to Faro. Getting into the hotel there, we learn that my uncle, who had organised it all masterfully up until now, had in fact booked us in for the previous night. So, with some negotiating, he gets the 4 of us rooms for the night, upgraded from the ones we would have had, only paying a bit extra on top of the previous fees. Well worth it I’d say. Faro is really where the story gets going though. After finding a beautiful bar on the city walls overlooking the sea, and drinking some caiprinhas while getting a bit of a tan on, dearest uncle again had a fantastic idea of doing a boat tour of the coast.
Ok, bird-watching on a footy trip isn’t quite what I signed up for, but we went along with it. Before getting on the boat, I thought it my duty to buy at least one round on the trip, so I did. Luckily, it only came to 6, yes 6 euros. And that wasn’t even the cheapest round of the night, but more on that later. Anyway, realising that the boat we were getting to an island which was “one of THE places to see in the Algarve” was going to be the last one of the day, we decided to do what all Geordies would do in that situation. Upon arriving at the island, we ran off the boat, straight to the bar, got in some beers, ran back to the boat and relaxed, having seen all we needed to see. The overall turnaround of boat-pint-boat was about 90 seconds, which is pretty impressive, even for a Geordie’s standards.
After being joined by some of our pals who got the train down instead of a rent-a-lack-of-legroom, we went in search for some authentic Portuguese cuisine, which we found on the off-chance in a small, quiet restaurant off the beaten track somewhat. Great food, nice owner, the evening seemed to be progressing well. Until some pretty rough looking Geordies walk in, one of them going (in a Geordie accent, obviously) “ee, what are ye deeing here?!”, rather aggressively. One of our party of 5 (sadly one of the pair who joined us in Faro had to abandon evening festivities due to illness. She didn’t miss much…) got pretty annoyed about this, and started mumbling to us about fighting them if anything kicks off. That is, up until he goes to the toilet and, upon his return, is stopped by one of the hard-arse Geordies commenting about his t-shirt, which was a Rush t-shirt (a Canadian prog-rock band, seen in I Love You, Man, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel). Suddenly these aggressive, drunken louts were now best friends, or Rush W***ers as the rest of us called them. How things can change in a blink of an eye.
Maybe it was the amazing Portuguese cuisine, the great atmosphere created by the Rush W***ers, or the wine; actually, it was definitely the wine, but we were all having a class time. At the dinner table, we decided to play a tongue-twister drinking game we call Mrs Higgledy-Piggledy. It may go by a different name to you, but that’s what we call it. Anyway, you have to recite a 9-stage tongue-twister, stage by stage all the way through, drinking when you make a mistake and restarting at the stage you made an error at.
It goes like this: “One fat hen; A couple of ducks; Three Brown Bears; Four running hares; Five fat females fixing for a fight; Six Sicilian seamen sailing the seven seas; Seven sleek sheep slitters skilfully slitting sheep; Eight: I’m not a pleasant pheasant plucker, I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate, I only pluck the pheasants when the pleasant pheasant plucker’s late; Nine: Mrs Higgledy-Piggledy has a square-cut punt, not a punt cut square but a square-cut punt. Round in the middle, square at the front, Mrs Higgledy-Piggledy has a square-cut punt.” Saying this as fast as possible, especially when even the slightest bit tipsy, is hard, but so very funny. I’d strongly recommend it.
From the restaurant, we wondered the streets of Faro for a bit, stumbling upon a student festival outside a church. Yeah! Students! Booze and debauchery and stuff! No. Portuguese students prefer to recite poetry and crap like that for their parties. As lame as it sounds, I managed to buy possibly the cheapest round of drinks I’ll ever buy. €2.80 for 4 beers, not pints, but y’know, that’s amazing no matter how you look at it. So in total, I bought two rounds consisting of 4 beers each, and still got change from €10. Economic 😉
The student festival thing was pretty timid really, so we headed back to the bar on the city walls, which was now heaving and had a live band playing, consisting of a guitarist who thought he was far, far better than he really was, and a female singer who was, well, suitable for the venue. Now, there’s a phenomena that I only really noticed here, but in fact it is a worldwide thing: if a Shania Twain song comes on, be it band or DJ, women in their late 30s-mid 50s just appear out of nowhere and dance. Remarkable.
Leaving the bar at 2ish in the AM, we started the walk back to the hotel, passing by a park on the way. Only, this wasn’t a park. It was an outdoor gym, with cross trainers and arm thingies and other gym stuff. So, being pretty merry, but not smashed, well one of us was, we decided to have a bit of a late night/early morning workout. After satisfying our inner child, something inside us possessed the 5 of us to samba through the streets of Faro all the way back to the hotel.
I can’t comment on how good we were, but we were loud enough to seem amazing. Reaching the doors of the hotel, we stop samba-ing and start walking, as if everything was normal. Getting into the lift, we wait until the doors close, and start samba-ing again, lift shaking. One of us, who shall remain anonymous (though you can see him on the front of the Chronicle whenever something good happens to NUFC) thought it hilarious to jump and stomp on the floor, stopping the lift before we even reached the first floor. Black.
I do believe this is where I started this story. 5 of us, myself included, stuck in a lift at 2:30am in Faro. We burst out laughing, and I decide to stopwatch how long we were stuck for. It felt like hours. One of the more senior members of the group, seeing certain death on the horizon, got very angry indeed, shouting at us for wasting oxygen for laughing so much and samba-ing further in this time of crisis.
Three and a half minutes almost exactly. Doors open and a very disgruntled female receptionist stands, probably swearing at us in Portuguese, staring into our souls as we try not to laugh. Of course, once we get to the first floor, we samba up the stairs again.
A perfect end to a rather good trip.
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