Adventure or Goat Rope?

image  A graphic demonstration of Portugal’s might.

When my older brother is confronted with a situation that is all mucked up (or words to that effect), he often refers to it as a goat rope.  Usually, these types of situations arise when the people responsible for some seemingly simple task just aren’t up to it.  They make it so unnecessarily complicated that anyone watching it, or effected by it, ends up shaking his or her head in disgust.

I, on the other hand, try to see the humor in these situations; I like to think of them as presenting an adventure . . . perhaps an adventure into someone else’s twisted logic, but an adventure all the same.

This morning, Michael and I decided that we would like to go to the Maritime Museum out in Belem.  We verified that it was open today, today being a holiday.  We verified, we thought, that public transportation was operating today.  We headed off from the hotel around 10:15 a.m.  Had a nice stroll in a light shower down to Rossio Square where we were going to catch a #15E tram to Belem.  We had our bus passes.  We were prepared.

Quite a long line, or mass, of people were waiting at the tram stop.  We pushed in and joined them and then waited.  In thirty minutes not a single tram or bus passed our way.  People who had been there longer than we, left the queue and headed across the street where the taxis were waiting.  We did not leave.  We continued to wait.  We are idiots.

After another five or ten minutes, we decided to walk down to the water front where there is another tram stop.  Lo and behold!  As we approached the tram stop, a #15E pulled in.  We hopped on and swiped our cards.  We sat smugly in comfy seats thinking how we had outsmarted all those folks still back at the stop at Rossio.  The tram accelerated away from the stop and took us right back to Rossio, where the driver stopped it about 50 feet short of our first waiting point and made everyone on the tram get off.  The tram pulled up to the stop and let everyone at the stop on, plus those of us who had been rousted out mere moments before.

The tram was packed.  It became even more packed at each subsequent stop.  Backpacks were bashing into the heads of those seated. Cameras were clunking people as the tram swung around corners.  And then, god knows where, the tram swung into a place that looked like the final resting place of old trams and stopped.  The driver came through and indicated that we all had to get off.  He pointed to a street behind us.  When we got to the street, we saw a bus waiting at the next intersection.

A mad scramble ensued as we realized that this bus represented our best chance of getting to our destination. Michael and I were almost the last people who could wedge ourselves onto the bulging bus.  After another ten or fifteen minutes, we were happy to see that we had, indeed, made it to Belem.  Total transport time: One hour and forty-five minutes.

I’m happy to report that someone must have roped the goat by the time we finished with the museum and had a bite of lunch because there were no hiccups on the ride back downtown. So, goat rope or adventure?  Michael is leaning towards goat rope but I’m still trying to think of it as an adventure in public transportation.


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