June 23: Surfing Day Two & São João Festival

"Are we going surfing now?"

"Are we going surfing now?"

I woke up early in the morning to soft sounds of the chickens cooing and the ducks swimming around in the little pond outside my bedroom window. 

Ze and I packed up the pups into the surf van and drove to the beach. It was only us this time and I didn’t catch a single wave but I was happy to be in the water.

At one point Ze turns to me as we’re sitting in the line up and says,

“Leah, sharks. You afraid of?”

I was silent.

“Umm. Why…? Not really.”

Ze laughed, “just asking.”

We only surfed for about an hour.

“Conditions aren’t good,” Ze said.

Fine with me, at least we tried, and my shoulders were aching.

I went to the outdoor shower to rinse off and to take off the wetsuit.

But then I realized, my arms just were NOT working. My muscles were so sore that I did not have the strength to pull the wetsuit off from over my elbows.

It was stuck on my arms right below my shoulders which meant I could not lift my arms at all.

I was tiredly flailing around like a t-rex.

Mehhhhrrrrr. -Slow Stuck Arm Flaps-

Guess I’m going home like this.

Two Portuguese ladies were watching me and laughing hysterically.

I started laughing too and then I made eye contact with one of them.

She asked in Portuguese if I needed help.

Yes…I definitely need help.

She peeled the wetsuit off as I slowly pulled my left arm out of it and then did the same thing to the other arm as we both laughed and grunted my way to freedom.

Ah ha! Finally.


I was able to get off the rest of it but the damn thing always gets stuck around my right ankle.


Then Ze and I walked the doggies on the beach and went home.

I did yoga under the cork tree to ease my shoulder pain and then took an outdoor shower again. Made another omelet…you know the drill.

In the evening, a couple arrived to stay in one of the other rooms. They were eight months pregnant with their first baby and enjoying a little getaway weekend.

Then Joana and Ze invited me out with them to go to São João.

São João is the biggest festival of the year in Porto. It is the celebration of their patron saint which starts with carnival style food followed by fireworks and partying for a full 24 hours afterwards. Oh also, people smack you on top of the head with toy hammers and then hit you in the face with dried herbs and garlic bulbs.


To keep the evil spirits away of course.


Joana bopping people on the head

Joana bopping people on the head

I was already starting to feel a little sick but it still sounded like fun so I said I would join.

Plus, Joana said,

“Don’t worry. We won’t stay out that late.”

We came home at 1:30 am.

Which is not that late for the Portuguese but, pretty late for this girl.

Don’t judge me. I like my sleep.

It was nice to see how much fun Joana was having while the rest of us tried to hold it together.

The fireworks were nice but they played American songs which everyone thought was strange.

I was happy to spend a special holiday with my local Porto family.