Yesterday marked the third time that I was walking from my shower to my bedroom and I encountered a woman unexpectedly in my in my hallway. The first time was a woman that I’d never seen before and haven’t seen since, the second was my landlady’s mom (whose name I really need to learn), and yesterday was my landlady, Margarida. I would expect a woman who encountered a man in a towel in a house that she didn’t live in to react by saying something like, “Oh my goodness, I’m sorry!” and promptly leave. However, they usually go something like this: “Oh hi, Ben! How are you? How was your trip? Boy, the weather’s sure getting warm, isn’t it?” Yesterday I responded enough to not seem rude, but got away from the situation as quickly as I could quite puzzled by the fact that I had felt super-awkward while Margarida didn’t seem to care that I was nearly naked.
I was explaining this to Ana at school yesterday and she thought it was way weird that Margarida and her mom were in the apartment so much. I explained to Ana that there is a bodega in the hallway. She responded by saying, “They store wine in your apartment?” Silly me, I thought bodega meant storage room, but it actually means wine cellar, apparently. I then explained to Ana that my apartment has four bedrooms and four tenants. I originally thought that each of us had our own room, but I have since learned that Hugo and Paulo are gay and share a room. That leaves one extra and unexplained bedroom. Maybe they have two storage rooms, but that seemed like a bit much. Ana told me that I should sneak into the room to see what’s in there. I didn’t really want to because it’s not my room, but she insisted that I live in the apartment and deserve to know what’s in there.
Today, when I was home alone, I decided to find out what was in the mystery room. I turned the knob expecting it to be locked, but it wasn’t. For those of you who haven’t seen my apartment, it’s a little old. I wouldn’t call it rundown, it just has a lot of character. Everything in it (except for the Ikea lampshades) is old and all the walls could use some paint. When I opened up the door to the mystery room I was greeted by a room that looked brand new. It has new flooring, new cabinets, and a nice coat of paint. In the middle of the room is a massage table covered in a nice white sheet. I was more than a little surprised because a massage parlor was the exact opposite of the dusty furniture filled room that I had expected to find there. I snooped around a bit and saw oils and a robe and all the stuff I’d imagine a massage parlor to have.
As I was snooping around I remembered a conversation I had with Margarida when I moved in. I asked her what she did for a living and she told me that she’s a massage therapist and wants to take classes learn to do people’s nails and stuff like that as well. Being a massage therapist is all well and good, I just hadn’t expected her massage parlor to be in my house. But now I know why they come over so much and I assume that the girl I saw that one day who I didn’t recognize was probably just a client. From now on I’ll just get dressed in the bathroom. I should snoop around some more and see what else I can find.
P.S. I went to Coimbra over the weekend and Sintra on Monday. I’ll upload pictures and stories later.