Incendio em Sesimbra!

We interrupt our regular blog-casting to bring you the latest hot news. In this case, very hot!IMG_5799

On our way to lunch after wrapping up a week of filming (more on that later), we spotted a plume of smoke about six miles from our house. Before we were done eating, the TVs in the restaurant were all tuned to the news, showing the fire that was maybe three miles from where we were. After lunch, we drove home after watching the smoke roil from the road for a while, and turned on the news.

Since we still don’t understand a lick of spoken Portuguese (unless it’s our tutor speaking to us very slowly and clearly, something the rest of the Portuguese simply never otherwise do) and not knowing how big it was going to get,Airplane panic we used it as an opportunity to practice our evacuation procedures, which involved a lot of screaming and shouting and running into each other while throwing photos, laptops, and dirty underwear into a couple of beleaguered suitcases. It was good for us to practice, because we learned that, for instance, our beloved car Marco will actually not go through the metal gate properly if the gate isn’t opened, especially when the occupants of said car are screaming in terror at the top of their lungs.

Just kiddin’ about most of that. We did practice an evacuation though, especially since we’re not familiar with Portuguese evacuation procedures. They might be broadcasting from a truck, “Stay in your homes, all roads are closed!” and we might think they’re saying, “Get out of your houses NOW! And don’t forget to open the gate!” Plus, since there are only two roads that lead from the peninsula we’re on, one doesn’t want to dawdle and end up in the middle of a 5 kilometer line of cars, especially when you’re the ones most likely to get picked for something bad. “Hey! Those guys are Americans! Send them through that firestorm first to see if we can get through!”

One very large advantage to selling everything you own and having almost nothing to your name besides beleaguered luggage, a couple of laptops, and dirty underwear, is that you can pile everything important into your car in a matter of minutes and be on your way.

Fortunately, the fire was contained by first 50, and then 100, and then 200 “bombeiros,” which translates to “firefighters,” but was also the war cry of the Ukutacks, who lived next to the Eiros and didn’t like them.

They also used firefighting planes, which we could see dropping water from our new perch on top of the Sesimbra Castle, which we figured was as safe as anyplace seeing as how it hadn’t burned down yet even after hundreds of years.

In any case, here are some “during and after” pictures of the conflagration. We’re happy to report we’re safe and sound, and also that our underwear is now clean.


A plane after dropping water on the blaze. It seems like it’s throwing a teaspoon of water on a burning house, but they apparently got the job done.


The next day, we were able to drive the road through the area, which is the same road we often take to get home after being in Lisbon.
Many of the trees seem to have made it through, but nature now has a clean slate with which to repaint the ground.

Anyway, that’s the last time I’ll ever toss the fireplace ashes into the woods!

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