As with most problems in my life, a solution was soon found via Facebook. Roque needed a place to stay and had already spent the majority of his money and I was too busy working at Europeans to be looking around for hostels. So, I put a message up on Facebook and within an hour a solution was found somewhere in Switzerland.
Tuesday morning, one of my Facebook friends offered a free room in her Airbnb from Saturday-Monday. I accepted! Afterwards, I went about figuring out who our host actually was.
(to what will probably be my dad’s dismay, I meet a lot of strangers off social media).
So we had a hella nice place in down town Lisbon to stay for the week.
But that still left us with figuring out the rest of the week...
To complicate matters even more, when I got home from the tournament around 10 P.M. on Tuesday night, Kidd sent me off to stay with his cousin. It was somewhat chaotic but my new accommodations were pretty fucking sweet. The decked out apartment was inhabited by the young King Tay who holds shit down for his aunt and uncle who work in Angola. Since Kidd was my brother's friend and I didn’t know him or have any idea who this Tay kid was, Roque got sent to stay with some guy who was working at the tournament who apparently had a house full of kids from the City of God favela.
Kids from the city of God
Is this making sense so far?
Just as Kidd has promised on the long car ride from Playboy's house in Moscavideo to my new accommodations, King Tay lived literally two minutes away from the tournament. He also turned out to be an amazing cook who spends his free time watching Fresh Prince of Belair and Prison Break on Netflix.
Other fun facts:
- Tay is a white belt whose preferred submissions are the Americana and Guillotine.
- He can do a ridiculous amount of pull ups and 4 pushups with me on his back.
On to the Next One...
Unfortunately, all things good must come to an end. Friday night Tay took a road trip to watch a soccer game and I hopped in an Uber and went to stay with Moicano and Thomas at the Bengali guesthouse.
The only way to survive the night at the guest house was to bundle up in sweatshirts and gi pants and wrap yourself meticulously in blankets. Thomas and I have both gone through winter… but for Moicano it was an extra shock.
I stayed there one night with them, two nights with the swiss girls then went back to the guest house once on Monday when everyone else had gone home.
Other fun faces of Lisbon:
Vlad is a Ribeiro black belt from Fortaleza and another familiar face from my first months in Rio. We moved into the favela around the same time in 2013 and to this day, he is probably the only person that has a more chaotic and unpredictable life than I do. I have no idea how exactly Vlad ended up in Rio, probably to train with Terere or something like that, but a lack of financial solvency soon saw us living with the same Peruvian family in their house in Pavao.
I slept on a mattress on the floor in the den with their 18-year-old son and Vlad slept on the roof in a lawn chair (and got locked up there several times).
Vlad loves to talk, which is perfect because I love to not talk. Vlad talks to such extent that he is the only person that I know that actually uses the phrase “in summary” in his spoken vernacular. Generally, that’s something that I’d only expect to find in school on a list of popular transitional phrases to end an essay, but for Vlad, it’s a necessary part of his conversational repertoire.
Vlad is always supposedly going somewhere. He had some intricate way of finessing plane tickets that was beyond my scope of understanding. On any given day he would have pending plans to go to compete in England, teach in Poland, or go back home to train in Fortaleza. He told me he was leaving so many times that we finally came to the agreement that I would refuse to believe him until he could produce an actual ticket. I’m not sure if he’s in Poland or South Africa right now. The dude is pretty hard to keep track of…
Three years ago I thought it was irresponsible and unorganized and that maybe he should look for a real job. Now, I see that that is just part of the jiu-jitsu lifestyle… and that jiu jiteiros (like myself now) don’t take real jobs.
Hywel formally known as HT
(Because Hywell is unpronounceable in Portuguese)
I’m pretty sure if I knew how to do math and I worked it all out that HT would prove to be a good 10 or 20 times more useful and 100 to 200 percent more cost effective than the entirety of my post-graduate education. Its amazing the things you can learn at Starbucks or eating acai along the beach. Since moving back to the U.S. I’ve met up with HT a couple times to do work with Flograppling in New York and now in Portugal.
You should know who he is already... but if you don't... click
Moicano and Mastwo