From Sagres, I took the forest route up north towards Carrapateira. Struggling to connect my bluetooth soundsystem with my iphone, my car slowly veered right towards the trees.
"This retarded thing will be the end of me someday," I mumbled as I corrected it just in time, continuing my 100% track record of not crashing into one of the many trees adorning the Portuguese roadside.
In the hope that untruer words had never been spoken, I finally got it to connect and as Jack Johnson's Seasick Dream started echoeing inside the cabin all was good again.
Jack Johnson always makes everything better.
Arriving at praia de Amado I parked my van at a seriously sloping beachside parking lot. Putting perhaps more trust in my handbrake then I should have, I went out just as a few Germans arrived.
After briefly discussing the waves and inspecting each other's vans, I hesitantly wetsuitted up, not looking forward to the gnarly looking section of white water. A three meter swell at 18 seconds and onshore winds, it wasn't exactly tranquil conditions for a relative novice like me.
That premonition proved out to be correct. At least I'm getting better at reading the conditions.
I've been having regular worries about my handbrake letting go, mostly just before falling asleep. I guess it's something new to temporarily worry about until my monkey mind latches on to some novel perceived danger.
The next day the waves looked even more rowdy so I resorted to the next best thing possible, becoming a beach bum de jour and watching sunsets with pretty girls.
Towel and book in hand, I first watched how other surfers tried to make their way through to the line up. None made it, leaving me feeling strangely vindicated.
After dusk we headed back towards the south. As we rolled down the parking lot I noticed something was loose in the back.
Putting my car in neutral and the handbrake up - "Just yell if the van starts to move" - I walked around the car, semi-consciously ignoring the cracking noise of the handbrake. Opening the side door I saw the culprit, a loose cabinet drawer. Stepping in the back, I noticed that the van slowly started to move. 'No worries, I got this' I thought, securing the cabinet in place.
But with nearly 3-tons of weight behind it, the van picked up speed rather quickly, forcing me to sprint around and in one smooth motion (at least in my mind) jumping in and simultaneously slamming the brakes as we abruptly ground to a stop.
"Wow, that was just in time!" she said in the midst of a laughing fit.
"Yeah, I didn't expect it to pick up speed this fast," I replied, uncharacteristically unfazed (or at the very least pretending to be so) as I shifted Brenda back into first gear again.
I guess some fears are meant to be taken seriously.