Ruth: While Gord headed off on his bike to access a trail and continue hiking around the island, I took the day off. This will be our ninth day at the Youth Hostel in Vila do Porto. It’s interesting to stay in a place like this and watch all the different groups and individuals come and go. Yesterday a group of tired but exuberant Dutch women returned after their completion of the hike around the island. A Dutch guy was here for two days of diving and was excited to describe the manta rays he swam with. Today there was a new young woman who spent the morning working on her tan in a string bikini. 
After nine days we are sliding into the  community of people who are here for awhile. During our first days here we noticed a young guy was sleeping in the common room. When he was awake he spent his time there on his phone or smoking out on the balcony. I started referring to him as the gargoyle after accidentally capturing him smoking in one of my pictures. It turns out he wasn’t homeless, as I was speculating, but instead a tired marine biologist who was waiting out the stormy days before returning to his ship. He is monitoring fishing vessels to ensure they are sticking to the limits. When I asked about sustainability he told us that tuna is really the only sustainable fishery in the Azores. I guess no more octopus salads. 
There is a 70 year old Swiss fisherman who lives in the Algarve, but spends long vacations here fishing. Each day he seeks a new spot to try his luck. He has made good friends out of the women working here by bringing them some of his catch. 
Finally there is an elderly  man in a wheelchair holding court at the front door.  We’ll call him João.  His mask is never quite over his nose or mouth while he wishes us well each morning and when we return. He speaks passable English but doesn’t seem to hear or perhaps listen to our responses.  João told Gord how he ended up in the hostel in spite of owning a house in town.  He is paralyzed from the waist down, and went to the United States for an operation. When he returned  his housekeeper had moved her cousin into the house and wouldn’t relinquish the place. Staff at the hostel are trying to get him some help from the city and he claims he has talked to lawyers and the police. For now, João is stranded here. Even if he had his electric wheelchair, which he said his housekeeper also trashed, the cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalks that suddenly disappear would prevent him from leaving the hostel. 
Tomorrow we will roll out with our trailers to our next new home. 

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