13.WELCOME TO BRAGA

Less than ten minutes after I left Sao Bento station, I got to my hotel.

Jennifer was packing slowly when I got to the room. I told her to hurry up. There was no time. I went into the bathroom and picked the money I had hidden behind the water pipe.
I helped Jennifer pack faster. We Scrambled out out of the room and as we got down to the ground floor, my phone rang. It was Jose.
” We are at the bar in the abandoned ship” he said.

” Wait for me, I am on way” I said calmly.

The taxi driver who brought me to the hotel from the station was waiting for me. I had given him extra 10 euros and asked him to wait.
We loaded our two bag inside the boot of the Mercedes Benz cab, got inside as fast as we could and drove out of the hotel.

I didn’t want to go to the Sao Bento Train station. Madam Grace could still be there waiting for her return train. Coimbra was in the south of Porto. Madam Grace may have also for some reasons decided to use a stop over train which meant that she could change trains in Coimbra since the city was between Porto and Lisbon.

The safest option was to head North. The nearest City in the North was Braga.

” Take us to Braga” I said to the Taxi driver.

The Taxi driver looked at me as if I was a dumb person.
” Braga is 40 minutes from here, it will cost you a lot of money.” he said.
I told him to take us to Braga or I would find another cab.
He shook his head and headed North to Braga through highway A3.

Braga was the fourth Largest city in Portugal after Lisbon, Porto, Amadora. It was situated in the Northwest part of Portugal.
I had studied its map a few days before before our final operation in Porto. The reason was to know which way to go when we it was time to live Porto. I had ruled out Lisbon due to Madam Grace and her thugs. I had also ruled out Amadora because it was pretty close to Lisbon.
Coimbra, the next big city was a transit point to Madrid and many parts of central Spain, it would be very easy for someone who knew me to spot me there.

Braga was the answer.
We got to Braga in the middle of the afternoon on December 30. The weather was a little bit colder than Porto.
I had switched my phone and Jennifer’s phone off as soon as we left Porto. I was sure Jose must have been calling but since he wanted to play a smart boy, I made him understand that we Africans were never what they took us to be.

The price meter on the Taxi that brought us was hovering above 230 euros. Our TaxI man was concerned about the price. He believed that the two young African couple would not be able to pay him.
I asked him to locate a cheap hotel for us. He murmured something inaudible and engaged his gear.
I opened my wallet and handed 300 euros to him. The smile on his face returned.

After a few questions, we found the Liberdade Guest house, located in the avenida da liberdade. An avenue with mostly white occupants..

We knocked on the metal door and a young man of about 28 years opened the door. He didn’t say hi or welcome or anything. He just gazed curiously at two black faces.
” We need a place to rent” I said. He motioned us to come inside. I asked Jennifer to stay with the Taxi man while I check the place out.
I followed the man to the reception hall.
He brought out their room lists and their prizes. A quick scan down the list gave me what I wanted.
A cheap apartment with private bathroom, Kitchen and veranda.
I pointed to the one I wanted. He took me upstairs to inspect it. It was a nice neat room with enough space. There was a long sofa, a reading table and chair. A TV, A reading lamp, a large bed that can contain three people. A wardrobe and some hangers in it.
I peeped in the kitchen and found a gas cooker and a fridge. The bathroom was neat and space too.

We returned back to the reception and check the price.
The apartment was
€30/day.
€180/week
€600/month.
I asked him to prepare a one week receipt for us.
I went outside and get our bags from the boot. The taxi driver called me and gave me €25. He said that was my balance. I gave him the money back and told him to go. He gave me his number and asked me to call for his service when next I visit Porto. Then he drove away.

We carried our two small bags inside and paid €180 at the reception. We took our keys and went upstairs.
I opened the room and we entered inside the warm room, away from Lisbon, away from Porto, away from Madam Grace, away from Jose and away from Danger.

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