Portugal…hmmm…where to begin, or more so, how to continue once I have begun if the beginning is a tirade of disgruntlement? My thoughts on Portugal are like a Jersey Shore pawn star, very mixed up.
The food is awful. I had such romantic notions of gorgeous foods here. However, I truly believe you would get a more carefully and lovingly put together meal in a chip shop in a very rough and impoverished council estate of Glasgow. Which for any Canadian viewers means going dumpster diving for food, except on a very hot day. The people who cook, serve, or sell your groceries are the most silently surly people I have met. With their eyes and demeanor they silently shout that they have better things to do.
In general the people are very negative. I really shouldn’t continue to pedal the stereotype that the Portuguese are all very short, very grumpy, and very old people, but it’s true. I feel like a giant among little people. I myself am below the daily recommended intake for stratospheric inhalation so this is a rather novel feeling. What’s funny though is that even though I am physical capable of looking down on Portugal, the people of this slither of un-Happyland make me feel like they are looking down on me. But don’t let my quibbles put you off, we are stuck in a very rural area where all the young people have escaped and left only the old people who have lived through the authoritarian Portugal when the Estado Nuvo regime was in place. That must change a persons outlook somewhat. I also feel for them because at the rate the young people are disappearing to the cities then there really won’t be anybody left to continue the rural way of life, which is to take a drink of Ginja (alcoholic) first thing in the morning, spend much of the morning standing around in the doorway of a cafe eyeballing anyone within spitting distance, occasionally working the cork trees (a tree gets harvested every 10-12 years), working the olive trees (picked during the winter), rearing angry dogs, and eating cigarettes.
So if the people are as welcoming as a slammed door and the food makes you more at home sitting or kneeling at the toilet, then what has this place got to offer? Well there are the many fabulous castles. Since being here I have walked around plenty of incredible old constructions. And I liked every single one. Once I was there. And once I had left I was perfectly happy to be doing so, knowing that it was only a matter of time till the next one.