PORTUGAL

The Portuguese sky scratched by the jet streams of a thousand holidays, business trips and bicycle parts that the LBS couldn't arrange.

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.

Vacuum packed pork.

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.

They are a lot smaller than you would expect and really mean spirited. That's the locals, the scorpions I actually quite like.

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.

This is the marvelous Castel Marvao. Built upon a ridiculous hill and containing a beautiful village, it was certainly a lovely way to spend boxing day.

I suppose this sounds awfully negative but I blame part of that on a cold I picked up in the last few days. Many people I know have got a cold. I could start ruminating about how it is an international tidy up program by a global shadow government. Part of the End of Time doom that is impending. I’m sure there’s lots about it in the Daily Telegraph. The surest sign of these impending doom is that the bible got a make over and now contains references to all sorts of naughty behavior. So that’s 90 days of sinfully adrenalized vigor scribbled down into bite size snippets.

The Spanish on the other hand are so chill they build Christmas trees that challenge you to climb up inside.

Today is another exciting day, tomorrow maybe more, maybe less. Probably more…but knowing that would be a give away.
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