Oh Portugal, you smaller brother of Spain, how I love you – partly because you are “special”. That’s right, I went to Portugal (the South East coast); it was amazing, but there were some very odd things about the country:
#5 They Really Like Stereo Love
You know that weirdly awesome club hit (hear it here). There is such a thing as “killing it” – that is, playing it to death; to the point where you will want to shoot a gun close to your ear so you lose at least some of your ability to hear it (of course, some may simply resort to changing the radio channel). Seriously, in between traditional Portuguese music you will hear this song again and again whenever you have the radio on.
#4 Shopping Centres Are ALL the Same
Apparently despite the beautiful and serene landscapes and coastlines of the country, the people still lack imagination when it comes to commerce. Each town and city we went to had a big shopping centre, but we quickly realised something critical… THEY’RE ALL THE SAME. What’s that about? Same square corridor layout, with exactly the same shops selling the same boring and badly priced things (sometimes to slightly different quantities).
#3 Cliff Richard IS Portugal
Can I just say first of all – when you pick a stage name, it should at least not be boring.
This guy, what can I say, the people of Algarve in Portugal love him. He’s a sort of quasi-national hero without the being born in the nation part. The guy even has knighthood in the country. His sparkling face glistens over multiple magazine front covers and there are streets named AFTER him. What has he done to deserve all this? He owns a winery in the country. Not sure what else.
#2 Barbers, Vodafone Stores and Banks Are Never Open For Business
When I got to Portugal, I realised that I needed a hair cut. What I didn’t realise was that they don’t want me to get a hair cut. During the 7 days, we travelled across the whole south coast and only came across barbers/hair dressers a couple of times. Most of them would be closed no matter what time of the day you went; the rest were too expensive (30 euros a cut? hell no).
Mick Jagger was wrong when he said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.” When we wanted to get the Blackberry messenger working on our new sim card, we travelled far and wide to find a Vodafone store that could help us. ALL of them were either shut or could only point us to the next store.
As for banks, well they were always too busy endlessly counting huge wads of cash to help anyone. Seriously.
#1 The Place Where Families and Ravers Collide
A super natural phenomenon. How can two such opposing forces exist in one place?! Think about messy nights out in an English town; then think about young families with small children. Now place both these things in one place. WTF? In night clubs in Portugal at late o’clock, you will have these young children running around whilst ravers drunkenly two step all over the place. You think to yourself, is this safe? How is this possible? WHAT IS THIS!!!!!