This one has caused us no end of confusion over the last 6 months. Just where do the Portuguese go to do their shopping – and I’m not talking food shopping here although I do have something to say on that front in just a second!!
No, I’m talking shopping for clothes and other general items that we just take for granted back in the UK. You know that you can walk down any high street in the UK and there will be a multitude of shops all enticing you in to spend you money. Here nada. Actually that is a half truth as electrical shops are in rich supply. But if you want something other than a new toaster or hairdryer then forget it.
Hubby needed a new sleeping bag for his trip and we ended up ordering it from the UK as we had more chance of squeezing blood from a stone than finding one here.
I personally think there is a parallel universe where all the shops are located that we just haven’t found the entrance too yet or it could be that we are just in the wrong region of Portugal and shops have completed by-passed this area. I think by comparison that the Australian outback is more populated than we are here.
Which brings me to food shopping. I’m used to my supermarkets being big, shiny and full of lots and lots of choice. Here the whole supermarket experience is like a throw back to the 70s. A homage to the old Fine Fare and Spa that I used to go to with my mum.
They are small and dingy and the displays are oddly designed so you can’t navigate the trolleys around without a major disaster occurring. Sometimes there is an abundance of produce and other times it is slim pickings and you can’t predict when.
They hand out carrier bags willy nilly – even if it is obvious that you have your own and seem rather put out when you try vainly to explain that you don’t need them.
That said I have never come across more happy check out girls, they kick their surly Spanish counterparts in orbit on that one and the sparse amount of Portuguese I have learned has been taught to me by these ever cheerful girls. One even ran out of the shop once and found me at my car when I had inadvertently left an item of shopping behind – shocking!!
Coming next – how to tackle the language