Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Questions Answered - Part 2

More about the Portuguese culture:

Teenagers can buy alcohol and consume it at 16 years of age. But they can't get a drivers licenses until they're 18. We've been told that the parents of these teens have to pay for a driving course that costs as much as 2,000 euros ($2,500) before they are allowed a license.

Portuguese Teenagers

However, the streets of Portugal are the most dangerous places to be, in my humble opinion. There you'll find very old people walking with canes, cyclists, ladies driving home from work on mopeds in heels with a plastic tarp across the front of themselves to shield the rain and wind. You'll find tractors where the old men proudly perch their wives on the wheel well. At times you can find herds of cattle, parked cars, loading vehicles, old ladies pulling carts of produce and stray dogs. All of these things take priority over the "car". A car is the last thing you'll find on a street, but it's by far the fast moving object to be found. I've been told that Portuguese drivers are considered the worst in Europe. I fit right in.

In the malls you'll find, well...everyone. Malls are THE place to go. However, the average person cannot afford to buy anything their except for a cup of coffee. Espresso (which is all they drink) costs .70 cents. They'll walk around and window shop but very few have bags in their hands from where they've purchased anything. Besides a great cup (shot glass) of coffee, you find lots of PDA. (public displays of affection) I've tried to convince my husband that we can't truly try to be Portuguese until we've 'made out' while going up the escalator.

For some reason, he doesn't buy my argument.

Cool play place

We've just recently discovered this really neat children's play area right on the coast. (notice the marina in the background)

With the rain holding off and sunshine upon us, we've frequented this area with our kids and dog. Here we've met a few folks, thrown a frisbee for Major, pushed the kids on skates and even taught a teenage boy (imagine Napoleon Dynamite) how to play basketball.

With the 5 kids, we get a lot of stares. Sometimes these folks will let us talk to them. Yesterday, while I was talking to "Napoleon's" mom, all she wanted to do was tell me how much work I had to do with 5 kids. The dishes, the clothes....she would roll her eyes. She couldn't believe I was still standing!

Michael using the dog to meet some teenagers

After playing we went to a cafe

where we were met, yet again with stares. While Michael was ordering our food, two ladies at a table next to us were staring. One of the ladies shushed her friend, inclined her head and even stopped chewing her food to listen to Michael while we was talking.

Talk about being obvious! The Portuguese aren't subtle.

More to come......


Betty said...

The malls sound exactly like ours in Paraguay. Most people are just there to hang out or eat in the food courts, but not to shop in the overly expensive shops.
I love your way of describing your outings and what it´s like!

Melissa Wertz said...

Around here, moms have lots of babies up into their 40's... Oh, you grew up here....

Career women do not even start until they are in their 30's. I suppose their economy is a little different.

Dani Joy said...

I was writing that we have a boat park very similar on our coast at the port too. :) I thought it was ours at first. Of course we can´t get to it by car. Portugal sounds more expensive than Spain. or at least the avg. person can´t afford things at the malls. Here in Spain the Mall is a hang out. Especially here in the North where it rains so much. You explained the streets so well that I envisioned it all! great post!!

Anonymous said...

I love it! I'm assuming they don't have many children there...correct? I'm afraid I'd fit in with my driving too. I'm pitiful.

Thanks for helping us get to know 'your' country.


Tori said...

Okay so I'm amazed at how much Portugal sounds like Croatia. Although the kids have to be 18 to buy alcohol and 18 to drive after paying more than $1000 for pshych tests and all sorts of nonsense.

The staring is what bothers me. I try not to let it but it does. The few times we have traveled like tourists it wasn't a problem but in our small town where foreigners don't frequent they can tell by our accent that we aren't really from this part of Croatia. They always ask if we are from the coast, nope, but i wished!

Anyhow, this was fun and we have those little wifes perched on the tractor wheel too.

TCKK said...

This is so interesting. I'm loving hearing about what the people and country is like!! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. It is such a vivid description that I could almost be walking around with you. Thanks for taking us with you into the everyday events and describing interesting tidbits about life and culture in Portugal.

Love, Nanny

Amrita said...

Love reading about Portugal.

Please can you post a picture of the ladies on mopeds with the tarp in front. i 'm really curious what they look like. In India woen drive cars and scooters.

Driving lisence at 18

Alchohol at 21

Starla said...

Thanks for sharing. LOL! I don't think I could live there though.

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

As always I so enjoy your posts. Thank you for sharing all this. I can just picture those two ladies watching you all at the cafe!!! just to funny!! LOL I love the way you seem to take everything in stride, so refreshing!!!

Pilar Stark said...

I relate with you about the stares, and I only have 3. One time I got upset at a lady that was being extremely obvious and ask her what was going on (not very christian like i know) she told me ¨you have three kids! wow¨.... she was french though hehehe. But I do get a lot of looks