Portimão/Alvor, May 6, 2017, Day 25

I don’t miss going out for breakfast, I have better control over me and what I eat and mainly important what I DON’T eat since we’ve been eating at home. So today was another simple breakfast of cereal and toast.We are going to go to the village of Alvor today. Everyone who talks about it, says how pretty it is. That it is a fisherman’s village. It is only about ten minutes away, so we are taking a taxi to get there. The weather is going to be bright and sunny without any chance of rain, so it will be another beautiful day in paradise.

We are also meeting Steve and Kris later today. They are having dinner at six for us to meet their expat friends from Thailand. That should be fun. We ran into Steve yesterday and asked him what should we bring. He said nothing, they have it all under control. Cool!

We get a lazy start to our day, so it is about 1:45 when we leave. Maria, at the front desk, calls a taxi for us. They are so nice here. When our stay is over, I will write a really glowing review. Plus, I have to remember to get pictures of her, Dimitri and Arturo.

Anyway, our taxi comes. Our driver is a lady. This is the first time that we’ve had a female driver since we’ve been here. Hubby sits in the front with here. She speaks a little English so they converse back and forth, switching between the two languages. She gives us some tips on where to begin our tour and how to find a taxi when we return.

Alvor.

It is as quaint and as picturesque as people have described it. We are right on the waters edge, where there are many boats docked in the bay area. But my thought as well as Hubby’s….how do they get into the boats when the need them? Do they have to take a smaller boat to get to the larger boat? Are the boats remote controlled? Do they swim out there? Inquiring minds want to know…

There were also lots of restaurants with the smells of grilled meats and fish, permeating the air. We decidied to walk into the old part of the village first.Again the streets are cobbled, but the very street  that we got to was very steeply inclined. There were two older ladies walking in front of us and one was using two canes…we knew they had to have been having a difficult time, because the climb up this street was not easy.

The structures and architect were so amazing.

Of the three areas that we’ve been in: Portimão, Lagos and now Alvor, they each have their own distinct style.

Portimão or Praia da Rocha, where we are staying, is noted for its beaches. Especially the beach of the same name which is the largest and most popular beach. Praia da Rocha is also more of a party town, where the main strip, Avenida Tomás Cabreira is home to hotels, shops, restaurants and bars.

Lagos transports you back to times long ago. The Historic Centre is filled with old world buildings, churches and forts to give a glimpse of the past. Some of the structures have remained their initial use or purpose, while other have been converted into shops, restaurants and living areas.

Alvor is truly a fisherman’s village. The shoreline of the Alvor River is dotted with many boats and sailing vessels available for a days work or a day of pleasure. The marine opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Restaurants and shops are easily assessable, along with the boardwalk and the sand dunes.

Each area has its unique charm and allure and being that they are all within 30 minutes of each, they are easy to get to, no matter in which city we decide to do our extended vacation.

But back to Alvor.

We walk around the old area, up and down the winding streets, and always aware of where we are in relations to the marine, our point of reference. We find a street map and try to figure out where we are. But does it matter? We are in Portugal, on PT, Portugal Time! Be Happy!

We stopped to get a light lunch. Hubby gets a cheeseburger with fries and a strawberry milkshake. I have fish soup, garlic bread and water. OMG!! The soup was sooo good! I asked the waiter what kind of fish was it. He said it was baked. No, what KIND of fish? Is it cod or what? Oh. He didn’t know. He thinks the soup was mixed with a couple different fish. He would check. I could hear him and someone else talking in the background. I guess no one has ever asked this question.

After a few minutes, he came back with his phone and showed me the name, I believe it was Ling. He said it was like red fish, whatever that means. But like I said, the soup was sooo good. It had bits of fish, not a whole lot, white beans, onions in a tomato base. It was seasoned to perfection. I dipped my garlic bread in it…ahhhh…bon appetit!

After we ate, I went outside to take a selfie, I thought Hubby was behind me. But he wasn’t. Then I remember that he saw a guy in the restaurant wearing a DETROIT tee shirt. Evidently he went to talk with him, I went back inside. So, I missed almost all of their conversation, but the guy must have said that his shirt represented another Detroit. Something dealing with Glasgow.

OK, here I am being geographically ignorant again. After we leave him, Hubby and I are trying to figure out where that is. I said England, but would check later (OK…so I’ll checking no. There is NO city outside of USA named Detroit and Glasgow is un Scotland. Now I’ll have to ask Jackie again about his conversation). (OK…so I talked with Hubby and he said the guy said he was from Glasgow. But he was a little tipsy….so who knows how he ended up wearing a shirt that said Detroit??)

By the way, Hubby didn’t like his hamburger. It was the same kind of meat like the burger we had on the beach. No one makes a burger like Café Del Mar! I think that’s where we will have our last dinner in Portimão.

We walked back to the harbor. Then see a boardwalk as well as what looks like a sand dune trail. We take the boardwalk. We think that eventually we will be back the water. But we really don’t. It’s a nice walk though. There are several places to stop and rest. Then we past a fork in the road. We stayed on the outer trail. We did come to a stop where one part of the walk branched out to a beachy area. The water wasn’t suitable for swimming. Basically, you’d go there to sunbathe. And because we were meeting friends for dinner, we headed back. I think eventually we should have hit the ocean. Or maybe if we tried one of the other paths. Alvor and this area will definitely get a return visit….when we return. This has been a very pleasant afternoon.

As we were walking back to where the taxi dropped us off, there was another taxi dropping off his passengers. Jackie ran over to him to see if he was free to take us. He was! Cool beans!

It’s a short drive back. We have just enough time to freshen up a bit before we head out to dinner. It is sooo convenient when you are not leaving the building. But I did grab my jacket, in case it was chilly.

We take the elevator to Steve and Kris’s, where we are introduced to another Steve and his wife Sue. I saw her from my balcony with Steve the other day. We sit and talk as Kris puts the finishing touches on dinner. I offered, she said that she didn’t need any help.

Dinner was yummy. Dinner salad, fruit salad, spaghetti, meat and mushroom sauce and garlic bread. Then for dessert, almond tart and dates.

We had a real nice time. Most of the evening was talk about life in Thailand. How cheap it is to live there and how nice it is to live there. In fact Steve and Sue, just signed a three year lease on an apartment before they came here.

Yep….this was a good day!

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Portimão, May 5, 2017, Day 24

Today I’m not too hungry for breakfast, so I just have hot tea and a couple slices of toast. The forecast is for rain starting at eleven and ending at four and sure enough, at 10:45, it starts raining. In fact, Hubby was standing in the balcony and saw the rain approaching. img_7709He said it was too cool! But, that changes our plans for the day. We were going to catch the bus into Portimão to see what it was like. But now we will stick closer to home.
We did a little more visa searching online and found that there is a tourism information office on the main strip. We decide to walk there to see if they can give us any help. During this time, it rained and stopped twice, so I have my umbrella with me. We put on jeans and a jacket and head out.
Where we stop was not the place that I was thinking of. The police station had a sign on it that said tourism, I thought that was where we were going, but Hubby saw an office connected with Western Union and that’s where we went in. No, the lady inside told us. She couldn’t help. She was there to promote tourism. To tell people where to go and what to see in the area. But she was able to provide us with an actual map and marked the location of the SEF office and Town Hall. We will try to go there on Monday.
While we were out, Hubby wanted to buy a soccer shirt as his souvenir. He said he was watching TV and one of the popular player’s last name is JORDAN. There is an official Portugal sports store, so we go into that. The official soccer shirts are way more than what he wants to spend. BUT, the store has their own shirt which looks nice at half the price. They don’t come with any names, but for 7,50€ you can add whatever name you want. He gets his shirt. Then we get tee shirts for Son and Daughter and a shopping bag for me. They throw in a flag of Portugal for free. We will give that to Granddaughter.
We stop and sit for a while to talk and figure out what we wanted to do for dinner. fullsizerender-5We decide on Chinese. But it is too early. It’s only four-ish and from past experience, we know the restaurant is closed and will reopen at 5:30, so we go home.
At five-thirty, we go to the restaurant. Hubby ordered chicken chop suey and I ordered sweet and sour chicken. We both get sweet cream corn soup, jasmine tea and spring rolls.img_7714 We got plenty to eat and enough to takeaway for another dinner. We stopped eating early enough to split dessert. It was an ice cream pie called Romantica. It was vanilla ice cream, toffee, hazelnut and something else. This was a good safe choice because a lot of their ice cream desserts were topped with an egg yolk🍳?! img_7715The Romantica was very good and just the right size for the two of us.
We stopped by the store on the way home to get some milk and I got a can of Pringles which I have been eating like crazy since we’ve been here. OMG!! I am going to hate to eat on the scales when we get back to the States!!!
I put on a load of clothes to wash. This will be my last load. We have enough clean things for the duration of the trip and what is worn can be packed dirty. Hubby still wants to go out and listen to the live music, so I lay down to take a nap while we are waiting.
He wakes me up about 10:30. He is very anxious to get out. He really likes live music. I guess that’s the musician in him. He said we won’t stay long. Just listen to a couple sets and let him have a beer. OK. Sounds like a plan.
Golden Friends isn’t a big place, it’s almost set up like a basement or a den area. A couple couches, seats made into the walls and some small tables. There is area to play electronic darts. Then tables set up outside for the smokers. When we get there, the same table that we sat at before was empty so we sat there again. The group that was playing was pretty good. There was a person on keyboard, a saxophonist, a bass guitar player and a drummer. img_7720I never understand how they follow each other. Only the guitar player seemed to be reading music, the rest are just playing. But they are all in sync which each other. Letting one person spotlight while the others either stop playing or play softly and they all know when to end the song. Amazing. After a little while, another guitar player joined them, I think he was playing either an acoustic or jazz guitar. I’ll need to ask Hubby. He tells me that it is a lead guitar. img_7753-1We stayed about ninety minutes before returning home. I crashed on the couch, while Hubby got back on his laptop.
Buttttt, while we were listening to the music, sister-in-law called to say that the basement floor was completely flooded! All the way to the furnace! YIKES!! I had checked my weather app earlier and it mentioned something about our house being in a flood watch area expecting an inch of rain… Hubby says he is so ready to no longer be a homeowner. He is ready to sell the house and move on! It’s not supposed to rain on Saturday. So maybe everything will recede. I’m just glad this is happening at the end of our trip and not at the beginning…but I am NOT looking forward to the cleanup when we get home….
Oh well….

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Portimão, May 4, 2017, Day 23

I didn’t get up until almost 10:00am. I can tell that this is going to be another lazy, laid back day. For my breakfast, I fixed a grilled cheese sandwich with spinach, tomato and lunchmeat. It was very good. Next, I put a load of clothes in the washer. Because we have less than a week remaining 😱 I have enough clean towels and bed linens. I won’t have to wash anymore of those. I’ll just keep up with washing our things.

After Hubby eats breakfast, I wash dishes and sweep the floors. It is amazing how much sand accumulates on the tile floor. Between us tracking it in from the beach and keeping the sliding door open, the floor needs a good sweeping everyday. And after I swept the floors, I swept the balcony and there was a lot of sand, dirt and dead bugs on it. Yuck!

Now, what do we do for the rest of today???

The major reason in taking this wonderful trip here to Portugal, was to see if we wanted to have an extended visit here. 

Well, I believe that answer is a resounding, YES!

Today we tried to navigate the short term residency process and see what do we need to do to make that happen.

Well….let me tell you, we spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon, going in circles.

I don’t know…you’d think it would be easier, simple.

From what Hubby said that he’s read in their newspapers is that Portugal is losing a lot of its population to either Ireland or the U.K. (I can’t remember which). So, you would think, the rationale would be that they would welcome incoming population, especially expats with open arms and no red tape.

First of all, the websites and documents are in Portuguese. I made changes in my browsers settings, so that most things automatically translate into English. But PDFs, forms and other picture-like items don’t translate. AGH!!!😱 Then it appears that there is an agency called SEF that assists with different aspects of residency. You need an appointment to talk with them. We tried unsuccessfully to call them. They referred us to a number that we are unable to dial. Then there is a form that you can submit to create an online booking (as they call appointments), but it’s in Portuguese. We tried to find their office on the map. After much searching we did. But we are concerned that if we just show up, they will not see us but try to assign us an appointment. 

The most that we can surmise, is that you can stay up to 90 days before you need an extension or a visa. Again, we don’t get it. We are here spending money, shopping, eating at restaurants, stimulating the economy….why????? I wonder what’s the process for trying to have a long term visit in the USA?

Enough!

After several frustrating hours, we decide to get out for a walk. Just looking out our windows, the sun was bright and the sky was blue and clear. We both had on shorts. However, when we got outside, it was cool. Hubby asked did I want him to go back and get our jackets. I said no, thinking it would warm up as we started walking. 

No….it was a beautiful day, but chilly. We did brave it by walking on the sunny side of the streets. When I checked my pedometer when we got back, we walked over two miles. We stopped by the store to pick up a few things, then headed towards home.

We past the club where we listened to live music when Daughter was here, Golden Friends. One of the workers was coming out and recognized us. Cool! He invited us to return on Friday night. He said they would be playing jazz music, starting about 10pm. We’ll be back. 

That’s been the one neat thing since we’ve been here. Is the meeting people and developing relationships. I’m good, if and when it’s just me and Hubby, but to have our circle expanded with expats or locals makes it feel more like a place you want to be. You feel a part of the community. It feels like home….

We ate our leftover dinner. Then Hubby took his normal position, humped over his laptop. I reclined on the couch to read a murder mystery novel by one of my favorite authors, Joanne Fluke, ‘Devil’s Food Cake Murder.’ I like her because she doesn’t cloud her writing with unnecessary sex, violence or profanity. And her protagonist runs a cookie-bakery shop, so her novels includes lots of yummy recipes!

After a while, Hubby finds an English speaking movie to watch, but after few minutes…it was watching me!

Boa noite!

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Portimão, May 3, 2017, Day 22

Today we want to try and go to Alvor. I looked really hard at the bus schedules. It seems that you should be able to go from here to there via bus. I could not figure it out though. But we thought that if we get confused, the bus drivers should be able help us out. Now, that we have the kind of breakfast fixings that we like, we eat breakfast at home, in the apartment, and save our spending money for eating dinner out. Today, I made waffles, fried egg and turkey bacon. The waffles are different. First of all, they are not frozen. They were sold in the aisle with doughnuts. And they are very sweet. When you put them in the toaster, they still come out wiggly but hardened on your plate. I know they are not healthy. Not whole grain or low fat like the waffles we buy at home, but these are pretty good. Daughter wishes she could have taken some home with her.

We leave out about 12:30 and go to the bus stop near the apartment building. Then Hubby realizes that he left his wallet and credit card in our room. He goes back to get it. It is taking him forever to return. I am on pins and needles thinking that a bus is going to come any minutes. After so long, I figure that he is talking with someone at the front desk.

Then my phone rings. He said that he did speak with Maria at the desk and as much as he could understand from her, we need to go on the main street by the beach to catch the bus. So we go there and wait for a bus. When one finally comes, Hubby asks the driver if this bus went to Alvor. He said no. Either go to the beach further back about 1km or go to the mall. 

OK…so we walk towards the other beach. But when we get to what we think is the right area, there is no bus stop. There is a gas station nearby, Hubby goes in to try and get directions. The guy is really helpful, but this English is not that good. He tries to tell us what building we need to stand in front of. He points in the direction of where we stood when we first left the apartment, but on the other side of the street. 

So again we take off. We get to the building where he said we should be standing. It’s in front of a hotel. Hubby thinks they would know if this is where we need to be, so inside he goes. When he comes back out, he said, no. The bus here will not take us to Alvor. We need to go to the city center and get on another bus and then that bus does not take us all the way to Alvor. We would need to transfer. But to take a taxi should be about 10€. 

Sounds like a plan! We will do that tomorrow.

We have walked +3000 steps in one big circle. If it weren’t for the fact that today was a gorgeously beautiful day and it was just so wonderful to be outside, I would have been upset. But hey! We’re in Portugal! No problems!

But now we are hot. To reward ourselves, we are going to treat ourselves to some ice cream! Sounds good to me! 

In walking to the restaurant, we pass a place that manages short and long term apartment rentals. But they are closed for lunch. Looks interesting, we will stop by there after we eat our ice cream. 

And the ice cream was sooo good! I think mine was some kind of strawberry dessert. It was really good. And Jackie had a banana split. 

After we ate, we went to the property management office and spoke with the young lady there. We told her that we were looking for a two bedroom unit for about six months, starting in October. She said that, of course, she only had one unit left for that time frame. It was actually available until May. It was empty now because they needed to do some small jobs to get it ready for the summer rentals. The cost is about 80€ more than what we are paying now. But this is right across the street from the ocean. And besides having two bedrooms, it also had two bathrooms! Fixe (which means Cool!)!

She took us to the apartment. OMG!! It was amazing. Much bigger than where we are now. The master bedroom is big and roomy, with an en suite bathroom off the master, only one sink and a walk-in shower. The second bedroom is about the size of our current bedroom. The second bathroom has a tub in it. The kitchen is a separate room with a GAS stove and large enough for a table against the wall with three chairs. The living area also had the dining table. But what blew us away was when she opened the curtains and we saw the view! I was sold! This is why the rent is higher….but OMG!! It is worth every penny or euros of it!

We talked some about the rental process then went back to her office. She said all that she required right now was our email address to send the information. If we were interested, then we would put down a deposit to hold the unit.

Later, Hubby said it was meant that we didn’t, or couldn’t go to Alvor. It was meant for this to happen. We spent a little while looking at the pictures of the unit that I took. Then I realized that I didn’t get the second bathroom nor the complete living area. But we don’t think it will be a problem for us to go back and see the unit again when we are ready to put in a deposit. 

We are going out for dinner. When we are out earlier, we saw a sandwich board in front of a restaurant that advertised a three course meal for 10,90€, beverage, entrée and dessert. 

I had the chef’s cod, which was a baked casserole of cuttlefish, potatoes, cheese, boiled egg, cream and olive oil. I was skeptical, but I wanted to try different things…OMG!! This was sooo good. It was piping hot and a very generous portion. Hubby ordered turkey scallops which came with white rice, gravy with mushrooms and a salad. For dessert I had caramel flan and he had a slice apple cream pie. Then we also ordered two cappuccinos. It was a very nice dinner.

When we got back to the apartment, we looked up information on relocating to Portugal. Some of it is confusing. Some of it is very vague. But we decided that we would forgo our trip to Alvor and see what we can resolve by making some phone calls or talking with some people. 

I am sooo excited!

I know that we talked about Lagos….but OMG!! This unit and its location it too good to pass up. And we can always take the train to visit Lagos.

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Portimão, May 2, Day 21

BooHoo!😩 Daughter is gone! 

She left this morning. The YellowFish Transfer came to pick her up. And they were early. Jackie looked out the window about 7:45, and saw the taxi already at the front door. He was due to arrive at 7:50. Ok, I know, five minutes. But in Detroit, the taxis are always late! You always have to wait for them. But here, the service is very prompt. Now there is a flurry of activity for her to leave. She was already finished with everything.

The driver who picked her up, was the same guy who dropped us off. He was really nice. He even had a held device that weighed her luggage, even though she knew that she was under the limit (since she had not bought anything). But it was a clever gadget (who’d a thought?). 

I’m busy taking pictures of her, once she gets inside of the vehicle, but she never looks up. She is just digging in her purse. The taxi starts to pull away, but he stops. Then he backs up and returns to the front of the building. Daughter jumps out and says that she doesn’t have her purse! I’m thinking it’s the BIG blue that she’s been carrying around. How could you forget that? Then what were you doing in while in the taxi?

As we rode up the elevator, I said that was really nice of the driver to wait like that. She said he was the one asking her did she have this and that, did she have her passport? So that’s when she started looking for her purse (a shoulder bag), which had her passport. Then she couldn’t find the purse. Now she hopes that she just didn’t overlook it in all of the excitement. 

But, there it is on a chair, partially under the dining table. I didn’t see it when I got up, and I don’t think that she ever used it while she was with us. But all is well. 

Hugs and kisses again and she’s off!

While Hubby and I return to the apartment, I say that I keep my passport with me all the time. I think that I read that somewhere. I also have two paper copies of it. Ronnie has a copy of my passport and my driver’s license…AND…I have a copy of my passport on my phone! LOL!! I think that I’m covered!

After all of that, Hubby goes back to bed and goes to sleep. I’m up. Then I remembered with all of the excitement, we did not have prayer. So I said a prayer for her and then sent her a text to let her know that I did. Last night I wrote my blogs, so I’m good with that. All up to date. I read my devotions and skim the New York Times. I ate breakfast: a bowl of cereal, toast, and a cup of coffee. 

Hubby is still asleep. I sit on the couch to read some more of The Times. Hubby gets up and we decide to go walking today. We need a few things from the store and we need to withdraw more Euros. But he is sitting at his laptop, now I get sleepy and doze for a while. 

When he starts fixing his breakfast, I get up to get dressed. The weather looks perfect! Sorry Daughter! It’s always like that when you end your vacation. That is when you have the bluest skies, the brightest sun, the balmiest weather.

We start off walking down The Strip. When we stopped to look at some real estate postings on a building, one of the realtors came out to talk with us. She gave us some very useful information, a real estate magazine and her contact info. Then we veered left to go to the marina a different way. 

It was a beautiful day. We took some pictures.

This is a picture of the plaque on the fort. But now we are hungry. My cereal has vanished. We saw a restaurant with very unique hamburgers, but it hadn’t opened. Now we are starved. We see a Pizza Hut, yeahhh…. but they are closed too! What’s up? It is after four o’clock…OK, I could eat a Burger Ranch now. Hubby says, noooo. When he had his in Lagos, he said it was really bad. 

Now to get back to the street level, we have to walk up the stairs to the fort and those are really hard stairs to walk. I need to get a picture of them the next time that we re in this area. 

We decide to stop at Pizzeria La Dolce Vita. We ordered a vegetarian pizza, but then added chicken to it. I had water, Hubby had a coke. The pizza was amazing. I am still getting used to corn on my pizza. We don’t have that in the States…but it is very good. Then after we ate, we decided that we wanted some ice cream. So after a couple tastes, I chose cup of Creme Algarve and Jackie got a cone of Snickers ice cream. Both were yummy.

We go to the store to pick up a few things. But they don’t have the orange or bread that we like. We’ll just go to another store later. 

When we are back to the apartment, the clothes that I washed earlier are dry. I stay on the balcony to fold them when I hear someone calling my name. It is Steve. He is walking in the parking lot, with a lady. She must be his friend from Thailand. He waves and says that we’ll get together later.

Hubby is at this laptop. I am trying to figure out how to get to Alvor by bus. Their schedules are sooo confusing! Time flies by. It’s 7:40 and we think the store closes at eight. It’s just a short walk there. We get the juice and bread and a couple potatoes. 

Hubby doesn’t want his chicken from yesterday, he said that he would just eat popcorn. So I ate it. Then I got sleepy and took a nap on the couch. 

When I awoke, Jackie said Alfred Hitchcock was on. He had a small bowl with popcorn in it. After that was all gone, I asked where was the rest of it. He said that he ate it while I was asleep. Wow! That didn’t even wake me up! Also, he and Daughter had been texting. I slept through that and he called to check on things at home. He talked with Granddaughter for a minute and I slept through that too!!!

But now, it’s almost one a.m. I hope that I’m able to fall asleep!

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Portimão, May 1, 2017, Day 20

Today is Daughter’s last full day here. This is bittersweet for a couple of reasons. One, it has been a blast having here her. I am so happy that the weather cooperated, so we could do some outdoor things. But her leaving also signals the fact that our time too, is drawing to an end. We still have a week to go…so I am going to enjoy that fact with no regrets!When I got up, she was already up. She said she was cramping. Agh! I am so glad that this days are long gone! I gave her some Tylenol, then asked her if she wanted to use my heating pad that I brought in case my hips hurt. She did. But then I remember about the current difference. When I told Daughter, she said that when she bought her converter, the salesperson made it seem like everything would be able to use it.

I wasn’t sure, so I googled it. That was confusing. But it seemed like if the wattage and volts fell in a certain range, the converter would work. OK. 

She plugged the converter into the wall and then added the plug for the heating pad. Then POP! It blew up the controller! Wow!

Of course, now it smells like burnt electricity. And now the outlet doesn’t work. But I knew where the fuse box was. I saw that one was tripped. I flipped it back and the outlet worked again. So, I read some more about the current difference. Now I am sooo confused. I guess if you want to use something electric, you need to buy it here!

My heating pad is now in the trash can.

Today, we were able to have a breakfast, like Hubby is used to having at home. We had turkey bacon, scrambled eggs/egg white, waffles with syrup and hash brown potatoes. He said that all he was missing was grits. I told him that Jumbo’s may have it. We’d have to look. We are needing to shop soon, we are missing a lot of stuff. I am sure we’ll bite the 14€ cab fare and go back there. 

The waffles are sweeter, maybe because they are mostly used in desserts here. But they were still pretty good. And the turkey bacon was really wide, so Hubby sliced it down the middle to make two slices out of one. And it was thicker and really chewy. We had talked about going to the beach because this was supposed to be a really nice day. Now when I checked the weather on my app, it was saying 68°. But when Hubby checked, he said it was 52°! Now that’s a big difference and he said that when he looked outside, he saw people in coats. But by now, Daughter and I have our suits on. So he puts his on, along with his jacket and we head out to the beach.

And OMG!! It is chilly. I didn’t wear a jacket and neither did Daughter. She and I both had on sleeveless tops. But I am being super optimist, it has to be warmer when we get to the beach. Well, we get there and it is WINDY!!! And of course, we say, if the wind was not blowing, it would be OK. But …it was blowing. But I found out, that when I laid down, it wasn’t as windy. LOL!! Then Hubby said he was laying behind me, so I could block the wind off him!!! Shame on him.

Daughter wanted some pictures taken of her, so she and Jackie went off. He played the photographer. 

We stayed on the beach a couple hours. We were to meet Steve and Kris at 6:30. But they hadn’t confirmed and Hubby couldn’t check his emails while we were out. So when we got back it was 6:10. He checked his email and found that they said they would meet us in the lobby at 6:30! And could we pick the place!!! 

So everyone had no more than 10 minutes in the bathroom. No time for a shower, just a quick swipe and change clothes!!!! Whew!!! But we did it! And we decided that Taffy’s would be a good place to go.

When we got downstairs, they were there waiting for us. We made introductions then started off to the restaurant. I had on long flowy pants with a short sleeve tee shirt. I had a sweater with me and I’m glad I did, because it did get cool before we returned. Hubby had on shorts and he said his knees were cold.

We had a really good dinner and conversation. I had salmon. Hubby had a dish called Hunter’s Chicken. Chicken breast with bacon (minus that), cheese and tomato or marinara sauce. I tasted it. It was very good. Daughter had Curry Chicken, very good too. Then we had warm chocolate fudge cake with ice cream for dessert. Yum! Yum!

We got one of the waiters to take a picture of us. Then we went to Steve and Kris’s to look at some of their pictures from Thailand. In fact a couple that they met there, is flying in tonight to stay here a month. We will get to meet them before we leave.

We visited about an hour or so, then came home so Daughter could start packing….

The taxi picks her up at 7:50am….

I’ll be sad to see her leave, but at least she was able to make it here…even though she did invite herself! LOL!! 

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Portimão, April 30, 2017, Day 19

The Lord is in His Holy Temple. Let ALL the Earth keep silence before Him. Since we did not go to church today, after breakfast, we had our own service here. I read a scripture and spoke about what it meant to me. The scripture that I read was 1 Peter 1:3-12, concentrating on verses 8,9. Then I had prayer, after which Hubby and Daughter gave words of prayers and gratitude. 

It’s a little gray and the forecast says that it is to rain starting at 12:45pm. It’s also chilly, again.

Hubby got an email from Steve, saying that Kris is still sick, so they want to postpone dinner until tomorrow night. OK. I pray that she will feel better.

We were going to go walking to the marina area, but Daughter said that she would rather go to the mall. Jackie said he will stay at the apartment, so it will just be her and I catching taxis and being out alone.

I told her that I’d been out before without Hubby. She said that was different because I did not have to interact with anyone. True. But, I’m game!

I take a picture of the mall’s address, just in case our driver doesn’t understand me. But the name is pretty simple. AQUA Portimão shopping centre, and aqua means blue. (I am not sure why that name. When we got there, the building is not blue.). I already have the address to the apartment in my phone and we have had to use that twice.

The shopping center is about ten minutes away. When the taxi drops us off, we notice that there is a taxi stand in front. Good, that will make it easier for us when we are ready to leave.

The first thing we come to is an information desk. The lady sitting there speaks some English. Daughter asks for a mall map. They don’t have one. They have free English newspapers. I pick up one, thinking that it’s about the shopping centre and stuff. However, when we got home and I started reading it, Hubby is was the same newspaper that he was reading online or getting emails from. But he was familiar with it. Cool! It did have interesting articles in it, but I’m getting ahead of myself! We are still at the mall.

And I guess that I should call it what it says, shopping centre. And I guess that is because the center is open air. And to my understanding, malls are enclosed…but….it is much easier to say mall, so that will be my reference.

I felt confident that Daughter and I would do OK. We have found that the majority of the people speak some English. My favorite phase is, *Eu não falo português.* Which means, I don’t speak Portuguese. Or I could say, *eu falo um pouco de português.*

I speak very little Portuguese. But, if Hubby and I are going to make a go of this for six-twelve months, I need to get better!

Anyway, back to the mall. We go in a few stores. I tried on a few things. But I am not the shopper. I have to be in the mood and then have certain things that I am looking for. Since I wasn’t, I just tagged behind Daughter and pulled on things. Every now and then, i saw something to piqued my interest, but not enough to try it on. And after a while, Tryna got tired and suggested we get some refreshments. 

We figured out where there was a coffee shop and set out to find it. It appears there are three levels. At that time, we were on the main level and the coffee shop was on the lower. When we went down there, we saw some things and even another place to get coffee, but not the one we were looking for, so we kept looking. When we came to another mall directory, we stopped again to get our bearing but we still didn’t see it. BUTTT…what we did see was that we were near this grocery store attached to the mall, called JUMBO, so we had to go in.

The first area that we came to was their electronics department which was a good thing because Daughter has been having mucho problems with her camera and she needed some technical help. While I was off trying to find a guy, she found someone on her own and was conversing with him. His English was pretty fluent and they were able to communicate. 

Unfortunately, he couldn’t help her with the settings on her camera and suggested getting a new memory card. But they didn’t sell her particular one there, he did see that one of their competitors may have it. And this store was in walking distance from here. That was very nice of him.

I knew Daughter was anxious to get her camera working properly and probably wanted to head to the other store right away. But I told her, I could not leave this one without checking to see IF they had turkey bacon. I’m sure they don’t, but I have to check.

And…..to make a long story short. They HAD turkey bacon! WooHoo!! They had egg-whites. Waffles. And ‘American’ maple syrup! I knew that Hubby would be in heaven. But I was only able to find these thing by a super helpful employee. I will write a glowing review on this store. I didn’t get her name, but I will describe where she was working. And also include the guy who helped Daughter. 

We left the mall after Daughter went into one last store. I stayed in the common area with our bag. I didn’t need to go inside. Even though she didn’t get anything, I was glad she got a chance as shopper to see what a mall looks like in Portugal. Now we need to find, Worten. This is the store that should have the memory stick for her camera. To get to it, we need to pass a Burger King. So we stop in, she gets a caramel frappé for her and a large fry for us to split.

While we were there, I asked about their coffee, only to find out that it is similar to the espresso type coffee that I’ve been getting in restaurants (Later Hubby told me, that when he’s online reading travel blogs, that is a complaint he hears a lot. That people miss real American coffee and pancakes.).

Worten is at the end of this strip mall-type area. It’s small. Kind of the size of a Staples store. We find the place with the memory cards, then find the one that she needs based on the parameter the guy at Jumbo’s gave her. But! It’s 35€! Holy smoke!!!! Needless to say, she didn’t buy it. 

We walked back to the mall where the taxi stand is, got a cab and came home.

We were gone about six hours. Now we are both hungry and tired. Jackie was sooo surprised that we didn’t do shopping for ourselves, and that we came back with just one bag. Well. It wasn’t for lack of trying….but it is like that sometimes.

We have our leftovers from the All Beef restaurant and Jackie walked to the corner store while we were gone to pick up a few things. So we have a nice dinner of meat, vegetables and potatoes. 

Because Daughter’s time here is winding down, she wants to go out and listen to some music. Hubby, of course, is all up for it. I’m not. I would prefer to stay in…but, I say OK. That I would go too. 

We knew that a hotel on the strip (as the main street is called) has nightly music starting at 9:30. So about ten, we head out. When we get into the area with all of the restaurants and bars, there is a big difference in the people who are out now. There are lots of large groups of young men and lots of young people. The families and older people are no where to be found. It’s more of a party atmosphere. 

When we get to the Hotel Jupiter and go inside, it is quiet. No music. But lots of older people (here is where they are!) sitting in the lobby, lounge area. We find three seats together and when a waiter came by, he said that the singer was taking a break, but would return soon. So we got settled and ordered something to drink. Then the music started up again.

It was a one man show playing a guitar and singing to a music machine. He sung lots of different genres. It was so cool to watch the dancers. I am not sure if these ladies were tourists or locals, but they had on their party dresses and dancing shoes! Them and their partners were very smooth and intimidating! Not everyone was like that, but enough of them did. Hubby and I finally danced one song.But we didn’t stay because this was really the mature crowd and way too old for Daughter to enjoy. And as we were leaving, some old man grabbed her hand to try and talk to her! Too funny! She said that she thought he had winked at her earlier…So it was good that we were leaving, LOL!! 

We were trying to find another place that had karaoke. But we couldn’t. Now we’re almost at the apartment and we go past a small club with live music. We go in and sit to listen for a while. It was a lady on vocals, a guitarist and a drummer. They were all very good. They had a good selection of music and even threw in some Motown songs. When they did Marvin Gaye’s, Let’s Get it On, I asked Hubby to dance. He was sooo surprised. I never want to dance especially in a place where no one is dancing. But he accepted and the band was pleased that we did (we were right in front of them).

Even though we were drinking coffee and I had espresso, I was getting tired. So about 1:30am, we waved goodbye to the band and left.

Needless to say, this is why I am a day late posting. I was just tooo tired when we got home.

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