Tuesday, 30 October 2007

At last a bit of the 'real' stuff...

OLA one and all. I would like to begin this blog to announce that my blog should be coming to you live and clear from my new small village of Alvor on the Algarve about once a week (not more, most probably less.) I may also not be able to post photos as throughtout my explorations of this tiny town I have found only this one internet place which does not let you download anything so I will try and be more artistic with my words and paint you a verbal picture of my temporary life on the Algarve.

The sun is still shining strong here, with tempartures in the mid 20s and still plenty of time to tan and go to the beach. I still have not offically started work as such but have been getting to know this little town and doing a few more excursions (product knowledge and all that...hehe...) Also I have been settling into my four star home - oh did I not mention that I am living in a hotel? I am only here in Portugal for half the winter (probably until mid January) and therefor have been put up in a very nice 4 star hotel on full board. So no cleaning or cooking or anything really! It came as a pleasant surprise and I imagine if I was to live in a hotel for the whole summer I would have gone mad, but for half I winter I cannot complain what so ever. The full board thing is also much more fancy then it sounds. I am a vegetarian you see, and the bulk of the food in the hotel and restaurants here is meat and fish based...so basically I have been eating a lot of omlettes which is a little dull- BUT I do not have to pay so I am NOT one to complain!

I am happy to be here now and after taking a leisurely stroll through the town centre this morning, I have realised it really is very beautiful and 'real' here. Tourism has not yet ruined this small place. Sure it is touristy with bars and restaurants all catering to us foreign lot - however due to the size of the town (2 main tourist streets and a small marina) once you step back from these toursit spots you are smack bang in the middle of a Portugese village which reminds me a lot of Italy.

This morning the little old ladies dressed in the obligatory black were hanging their washing out to dry on the home made clohes lines strung in front of their houses. Scents of onion and garlic, the makings of the lunch meal wafted out of the open front doors. From balcony to balcony they called out to one another, surely gossiping if only I could understand them. By the church an old man was sitting in peace and tranquility before shaking his head slowly in disbelief as a family of half naked tourists came and started making noise and taking photos. It is almost November, and while the locals are wrapped up in their winter gear the tourists are still walking around topless, and girls with hot pants and bikinis on. (Really it is warm but not what I would call hot.)

As I wandered down to the marina the air was scented with fish being cooked on the open fires. Many of the restuarants will do this to entice guests: they bring the kitchen outside and cook fish and meats over charcoal flames out the front, so you can see and smell what you are about to eat. The town is quiet and the pace is slow.

I like it.

Also my Portugese is coming along (please note my spelling in Portugese is WRONG...tis is what it sounds like) I can:

order a coffee (um bica fash favore)
a small water without gas (agua pichena sem gas)
icecream (gelado)

All the important things covered. I can also say all the niceties such as please, thanks etc...and even I am being mistaken for Portugese. This morning while strolling around this tall blond english boy smiled at me and said 'bom dia' good morning - and he looked so happy and pleased that he was being polite and speaking Portugese that all I could do was smile and say 'bom dia' back...no use dashing his excitment by saying I am Australian!


Roam2Rome said...

I could just picture the scene with the foreigner thinking you were a local :) That's what we get for not being blond :)

Kataroma said...

Wow - Portugal! Sounds so exotic. Portugese is my absolute favourite language in the world sound-wise (Brazilian Portugese is what I've heard but I'm sure Portugese Portugese is nice too.) Such a gorgeous language.

How similar is it to Italian? It must be confusing!

Madelyne said...

sounds like you're settling in pretty well, almost a local.
Don't know how you can wrap your brain around yet another language.... you are truely talented in my books.

Leanne said...

Roam2Rome - having this brown hair and people thinking I am Portugese means that even locals stop me now asking me for directions (I think they are saying that as they are not speaking any language I know!)

Kataroma: I do not think the languages are similar at all but a lot of people have said they are. I think Spanish and Italian are much closer...Some of the words I understand and numbers etc...are similar but at least if someone does not speak English I can try and speak in Italian and we can sort of get by!

Madelyne: My ears are so confused at the moment hearing all these new sounds!