Today started like this.

Then at a little past 11am, a nice American couple — Joanne and Tony — came by and picked us up in their car and showed us around.

The municipality of Tavira is fairly spread out.

We mostly drove around Santa Luzia, which is a freguesia, or parish, of Tavira, and saw various sights.

These included the wide salt pans, where salt is still produced from the waters of the Ria Formosa tidal inlets.  Here the difference between high and low tide can exceed an impressive 8 feet.

We also saw the now abandoned tuna and sardine canning factories that recall Tavira’s past as a fishing village; and then, going inland, Joanne gave us a quick drive-by tour of the various types of housing that are available in the area, from spiffy vacation condos to subsidized low income apartment buildings; the ultra modernistic town library; and a sort of gymnasium that had a tennis court and a pool.

I have great hopes that this library may contain information about the Moors in Tavira, as there is not much to be found online.  Of course the Islamic museum might prove to be another useful source for this project.

We ended up having lunch at a sansfaçon place in St Margarida, a kind of roadside back country open air restaurant where the prices are half to a third of what they are in downtown Tavira.

If you have wheels, unassuming places like the “Circle Restaurant” (I never did quite catch the name of the place) are a wise choice, as the food is delicious, the price right, and the vibe non touristy, and you also get to see things along the way like fig and olive trees and rural graffiti and humming-bird moths and attractively run down farmhouses.

Can you spot the humming bird moth?

During the ride, we also learned about the finer points of saying Thank You in Portuguese: men say obrigado, women obrigada; the ending is based on the gender of the speaker.

After very pleasant but all too few hours with this delightful American couple, we returned to our place, and, following a two-hour siesta, then headed back to town around sunset.

My wife bought the various perfumed soaps that she was hankering for, and I found a street vendor in one of the white tents by the Arab bridge who sold Medronhos fire water — very rare and hard to find!

Mr Awesome soap
Soap for Mr. Awesome!

The nice older woman at the stall spoke no English but another vendor who was a very helpful young man translated for us.

It turned out she was the wife of the distiller who made the brandy from the fruit of wild strawberry trees that apparently only grow in certain regions around Tavira,

We also bought a loaf of country bread, then had dinner again at the Emigrante Cantinho, and this time I ordered the seared tuna with onion sauce, while my wife had a pork and white bean dish.

Unfortunately an event in the center of town, by the Roman bridge, had started up by then.  I have developed a phobia toward dance music, due no doubt to my stay in Gouna, where I was subjected to deafening levels of jive beats at Abu Tig marina where my rental was located.

This vid is how it first sounded, in the early part of the evening, for the kiddies, before they amped up the decibels around 10pm. and all the heavy hitters and their skanks showed up.

That I would encounter this sort of thing in Tavira was disappointing.  Then again, my wife found these signs of life quite agreeable and rather fun, and declared that I may have turned into a grumpy old man before my time.

I am too old for this sort of thing now.

So shoot me.

We retired to the apartment, which is set high up on a sort of rock and dirt cliff, far from the center of town; nevertheless, the river carried the thumping “music” all the way back to our sky nest and the obnoxious din lasted till past 1am.

Good thing the place has thick modern soundproof windows, which helped a lot.  I turned the TV to a Portuguese music channel that was playing a Cristina Branco Fado tune, and that was that.

I listened to the doleful music for a few minutes, not understanding a word, yet which transported me to another emotional time zone and area code, with every strum of every minor chord capturing the very soul of Portugal.

Satisfied now that I had the suitably tragic background sound track to accompany the Iberian mood I was in, I contemplated us going to the beach in the morn.

Autumn kicks off on Sunday with daytime temperatures expected to hit 90 in the shade.

train tracks to spain
The train tracks to Spain near our Tavira digs

Before frying on the sand, however, we have to check out the train schedule and let Jére and Rémi know which train we are taking on Monday to meet them at Castro Marim, which is at the very edge of the Algarve, on the Spanish border.

So nice of them to have invited us to show us around there, as it was of Joanne and Tony to spend the day with us yesterday.

Obrigado!

leaving america

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