Today, I woke up feeling ill at the prospect of returning to Florida in a week, but the good news is that yesterday was finally cool enough in Tavira for my wife and I to take a hike in the backwoods of the Algarve.
We didn’t have to go very far to find ourselves almost completely alone — at last.
Portugal is quite desolate, outside of the coastal areas, it looks like. It was rather enjoyable not to be forced to deal with the Birkenstocks for once. A semi wild dog guarding a ruined small goat farm did give us pause.
After a while, dealing with the persistent black flies became too much for us to enjoy nature without being attacked by these harassing blood-sucking insects.
So we turned back, and passed the railroad bridge and the challenging steps leading up to our house in the sky, then past the walkway where the bees of Tavira like to build their secret mud hives, and then we crossed a low bridge into East Tavira, where, faster than you can say Birkenstock, we were soon passed by a fake choo choo all get up to look like some sort of Disneyworld children’s train that was full of them. We continued walking along the river bank into the east side of town, took a snap of the plaque that describes the legend of this river, then went back home, as it was becoming quite hot again, and our Merrill hiking boots felt like lead weights on our feet.
Later that day, we went out in the evening to try to have dinner at Aquasul, but it was closed unexpectedly for some unspecified reason. We wandered around town between 7 and 8PM, trying to find a dining place that was not infested with Birkenstocks. No use; they were everywhere, foraging atop the cobblestone streets in their English and German and Italian and French geezerhood, looking for food, food, food. So we decided to go to the Mamma Mia backup place that we use in emergencies when we wish to dine. It’s usually empty, and it was again last night, around 8-ish, so we went in and sat down at a table in the back with only a few other diners scattered about. The waitress took her time coming to take her order. Ten minutes went by, as we sat in the un-airconditioned restaurant, and then, as if by predestination, some English Birkenstock moomoos waltzed in, and the Maitre D guy sat them right next to us. In a virtually empty restaurant.
I looked at my wife, and we just got up and left, just as the waitress was finally coming to take our order. I do not do well in the era of mass tourism; perhaps this is because I spent so much of my childhood in far different circumstances, when summering by the sea. At any rate I can barely tolerate sitting in touristy overpriced restaurants among old people chewing their cud contentedly, while talking about real estate deals and residency permits.
We ambled to the edge of town — it was now nearing 8:30PM — and found most everything there closed, except for a few Tapas bars. We walked by yet another Indian restaurant, where one of their sentinels was standing post by the menu board.
When he did the usual thing these chaps do, which is mumble something under his no doubt curry breath about chicken tandoori, I asked him point-blank “why are there so many Indian restaurants in Tavira?” and the guy answered, without skipping a beat in that bogus, deflectionary, never answering a question directly, I’m-going-to-pretend-I’m-an-idiot way that non-IT Indians have perfected the world over, except of course for Sir Salman Rushdie, and replied “because people like Indian food.”
We continued on to Flavors, a place I like. It’s good for people watching, so long as suicide cases are not smoking at the next table, and it’s owned by an enterprising Portuguese woman. The waiter is a really nice Portuguese guy in his early 30s. Fortunately the place was almost empty, as they close at 9PM, thought there was a young foreign woman, siting with two of her friends, chain-smoking away a few tables over — but eventually they left and we had the whole place to ourselves.
I asked the same question about why all the Indian eateries in Tavira, and the waiter launched into some complicated story about the deep historical relationship between the ancient Portuguese explorers and the Far East, and how the present government encourages foreign investment, and then we had our soup and sandwiches for dinner, and just before we left the waiter mentioned that the president of Portugal had met the orange asshole in DC and it had included some inappropriately jokey Christiano Renaldo reference which was not appreciated at all in Portugal.
We answered that the orange turball is not really the president, even though many people call him that, for a variety of self-interested reasons, and then we went home and watched some Breaking Bad episodes on Netflix TV as the updates of a Cat 4 hurricane closing in on the panhandle rolled in.
Much as I loathe the racists who populate that part of the Sunshine State and have much to do with making Florida possibly the most corrupt, venal, bigoted, meth head Klan loving state in the union, I hope no one dies from this or even loses their prideful red MAGA baseball cap in the ferocious wind that will soon remind them that climate change is not some fiction conjured up by elitists with Liberal Arts degrees.
Here as the pics.