Portugal’s Plan to Reopen Starts in 3 Days

May 1, 2020

Yesterday the Prime Minister moved the country from a State of Emergency to a State of Calamity. I wonder what the State would be called if the Prime Minister’s name was Jane? 🙂

Here’s what we’re in for, as quoted from a Portugal news site –

Local businesses open their doors on May 4

In this first phase, it will be allowed the reopening of some stores that were forced to close with the state of emergency, decreed for the first time on March 19 by the President of Portugal.

– Small businesses, namely stores up to 200 square meters;
– Hairdressers and beauticians, as well as barbershops;
– Bookstores;
– Individual sporting activities are allowed, although without the use of changing rooms;
– Universities may return, but are not obliged. Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra can continue to have distance learning and resume only practical classes.

From May 18 to 31. Reopening restaurants and football is back

The government had already said that after taking the first steps in reopening the economy, it would monitor the effects on public health every 15 days. Thus, and if the contagions by Covid-19 do not register a significant leap, two weeks later, on May 18, we could see more businesses to open doors, including restaurants, as well as the return of classes for the older ones.

This is what can open in the second phase:

– Commercial spaces of up to 400 square metres, although municipal councils will have a special prerogative that will give them the power to allow stores with larger areas to open.
– Cafes, pastries and restaurants, but with conditions. The reopening of these establishments will take place with half the capacity, in order to ensure social distancing within the space, according to Radio Renascença.
– Some cultural spaces and museums.
– The classes are back for students of the 11th and 12th grades.
– Day care centers, although the government keeps the state aid for parents who stay at home with their children. This state aid will be in place until the end of May.
– Football will be able to return without spectators in the stadiums. The Liga Nos can resume games on the weekend of May 30 and 31.

Finally, as the pandemic develops in a controlled way, there will be the opening of more commercial spaces, namely the large stores, where many people gather.

Thus, in the third and final phase of this reopening on June 1:

– Commercial spaces of over 400 square meters, including shopping malls;
– After kindergartens, the preschool will also reopen.
– The polytechnic institutes may be left for the end and with restrictions.
– Football will be able to return without spectators in the stadiums.
– The start of the bathing season should bring limitations on access to beaches.

They want to live in Portugal, but don’t know what they don’t know

April 28, 2020

On forums and facebook groups, the ‘where is a good place to live?’ question is usually asked by those who’ve never been here. The jaw-dropping, but thankfully rare, version of the question adds two elements. They also ask for realtor recommendations for the places recommended. And they want to know how long does it take to buy a house because they’ll be here for only 2 weeks on their first trip to Portugal.

Most of their other questions could be answered by searching the same group where they are asking the question. Better yet, read the group for 30 min a day to both learn about living here and, more importantly, learn about things you’d never think of asking about.

I had no intention of writing about this until I heard a weird fact on a podcast where 4 funny Brits make make spontaneous comedy while discussing the weird facts they brought . That fact allowed me to illustrate the potential expats lack of awareness with an analogy from the US.

In 2003 Ottawa County, Michigan first produced a brochure, titled “If you are thinking about moving to the country.” They did it because newcomers complained to officials about routine farming activities. They complained about noise, dust, odors, spraying pesticides, spreading manure, transporting products, and driving slow machines on 2 lane roads. The brochure included a scratch and sniff preceded by “If of this odor you’re in doubt, scratch n’ sniff and you’ll find out.” The odor was cattle manure.

Read more at an alleged copy of an AP article or a site for daily farmers, or a news site from the Ottawa County seat.






Cable TV, Portugal Style

April 22, 2020

My apartment came with internet and cable (fiber optic?) TV. I’m bored enough now to write about it. All programming is English language from USA unless noted.

One channel occasionally runs Westerns, nothing but Westerns, for about a week. Some of them have been modified apparently to reduce the bandwidth needed. On medium shots where nothing much is happening except a character moving from one position to another, e.g., getting off a horse and walking onto a porch, it appears they eliminated every other frame of film before digitizing it. There’s a definite stutter to the movement.

Another channel seems to have all of Julianne Moore’s movies where she played a leading role and I’ve never heard of the movie. In some of them I don’t recognize the younger her at first. The channel plays these interspersed with other movies for about a week, then they disappear.

An Italian duo, stage-named Bud Spencer and Terence Hill, made about 20 films together, starting with spaghetti westerns. They were quite popular in Europe. They’re often on TV here. Too often. On occasion, I’ve watched a few scenes. I just don’t get it.

Films and TV shows have Portuguese subtitles. Listening to Spanish and reading Portuguese bends my brain. At times I will read the subtitles for English offerings because it helps learning the language. Besides English, programming includes French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and one set in South Africa was in Afrikaans and English.

Because there are commercials, sometimes I look up the US release title of the film and compare it to the literal translation of the Portuguese title. These ones amused me:

‘Bad Moms’ became ‘Mothers on the Loose’ (Mães à Solta)
‘Beverly Hills Cop’ became ‘The Police Hunt’ (A Caça Policias)
‘Red 2’ became ‘Red 2: Still Very Dangerous’ (Red 2: Ainda Mais Perigosos)
‘Into the Wild’ became ‘The Wild Side’ (O Lado Selvagem)
‘A Walk in the Woods’ became ‘This Way and There’ (Por Aqui e Por Ali)
‘Fool’s Gold’ became ‘The Stranded Treasure’ (O Tesouro Encalhado)
‘The Naked Spur’ became ‘Steel Spurs’ (Esporas de Aço)
‘Baby Boom’ became ‘Who Called the Stork’ (Quem Chamou a Cegonha)

How much does it cost to live there #3

July 12, 2019

Finally enough data for semi-meaningful category averages. I’ve compared my first 3 full months here in Caldas da Rainha to the 2018 monthly average in Hua Hin. Some categories are omitted because what I’m spending on is and will be so different than in Thailand. For example, I won’t be making 2 round trips flights from Bangkok to Europe in business class each year.

In the Difference column of the tables below black numbers show higher cost in Caldas, red lower cost in Hua Hin. All prices were converted to Dollars.

It was a no-brainer that housing costs would be much higher. I went from a studio apartment without a kitchen located far enough from the town center that leasing a motorbike was essential to a 3 bdrm, 2 bath apartment in the center. I wanted a 2 bdrm because rooms here are small. Took the 3 bdrm for the location and because it was only €50 more than what was the upper limit of what I’d wanted to pay.

Pellets? What are pellets? The lowest cost way to heat a living space: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pellet_stove

Food cost surprised me. Thought it was going to be higher in Caldas. Here I’m getting more animal protein, higher quality produce, bread, and cheese. The cafe portion sizes are substantially larger.

Much better insurance coverage, including my pre-existing conditions, for less in Portugal. Prices are so low that when they’re posted by expats on forums and FB groups, readers in the US think that’s the cost per month, not the cost per year. Prescription drug prices are lower, OTC higher. Both will go down now that I qualify for the SNS (national health system) health card.

Buses and roads are both better and more expensive here. No moto-taxis, Tuk-Tuks or Baht Buses here, so I’ve had to use taxis when buying something too big or heavy to carry home. Living in the center means zero need for a motorbike.

Laundry costs less because the apartment has a washer and 3 clothes lines outside the kitchen window. Spending more on clothes because after years in Thailand, I didn’t need any more shorts or t-shirts. That $23 average came from a single day in Lisbon at Primark (same retail concept as Zara and H&M) For my $69 I came home with 1 pair cotton twill pants ($9), 2 pairs cotton twill cargo pants ($15 each), 3 pairs of what I thought were called ‘boxer briefs’ but Primark calls them ‘hipsters’ ($10), and 6 pairs each of shorty athletic socks and longer, warmer socks. ($20). TMI?

Because this blog doesn’t have enough photos, here is today’s haul ($2.70) from the farmer’s market 200m from my apartment. For size reference, the green cutting board is 15″ wide. The yellowish ones are plums.

What Heat Wave?

June 28, 2019

It’s a good time to be on the central coast of Portugal.

35C = 95F, 37C = 98.6F, 39C = 102.2F