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? đŸ™‚

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.

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

It’s Outdoor Events Season

June 22, 2019

There are many. Except as noted, all take place in either the large city park (Parque Dom Carlos I), or in and around a campus-like cluster of municipal buildings about 800 meters to the west (a technical school, hospitality industry school, Senior University, indoor sports complex, city library, and a combination BMX / skate park).

Sports demonstrations, food, music, and ‘muito mais…’ (much more…)
Live theater. Title translates to The City of the Birds.
Sardines, music and Marchas Populares

What are Marchas Populares? According to this article, it’s a combination parade and singing competition on St. Anthony’s day, first held in a Lisbon park in 1932. In 1934 an estimated 300,000 people filled six city parks. People came from Spain for the event. According to this article, it’s evolved into:

” The feast days of the popular saints (festas dos Santos Populares) is held in every street, neighborhood, and public square of the city. The biggest street party of the year might sound religious in nature, but trust me, it’s really all about sardines, beer, and irritatingly catchy folk music called pimba, which can only be described as slightly polka sounding songs that focus on squeaky-clean lyrics with sexual undertones. “


Annual party hosted by the SCMCR, a group that assists children and seniors, who sometimes live in the SCMCR facilities. Besides the 4 bands, there will be sardines, snacks, pig roasted on a spit, and much liveliness. Admission will cost you 2 smiles and donation of 1 drink (beer or juice). Held in the bullring. For an aerial view of the facility, at Google Maps paste this into the search box: CV58+34 Caldas da Rainha , zoom in, then switch to satellite view.

Art works encouraging greater awareness of the natural world

The Superior School of Arts and Design of Caldas da Rainha (ESAD.CR) is one of the best in the nation. Don’t know if their students are the source of the works displayed.

Eight types of display art plus ambient sound.

Held at the regional bus station in the town center. The covered outdoor areas are so much larger than needed for waiting bus passengers, it seems as if it were designed as a dual use space.

Dance Performances
Band, orchestra, and philharmonic performances
Championship BMX and Skate, food, music, and surprises
Photo I took early on the second day of the event

The First Day of Shorts

May 30, 2019

Pleasantly toasty today. I took the long way to everywhere I walked. I was kissed by the sun and I liked it. Now I have to find where I put my sandals.

No optical illusion. I’m really that skinny.