There were a number of frustrations of living in Germany; red traffic lights, law-abiding drivers, waiting at pedestrian crossings when the road is clear, you know the sort of thing. Portugal brings along a whole new set and the Algarvians have refined the art, bringing it to a fever pitch of ineptitude. So, the morning started with a queue of twenty at the Supermercado with one dozy old guy on checkout, leisurely counting out change and ignoring the customers who were getting more fretful by the minute.
Next, Mr Ilies arrived with the truck full of my house from Germany and we waited for the Portuguese crew to arrive to help unload. And we waited and waited. At eleven, he phoned them; sorry but they’d gone off to Lisbon to do another job and would be back tomorrow. They were full of apologies, of course, but if they spent as much effort doing what they were supposed to be doing as they spend making excuses, Portugal probably wouldn’t be a third world country. I’ve had six years to get used to the mentality but it still beggars belief at times. It’s not manana here, it’s amanha, which just doesn’t have that same sense of urgency. It’s I’ll get around to doing what I agreed to do when I’m ready. You are there for my convenience. Now, I should point out that the rest of the Portuguese from Lisbon and Porto consider the Algarvians to be yokels, so I don’t want to tar the entire Lusitanian race with the same brush.
OK, rant almost over. So we tried to recover a bit of the day and went to pay some bills. Another pokey little office with a queue which lasted an hour. The same resigned look on the blank face of the official. Then the post office. I only wanted to buy a stamp, I was number 264 but fortunately they had processed 249 by the time I got there and you can’t buy stamps in the shops. Thirty minutes later I was getting suicidal, then a calm settled over me and I started to recite a mantra…I won’t let them get me down…I will not get frustrated.
I’ll probably get used to it in the end because the only alternative is that I’ll get more and more frustrated. And I think I said that I wouldn’t. Really. I won’t. I’m determined not, not, NOT to get bloody frustrated.
Ah, that’s better. Now I wonder whether we’ll get to unload the lorry tomorrow? Hm. Time for a beer and a swim. You see, there are some compensations. I guess you can’t have it all.