Faro is a town in the Algarve region, which is in the south of Portugal. It has a population of about 50,000 which means they only have three taxis and a minibus service that does three different loops around the town. When I say minibus I mean mini too. Generally speaking all of the minibus drivers were so rude! One day Nat was querying the destination of the bus, the driver grunted, didnâ€™t answer her question and then started to drive off while Nat was still on the bus halfway stepping off the bus. How rude!
Faro was a fantastic place to relax though. Rach, my sis Nat and I all stayed at our grandmaâ€™s place. Our grandma was so good to us. She is the nicest person and not only gave us a free roof over our heads, she always made sure we were fed full to the brim with food. We had the best breakfast, lunch and dinners. Except with one exception when we found a chicken foot, neck and liver in a stew!!! All of us definitely miss the delicious Portuguese bread, soft yummy cheese and fantastically smelling chorizo salami.
Rach and I arrived by train and my uncle picked us up. I was surprised to hear him greet me and speak to me in English for duration of the car ride home. Later that night my grandma put on a massive dinner for us with my uncle Manuel (Mumâ€™s brother), aunty Rosario and their daughter (my cousin) Patricia who had not been born when I was there last. We had a great time catching up and exchanging differences in countries. My uncle explained to me that every one speeds and a lot of the times 50 km/h or more over the limit on the highways because there are not many police and that if you did get caught they can be paid off. I said that was vastly different from home when rarely people would speed for fear of getting caught. I told him if you tried to pay off a policeman in Australia they would get very offended and get their baton, smash your tail light then issue you a ticket for having a broken tail light Does that scenario sound familiar from Chief Wigem?
On our second day we were in the city where a massive 5 metre screen had been set up and we watched Portugal versus Iran. There were hundreds of people, chairs, food and drink stalls set up. Clearly Portugal won. Later that night we went to the farm of my mumâ€™s aunty. One of few memories that I have of this place from when I was here last was seeing a chicken getting its head cut off and running around headless. Apparently I cried. We met a whole bunch of people that I had not seen since my last time in Portugal. Know one knows exactly but I think I was between 5 and 7 years old.
We all headed for dinner that night to a well known Portuguese restaurant. I met my other cousin JoaoÂ (Patriciaâ€™s brother). It was good fun catching up with every one. All the adults were so amazed at how weâ€™d all grown in 16 years The photo of the youngens is Rach, Nat (nice smile Nat!), Patricia, Joao (cousins), Bruno and I. The photo of the young at heart is Fernandaâ€™s friend, Fernanda (mumâ€™s aunty), my grandma, Jacqueline, Rosario (my aunty) and Manuel (my uncle).
On one of days we were on the minibus with some of Patriciaâ€™s friends and we showed them the section of our phrasebook titled bad language. It has how to say rude words in Portuguese. One of the guys started yelling out the English rude words on the mini bus. It was so funny hearing him pronounce our swear words in his accent and especially funny that Nat, Rach and I were the only ones on the full mini bus that knew what he was saying I guess you had to be there but the six of us were in stitches laughing at hearing them say rude words in English.
On our fourth day we headed for the beach with my cousin Joao. Joao loves his surfing and from what I can gather, he travels down south for the waves every weekend. We passed Lagos on the way to pick up some food and there was a circus set up and he said that there was a big scandal when they came to Faro just before. The circus is run by gypsies and apparently local family pets were going missing around Faro and it turned out the circus gypsies were stealing peopleâ€™s family cats and dogs and feeding them to the circus animals. He also said when the gypsies are in large numbers like a circus, the police are too scared to do anything about it. To top if off, a local water source was found to be contaminated and they found out that it was from the decaying remains of a dead elephant that the circus had buried in shallow grounds. Apparently youâ€™re not meant to just bury an animal of that size only a metre below the ground :O
The beach we went to was in area named Aljezur, very close to Lagos. It was a great looking beach and the weather was quite warm to top it all off. I needed to get some brown in me to make up for the lack of sun coming our way in London. After hanging around the beach for the day we went into this tiny bar with a 34cm TV to watch Australia play Brazil. It was us three skips versus a couple Brazilians that were in there. Australia had so many opportunities but they just never capitalised on them.