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Published: September 21st 2017
The seagulls here are massive. One of them has taken a liking to some leftover breakfast, and it is threatening to cause some serious damage to the plates and cups on a table near us. Another seagull has set up shop on top of the umbrella that we are sitting under. We can see its silhouette, and it now looks even bigger. I hope they're friendly. I think I'd give up quickly if one of them wanted to fight me for a piece of toast.
We walk into Albufeira. We pass a bar with signs outside it with a list of English Premier League soccer matches that you can watch in the bar over the next few days. There are lots of them. An English man sees me looking at the sign and asks me which matches I'm planning to watch. I tell him that we are from Australia. He says that we probably watch Aussie Rules then. I'm surprised that he's even heard of Aussie Rules. He says that he can't understand why they play football in winter in England. He says that they have the world's worst climate so they should at least play football in summer. I
think that everyone in England might get very depressed if there wasn't any football to watch on TV when it was cold and gloomy in winter, but he sounds depressed enough already about the climate he has to live in, so I decide not to depress him any more by telling him this. I ask him whether there are any people left in England, because from what we've seen they all seem to be here in Albufeira. He says there are, but none of them are English.
We walk down onto the beach in Albufeira and then wander around the town. There is a South American duo playing pipe music in one of the squares and we spend a while listening to them. The music is haunting.
Issy needs a new pair of sunglasses so we spend a lot of time browsing shops looking for them. It seems that you can spend anything from five to five hundred euros on a pair of sunglasses. I wonder how the prices can vary so much. Surely the components are fairly standard. Maybe some of them have solid gold frames. I think that these would then cost more than five hundred
euros, so I decide that I can now stop wondering about why the prices can vary so much. Issy spins the sunglasses display stand around in one shop and it makes the umbrella that is protecting all the shop's merchandise fall over and drag most of the merchandise with it. There is temporary mayhem while the shop owner puts all his wares back in place.
We have a snack in Fishermans Square. The food arrives and Issy says gracias to the waitress. She keeps saying gracias to everyone. I tell her that based on what the tuk tuk driver told us last night she might as well be telling them to f*** off. She says she knows it is deeply offensive, but it has now become automatic. She repeats obrigada to herself many times, but the next time the waitress comes to the table she says gracias again. I think that Issy will very soon have offended just about everyone here, and I will have too by association. I hope that we don't get deported.
We buy a ticket for a tourist train, which looks like it might drop us somewhere back near the hotel. We are jammed
into the back carriage. Everyone else in the carriage is English, including an eighteen month old boy and his parents. The little boy decides that he wants to high five everyone in the carriage. When he's finished going round to everyone once, he goes around again. He is now looking a bit bored, so one of the older Englishmen starts singing "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round". Soon everyone in the carriage has joined in. He gets to the second verse which according to him goes "The women on the bus go chatter, chatter, chatter". I hadn't heard this verse before. Issy says that she doesn't think that this is part of the official version. His wife doesn't look too impressed and the singing soon stops. The tourist train drops us at the stop nearest to the hotel. We still have a long way to walk. I think that we might have been closer to the hotel when we were still in Albufeira.
We have a siesta and then catch a bus back into Albufeira as the sun is setting. We walk along the beach and then settle into a Japanese/Chinese restaurant. None of the items
on the menu have prices against them, so we ask the waiter how much everything costs. He says that you get all the food you can eat for the equivalent of about twenty dollars per person. This sounds too good to be true, and we wait for the catch. We keep ordering more dishes until we can't eat any more. The bill comes, and sure enough it is for the equivalent of about twenty dollars each, plus drinks. Issy's eyes are almost popping out of her head at the concept of being able to get all the raw fish you can eat for twenty dollars. I think that we might be coming back here again. I think that this system must be very open to abuse. There are signs all over the menu saying not to waste food, but in theory there's nothing to stop someone coming in and ordering fifty dishes, having one mouthful of each, and then paying only twenty dollars. I wonder if the staff have special treats in store for people who do this. I've heard about Chinese water torture, and the Chinese practice of sticking bamboo shoots under people's finger nails until they come off.
I make sure that we eat every last scrap of the dishes we order.
We wander around the town for a while and then get a tuk tuk back to the hotel. The tuk tuk struggles to get up even the slightest of hills, and the driver puts his hand out the window and pretends to wind it up. I don't think it's got any suspension so we feel every bump as if the wheels are made of concrete. It feels like it is about to fall apart. It hasn't fallen apart by the time we get back to the hotel, but I suspect it's just a matter of time.
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