Shintaro, like Kato from the Pink Panther, kept popping up everywhere I went. As soon as I walked into the dorm room and introduced myself he offered me a jelly panty liner wrapped in plastic and, unwrapping his and sticking it to his forehead, he repeated the word “cool”.
After about 2 minutes he stood up and handed me a leaflet entitled “Throughout the rich history of Portugal, who is the most important discoverer?” As he resumed his crouching position to continue his rummaging I flicked through the leaflet, intrigued to find out who the most important discoverer was. Surely it was Prince Henry the Navigator? No. Was it Pedro Alvares Cabral? Nope. How about Vasco da Gama? No!
Evora is a beautiful baroque and rococo (hoorah!) walled city, reminding me of something out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, not least because the town was full of old people who all knew each other, and perhaps because I couldn’t see any children. Indeed many residents were hot contenders for the position of Child Catcher.
My train journey to Beja took me through the Alentejo region, which had recently been subject to fierce fires that swept across the entire region. The Algarve and the Alentejo regions are miles upon miles of desolate, arid, dry mud fields, broken up by cork oaks and olive groves.
The most obvious sign of the conspiracy is the Portuguese language. Although the written word looks very much like Spanish the spoken word actually sounds like a cross between Arabic and Nordic. In other words they make it up as they go along. When the locals speak amongst themselves they are actually speaking Spanish, but whenever a tourist is present they break into a language that does not actually exist.
Upon my return the bearded man-woman had taken it upon herself to keep my towel warm by spreading her fat self across my sun-lounge. When I indicated that she was in my space she grunted but didn’t move. OK, so she could keep the sun-lounge but I wanted my towel back.