I stopped off, as I usually do, on my way home from riding my horses, in a supermarket in a rural area. This is something I have been doing for the last two years, in the time that I have owned my horses here. I have to say, that Portuguese hospitality is such, that the shopping for the day usually only involves enough for a light supper, and not for two meals. But if you arrived in the middle of the night, as I had, and still went to ride the next morning, (this is normal for slaves of horses), then getting home asap is on the cards, to catch up on sleep. And, in the case of horse-slaves, to be better equipped to go back and fight another day!
I was inspired to put my experience down in writing, after having relayed it to a friend here. It struck me, that it is worthy of note.
I had been absent for a bit, and the owner was at the check-out till. They treat me like an old friend, and he likes to speak to me in French. It pleases him, and it pleases me, for it gives us the chance to communicate, and practice our language skills. I find that the Portuguese ability to speak more that their mother tongue is something that they are all proud of, and rightly so.
I bought a bottle of the wine I usually buy, and he suggested I might like to try a similar type which was produced by the local estates. He fetched it for me, and gave me a bit about its provenance. I could see that the exercise was as much customer orientated, as supplier supportive.
How community spirited is that.
Portugal is such a nice place to be. The people are so friendly. The Eurozone is in a dreadful state, and weaker members are hit the hardest, and hit first. So it has been here. Has it changed them? Yes. If anything, for the better. The desire to pull together is very strong here, and a sense of common adversity makes itself felt. And it binds them closer to each other. They take care of each other. And also of visitors!