“We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.” Bill Bryson
“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” Bo Derek
Shopping over here is much more of an adventure, particularly with lots of different fish and meat cuts to decipher. The fish counters always excite me as an artist, all those rainbow colours and shiny skins just glowing – although you have to watch out for the overhead mist which dispatches itself all over the display at regular intervals – I’ve been caught out several times! I’ve also received some very strange looks from the ‘peixero’ when individually hand selecting my ‘Carapau’ and insisting on the most colourful ones on display (so that I can paint them) … my Portuguese isn’t up to explaining what I want them for!
There are a number of different shopping experiences out here – you can stick to the basics at Lidl’s, Aldi and ‘Pingo Doce’ (which Google helpfully translates as ‘Sweet Drop’?) (Their web-site also states their aims are ‘Principled, courageous, genuine and without artifice flabby’ (How I love Google translate!) Or you can go to bigger supermarkets like Continente (good for meat and fish) or LeClerc and the posher Intermarché (the French ones – where you can pay an extortionate amount for your branded UK items here should you be daft enough!) (over 3€ for a tin of grapefruit!)
You can also go the whole hog and enjoy the Portuguese shopping mall experience … we have a brand new shopping planet opened in Portimao – complete with a Jumbo supermarket and the kind of Ikea style underground car park you could get completely lost in! (you have to remember your floor level, colour, area code and lot number as you leave your car if you ever want to see it again!) The engineering and design of these malls are truly spectacular, we watched this one being built over about 12 months, and the scale is pretty impressive – 132 shops including Primark and H&M, and an entire floor of restaurants. (Check out the promo video on YouTube (link) It’s called Aqua Portimao but we didn’t see much water .. or the amazing fish tank that the video promised?) We were however impressed with what are quite possibly the biggest flower pots in the world – not sure what Bill & Ben would have made of these?
We are also beginning to explore the local shops – we have been given a recommend for a local butchers and fishmongers, so expect some fun with ‘lost in translation’ style shopping blogs soon – I shall probably go in to get a few pork chops and come out with an entire pig!!
One of our favourite things is still buying oranges from the side of the road… freshly squeezed orange juice… mmm! – and the giant lemons that our lovely neighbour gives us – home made lemonade… you can’t beat it! Must go off to do some more shopping now! (I haven’t even begun to think about clothes and home shopping – that’s for another post!)