Today was not one of them.
Some Days Are Better Than Others
Saturday I was lucky enough to spend the day with a friend and two puppies that she is fostering. She picked me up at the train station, we went to a shopping center (puppies needed toys and treats), had lunch at Vilamoura Marina (swanky), and then a walk on the beach, before the ride back to the train station.
The station was closed, but there were still trains scheduled. It was starting to get dark and I was afraid I would be stuck there. I grabbed a passing train to Faro, but it was not the line I had my prepaid ticket for. It got me to Faro (an extra 12 Euro, thank you) and I made it just in time to grab a connecting train to Tavira. Arriving in Tavira, there were no Ubers available. I saw a taxi and waved it down. It already had a passenger, but we split the ride (she was going further along), so I got a deal on the ride home. Almost made up for the extra train fare. Almost…
But on balance, Saturday was a good day. A diamond.
Some Days Are NOT So Good
I do not have a car here. My last blog post, “Should You Bring Your Car to Portugal?” is a long-form answer of the word NO. BUT, there are days I could really use a car. Like today.
Ubers are scarce in my area right now. An Uber driver accepted my ride and the app said she was 8 minutes away. She was 8 minutes away for over 30 minutes. I cancelled, reconnected and the same driver accepted my ride but now she was 23 minutes away. Smarter this time around, I jumped on a Zoom call with a friend while keeping an eye on the app. Nope. After half an hour, still 23 minutes away. Grrrr.
So, it is one of those frustrating days, when getting my groceries may not actually happen. I can go to the village store and get some things, but I had planned my “big” grocery trip for today.
I will take one more try at Uber and then, if there’s nothing available, I’ll go to the village store and get something for dinner. Sometimes you just have to roll with what is, instead of getting what you want. Sigh.
And this may be the month I figure out the local buses. 🙂
Take Your Wins Where You Can
I save hundreds of dollars each month by not having a car–payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, parking. If I lived in the city as opposed to outside it, I could walk over to any of several grocery stores and get what I need and I wouldn’t need to do it all in one big trip. My car in the US sat for three or four days a week; during the pandemic it sat for weeks. If I had a car here, it would sit for days at a time. I don’t really need a car. But sometimes not having one is inconvenient and frustrating. Today is one of those days. In the grand scheme of expat frustrations, this one is minor.
And, quick update… I got an Uber to the grocery store with one of my favorite drivers. BUT… getting back was another story. No Ubers, no taxis. I decided to hoof it down to the train station. I gave Uber another try at a midway point, but again, no luck. The train station has a taxi stand and there are usually taxis waiting. Not today. I cooled my heels (and seriously considered getting a beer at the train station café) thinking a taxi would show. Nope. Finally got hold of an Uber, which was 17 minutes away. As I waited for the Uber, the bus that runs through my village stopped at the station, so now I know I can catch that bus to and from the train station. A taxi pulled up about three minutes before my Uber was due. I waited and yes, finally, my Uber driver appeared.
In chatting, I mentioned how hard it was to get an Uber. He said that most of the drivers (Uber and taxis) take off Sundays and Mondays. I knew Sundays weren’t good for getting Ubers. It was good to know that Mondays are light days for drivers, too. So, a long wait for a ride, but I picked up some good information for the future.
I got home, unpacked my groceries, and sat out on my balcony, just looking at the water, glad to be home. Even the not-so-good days are not-so-bad.