Wine for breakfast was the toughest question I faced today. My repressed New England brain was doing the moral gymnastics I thought I had left behind once I learned you actually can wear white after Labor Day. I still did some math: It was after 2:00 pm and I was having a late breakfast. Which led me to the next question: What wine pairs best with eggs? As it turns out, I don’t really care if it’s the proper wine or not. I ordered the house red before I decided what to eat. I always order the house red there.
I have definitely slowed my roll here in Portugal. I plan not more than one “major” thing a day. Today I had a scooter lesson and went up to see the Honda dealer after the lesson. I had looked at scooters online because I am going to need transportation to get back and forth to my Portuguese classes once they start. Class gets out at 10:00 pm; buses stop around 8:00. I can walk back from the school, but it’s a bit of a hike. I started adding up the price of Ubers and taxis (Ubers have gotten pretty thin here since gas prices went up) and decided that a used scooter would be more economical. I was hoping the Honda dealer might have some used scooters.
That would be a No.
In fact, the dealership doesn’t have new scooters either. The owner has over €600,000 in orders for scooters and motorcycles at this, his smaller shop. Because of the pandemic and the work stoppage on chips, everything is on backorder. He said that before the pandemic, he kept models in stock and you could just walk in and buy a scooter or a bike. Honda is busy working to fill all the backorders but he won’t be able to buy extra stock for his showroom until spring of next year. As it sits, he has orders for close to 50 bikes and scooters. Honda is sending 12 this month.
No used scooters. No new scooters. The new scooter I had looked at online for about €2,500 is now retailing at €3,250. Supply and demand. It’s very nice and shiny, with LED stuff and a smartkey system. But out of my price range. The €2,500 for new was more than I wanted to pay. I was hoping to get a little used knockabout for under €1,000. (And really, less than that.) I wanted to go through the dealership because they could do all the paperwork for me—registration, title transfer, insurance. Now I get to figure it out on my own. Yay?
The Honda dealership is across from the town cemetery so I wandered through there (that’s a post for another day), hit the Aldi Grocery to see what they had that I couldn’t find at my other stores (scored some sour cream!!) and then I walked down to the bus station to renew my monthly pass and catch the bus back home.
I got my one main thing done for the day. And I was bushed. (I walked close to three miles. On cobblestones. Mostly.) I decided to treat myself to breakfast because I was too
lazy tired to cook. I headed out to my favorite little spot, ordered the wine, debated the eggs, and decided on a cheeseburger and fries because that is what I ALWAYS order when I go there. I am a creature of habit, but really, it’s a good burger and fries, probably the U.S. meal I miss the most.
Even if you’re just having a burger and fries, a meal in Portugal is a leisurely experience. When you order a glass of wine, you are given time to sit and enjoy before your meal order is taken. So I did. Wine at lunch on a Monday felt a bit decadent. But the breeze was blowing, the sun was glinting off the water, the gulls were calling to each other. I didn’t even need to throw in the rationalization that it was a holiday in the U.S. And I had finished my one main task for the day. Two actually. #Winning
The meal came in due time. The restaurant wasn’t crowded, but even if it was, no one would have tried to hurry me along. The concept of getting you in, fed, and out quickly doesn’t exist here. The goal is to have you enjoy the meal, not turn the table over as many times as possible in a short period of time.
Wine at lunch is fairly the norm here. It definitely takes the edge off the afternoon. In the US we like to say “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” but really, who made up the no drinking before 5 pm rule? Probably someone’s mean boss who wanted the work force reasonably sober and functioning in the afternoons. Pffffft. It’s not like I’m operating heavy machinery. Not even a scooter.
I finished my meal and sat sipping the remainder of my wine. People and cars came and went along the avenida. Boats pulled into the pier and offloaded their catch. Gulls soared overhead and the self-walking dogs trotted by. No one was in a rush. Everything will get done in its own time. And it does.