This is why we like to travel slow and let things inform us. Spread out the map. Listen. And by meeting people, and chatting with them, we get some ideas. I must say, the Portuguese people are very engaging and like to connect. And further… they really like to speak English. From the grocery store, to the little cafes, to the front desk clerk in a remote place, they speak English and wish to communicate.
Our American friends in Manique, whom we met through our first housesitting gig, said : “The Portuguese are very transactional.” Great word. They wish to transact and to connect. There is a mutual goal.
Be polite and take your time. Proceed with an open mind. Trust that you will get there!
Years ago when I went to Africa I learned that you don’t just start a conversation with your agenda. You don’t say, “Where’s the train station?” Or “How do I get to the dentist?”
Instead you determine some common ground. Like, “Hello, I am from California. Do you live here?”
This concept is very much in place in Portugal and works well.
Donny says, “Amigo” and “Madam” and it is well received. He offers his hand. Then he might say, “English?” If no English, we proceed and slowly find a way to “transact”. Interact. And we always say, “Obrigada” “Obrigado” “Pour Favor.” “Chau Chau.” We have yet to meet someone we can’t communicate with. Smiles and eye contact and an open mind and heart.
We have been told by several Portuguese natives that, in their experience, Americans are the most polite travelers. What a fabulous thing to hear!!! The car rental agent at the Lisbon airport told us this as have several other people in the tourist industry.
We spent most of today just reading and studying and a little bit of exploring. Stella got a bath!