Photo: eldar nurkovic/Shutterstock

You Know You're in Portugal When...

by Sandra Guedes Jun 23, 2015

1. You always wonder: “Am I eating baby food with shrimp?” as you reach across the table to get your hands on some more açorda de marisco.

2. You are offered percebe (barnacles), and you wonder if it’s a tentacle from a sea monster or a strange part of an alien’s body. You watch tutorials on youtube to learn how to actually eat them.

3. You walk by big houses, little houses, apartments, shacks, castles, bungalows, campers and all of them have clothes hanging on the line.

4. You walk past ten bakeries on one block and you finally head into one, not sure which cake you need to try first: palmiers, pastéis de nata, jesuítas, pampilhos, travesseiros, bombas de chocolate, or the bolo de arroz.

5. You walk by a shop and you see penises decorating the window. It’s not even a sex shop.

6. You know it is dinner time because you can smell homemade bread on the table — just like you did before breakfast and before lunch.

7. You feel eating is a national sport. Before they are even through with breakfast, locals talk about what they are going to have for lunch, and at lunch they discuss dinner.

8. You wonder if any other nation gets to eat cod, because it seems it all ends up on Portuguese tables.

9. After wobbling your way precariously down the cobblestone streets, you finally understand why local shoe-repair stores are still in business.

10. You feel famous when you are introduced to locals, what with the smile, a hug, and the two kisses on your cheeks that they enthusiastically give you.

11. You walk to the beach enjoying the smell of the ocean yet you soon get distracted by the scent of barbequed sardines, carapaus, and the barbecued peppers on your tomato salad!

12. You see ladies walking on the beach wearing 7 skirts next to a crowd of teenagers wearing tiny bathing suits.

13. You walk through mazes of small streets and you look up once, only to see an old lady wearing all black, hanging out her window smiling at you.

14. There is a pot of basil growing in every other window.

15. You get invited to the coffee shop from dusk to dawn and from dawn to dusk.

16. You do not know whether to order a café, bica, or cimbalino.

17. You hear locals calling all those different “sausages” hanging in every butcher and market, “enchidos.”

18. You see strange men dancing around the streets with overwhelmingly big heads, and lots of men dressed up as cancan dancers. It’s not pride, it’s carnival!

19. You realise although the French are more known for it, the Portuguese love to eat their snails. They even bake a pastry called “caracol” to eat year-round when snails are not in season.

20. You order a Sagres or Super Bock and you are given a bottle of beer. When you want a cold draft beer, the key word is imperial.

21. Everything begins to sound strangely like slurred Russian, even though you are nowhere near Russia.

22. You walk by men wearing Portuguese berets, and you wonder if, when their mustaches twitch, that is considered a smile.

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