Marina Life (19th Nov 2015)
So having been in the marina for one month, what is it like? It’s like living in a terraced street. A friendly terraced street but your neighbours are literally an arms width away. When we arrived and were allocated to Pontoon C, we were told it was the “party pontoon” and this was mentioned a few times when people asked where the boat was. Luckily, the party season has finished, not yet started or is a quiet party as our neighbours are not noisy at all. When we first arrived, it was the noise from the marina bars and the road that was the most noticeable. Karaoke at midnight on a Wednesday! However, with the main holiday season over, the bars are much quieter too.
There is a big social scene here for those who want to partake. Mexican train dominoes, music night, yoga, walking club, computer users group ….. Neil doesn’t want to join in and I’m happy meeting Joy, Jackie, Pam and June for a coffee once a week on a Tuesday morning. Maybe because June and I are neighbours I don’t feel isolated from female company.
This week our coffee extended into lunch as it will be the last one this season with the five of us. Joy and I head to the UK this weekend and Joy is not back until April. When I get back from the UK in the middle of December, June will be in the UK and not back until middle of January, Jackie is back in the UK for Christmas and Pam will be leaving at the end of December having to leave for 90 days under the Schengen Agreement (simplistically, as an American Pam must leave the Schengen countries for 3months out of 12) and won’t be back until April 2016. Lunch was great apart from when Pam spotted a Cockroach!!!!! crawling on my foot. It than ran into my shopping bag, back onto my foot until Pam terminated it. Yurghh, it made my skin crawl. Pam, Joy and I then spent a couple of hours shopping. What a great afternoon.
All amenities are within or close to the marina. There are supermarkets a plenty around the town with a big Pingo Doce being the nearest with a small Intermarche about the same distance. We have also been to the big Intermarche, where we used to shop when we holidayed in Almadena. That was quite an uphill walk. There is an Aldi, Lidl and Continente too. So plenty of choice.
We don’t eat out much and haven’t been out for a meal together since Nicole and Simon visited. I have had lunch at McDonalds in Portimao (with a beer) when the girls went shopping for the day. A very reasonable €4 return on the train (20mins each way) and a short walk to the shopping centre.
A farmers market is held every Saturday morning just opposite the marina. Local farmers, growers bring their produce to sell. The first time I went I didn’t buy anything as I hadn’t planned what we would eat and didn’t want to waste anything. Then knowing what was on offer, for the last couple of weeks we have gone with a list and a big shopping bag. I’ve discovered ‘Food Tube’ on You Tube, and have been picking up recipes using the ingredients that is around now. I’ve made a great veg curry and Butternut Squash and Pancetta Penne (a Gennaro Contaldo recipe). We did buy a string of red chillies. Neil tried one; gave him hiccups so even though they are small, they are hot, hot, hot. The local dish is chicken piri-piri and the piri-piri sauce is made with hot red chillies. Quite a few stalls selling home made piri-piri sauce too. One week I was after some spinach to add to a curry. I didn’t see what I know as spinach but bought a bunch of greens (worked fine in the curry though I’m still not sure what it was) from a lady who was sat with about dozen bunches of herbs and green stuff set out on a box. The cost was 40cents. In fact the prices in the market are almost embarrassingly cheap. From one stall I bought 3 oranges and a large green pepper and it was 55cents. For comparison, that is about 41p. I used to go to farmers markets in the UK and they seemed expensive rather than cheaper compared to the supermarkets. Here, it is definitely the other way around even though the supermarket prices aren’t high for local produce. It’s a great, colourful, lively place. Heaving with locals and visitors alike. Last week the scouts and the local school had stalls too and were selling baked goods.
I’m back to the UK this weekend. Currently, having a stress about my packing. Mainly because I don’t have a regular suitcase here and looks like I’m going to have to use 2 holdalls. Not a problem with the plane, assuming I am in my weight limit, but the transfer says only 1 bag per passenger. We’ll have to see what happens when they come to pick me up. Maybe I’ll have to leave the Christmas presents I have bought behind!