Black Friday


I’m the biggest fool who walks around on this earth.

Here I am, sitting in my parked car, overlooking the river, with two and a half hours to kill. .I need to get through that time without any companion, distraction, digital device or internet.

That is not easy for a modern person.

So, how did I end up here?


I had an appointment with a friend

By now you know that here you rarely go out for dinner, don’t you? In Portugal, you meet up for lunch. During the lunch hour every restaurant is full.

Last night my phone was almost empty. Since there’s no place to plug it in next to my workstation, I always lay it somewhere else. This morning before leaving I had to do all kinds of stuff,  the laundry, the donkeys, this and that …. it looked like rain, so find an umbrella …. (where do these things always hide?)

Rushing to be ready in time

Two Dutch guests would drive with me to Coimbra.

“Tomorrow morning, half past ten? But remember: portuguese time! ”

“And what is portuguese time? What do you mean, it’s an hour earlier? Yes, we know. ”

“Nono, portuguese time means, that it’s roughly around half past ten. You Dutch are so punctual, if we agree on half past ten, you’ll expect that we’ll drive at half past ten sharp. I’ve adapted too well here, “I said, laughing, and luckily they saw the humour in that.

“Well, just about around roughly half past then,” my sympathetic guest answered, “I just have to think back to the time I was a hippie. When we were not so punctual.” He laughed, but at the same time had a nostalgic look in his eyes.

Halfway it flashed through me

Oops, my phone. Which is still there in the reception. And I did everything the portuguese way, so we didn’t combine the exact time and place just yet. Lunch means roughly around one o’clock, and we could have whatsapped about where.
But now: no phone!

Of course it went wrong. I decided to go to the restaurant where we eat more often. Nobody. After waiting for half an hour I ordered my lonely lunch.

Well, it was good food. Accompanied by a beer, the kebab tasted great (but to be honest, I order it because of the sauce). I wandered a bit through the city, but with those darkgrey threatening skies hanging over your head that was not so pleasant. (And of course I hadn’t find an umbrella.)

I could go to the Forum, a huge shopping mall – centro comercial they call it here – to find the lady who does people’s eyebrows. She does it with a little thin rope. I’ve seen my sister undergo her treatment and I stood mesmerized. Impressive how she does that!

One side of the rope goes in her mouth, and then she makes a loop, and “throws” the loop over a hair of your eyebrow. Incredibly precise. Where could you learn that?


It’s a show that you shouldn’t miss

With the loss of my eyesight (my arms got too short, so I bought magnifying glasses), I also lost the ability to trim my own eyebrows.

It’s been a long time ago, and they just feel heavy. It almost feels like I’m one of these old men with those hanging eyebrows. It can’t go on like this. Something has to happen.

Expectantly I drove across the river, took the wrong decision and had to go back to the other side, made a wrong decision again, crossed the river, and tried again. After the third time I was on the right track and entered the parking garage of the Forum.

But hey, why is it suddenly so busy here? Where are all these cars come from? What are all these people doing here … it’s friday afternoon, shouldn’t they have to work ….

Ah! It’s friday afternoon. They all took half the day off to be here early.

It is Black Friday

Again a wrong decision. No chance you will find a place here & now in this parking! Just forget it.

After half an hour in the garage, driving in queues – once you’re in there, you do not come out so easily anymore – I drove out that dreary hell into the light again.

This was Wrong-Decisions-Day. My only consolation: everyone sometimes has such a day.






Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation.

You’ll get it every week on Saturday in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page.