Lunchtime is holy here

This month we meet Joya Derrix (51) and Har Klunder (59) and ask them 12 questions about their move to the Algarve. The Dutch couple moved to the south of Portugal five years ago; currently they live in the countryside near Moncarapacho. Combining Joya’s background in managing with Har’s experience in photography, together they’ve set up Production Algarve, a full film production services.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine January 2016


What inspired you to move to the Algarve?

Joya: I first came here on a hitchhiking trip back in 1985 and just loved it. Freedom, space, sun, friendly people and palm trees, it seemed like a great place to live.

Har: My first visit was in 1986 when I was exploring the south of Europe. As a commercial photographer I was pleasantly surprised: the landscape here has a lot of potential. However, I initially wanted to set up a diving school here.


When did you feel at home here?

Joya: already the first time I visited. My ancestors came from Portugal to Holland around 1500, so this country must be in my blood somehow. Now, with me living here, the circle is round again.

Har: I also felt at home directly. Setting up a diving school didn’t work, the ocean was too cold for me, so the fact that I stayed here says enough.


Was it hard to get accustomed to the Portuguese lifestyle?

Joya & Har: only when we’re working. Personally, it wasn’t get hard to get used to the easy going lifestyle at all. When doing film productions however, you need to be very quick and arrange things even before clients ask them. That can be a challenge as communication here in Portugal is a bit different to what we’re used to in Western Europe.


How does your life differ now you live here?

Joya & Har: in the Algarve we have more of a sense of freedom. There’s just so much space here, it’s very unlike the crowded Holland. We do a lot of location scouting for movies and commercials where we just get in the car and drive around. Those days feel like a holiday, but we’re getting paid for it. Also, in the Netherlands you’re reminded of rules all the time and it seems like people always want to point out your faults and mistakes, whereas here there’s more of a ‘live and let live’ attitude. On the downside: our family is further away now so we don’t see them as often.


What is your favourite Algarve moment?

Joya: Sunday mornings, when we go to the market, meet up with friends and eat chicken.

Har: for me, it’s anytime I’m riding my motorbike. The Algarve is the best place to bike; it has long winding mountain roads with very little traffic on them. I can drive here for hours, it’s just beautiful.


What annoys you here?

Joya: communication. Or, more accurately, the lack of it.

Har: it’s also sometimes annoying that lunch is almost holy here. Once we had hired a church from 11am to 2pm, as a location for a photoshoot. All kind of professionals came from abroad, especially for this shoot. We had all the necessary permits and permission from the priest, the bishop and the government. But the guy at the church said: “No, that’s not possible. At 12.30 you all have to go because I have to eat.” For him this went without saying.

Joya: That also occurs when I phone up hotels for a possible reservation. Once I called and asked the receptionist “What’s your room rate?” The answer was: “I don’t know, it’s lunch time now.” Then again, this laid back attitude is also what we love most about Portugal. You can’t have one but not the other; it’s two sides of the same medal.


What do you miss most from Holland?

Joya & Har: herring and old cheese. And our kids of course!


Which 5 words would best describe the Algarve for you?

Joya & Har: freedom, beauty, friendliness, easy-going attitude and landscape.


What’s your favourite spot?

Joya & Har: Bemparece. It’s a small village in the hills close to Santa Catarina. The landscape there is so rough and huge; it gives you a sense of eternity. It feels timeless, like it’s always been there and will always be there, long after you have died. When coming there, you own problems always feel small compared to this magnificent nature. We’re not religious, but the mountains of Bemparece are like God Himself has put them there.


In what way does the Algarve inspire you?

Joya & Har: It’s a huge inspiration for our company, Production Algarve. When driving here, we always look at the landscape, trying to find new locations for movies and commercials. The great thing about the Algarve is that with the variety of nature here you can create very different atmospheres, from a European setting to a typical African or an American one. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. One time a UK-based company needed a location which looked like a place in South Africa they had pictures of. We immediately knew the right place and sent them pictures of that location. They thought we were kidding and answered ‘You’ve just sent us the same pictures back!’ Also, the light here is great for photoshoots. We always feel proud when showing clients around in the Algarve.


How’s your Portuguese coming along?

Joya: Har’s Portuguese is very good, mine is a bit less. I should take more grammar lessons but I just don’t have the time.

Har: I think speaking the local language is very important. Portuguese people get annoyed when all the foreigners just assume they speak English.


Do you have a secret tip for our readers?

Har: following on from the previous question I would say: try your best and speak Portuguese!

Joya: my tip is to not compare the Algarve to your home country when you’re living here. Because it’s not your home country, it’s Portugal. If you want to feel at home here, don’t look with the eyes of an outsider, but try and look with the eyes of someone who really lives here. It’s more pure that way. Don’t compare, just look and see the beauty.


First and last picture by Kyle Rodriguez. All other pictures courtesy of Production Algarve


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine January 2016

Posted in Algarve expat stories.

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