5 tips to speed things up a bit

Algarvians are pretty relaxed. They always have time for a chat or a cup of coffee and the Portuguese ‘amanha, amanha’ lifestyle looks a lot like its Spanish ‘mañana, mañana’ counterpart. This can be extremely annoying if you want to get things done ASAP, like shopping or getting a fiscal number

Next time when you’re in a hurry: breathe in, do some yoga exercises and practise being zen. Or, just follow the advice below and get a move on. 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017

Picture above by Matthew Wiebe


1. Use the A22

Want to go for a leisurely drive around the countryside? By all means take the N125 or any of the other smaller roads which will lead you along orange sellers, herds of goats, abandoned cottages and other unexpected vistas. You’ll also pass dogs, tractors, donkey carts and a strange-smelling car that probably won’t pass its next MOT.

But if you need to go from Tavira to Lagos, especially in mid-summer, do take the A22. Costs a few euros (and massive headache when paying at the post office if you don’t have a transponder in your car), but saves hours. And LOADS of road rage.

Picture below by Fábio Gregório


2. Be prepared

No, there’s no way you’ll get a residency permit if you haven’t got a Portuguese address. No matter how hard you try. Having the right documents with you helps a lot. (Step 1 for everything is getting a fiscal number – without it, you’re nothing).

Knowing the opening times is useful as well. If you turn up at the car parts store at 13.15 or try to collect a parcel from the post office on Sunday you’ll be in for a long wait.

Picture below by Jake Melara


3. Learn Portuguese

Pictionary and charades are great party games. But remember how long it took before your teammates finally guessed that you were gesturing ‘The Little Mermaid’? Now imagine how long it’ll take before the person at the câmara municipal understands that you need your septic tank emptied…

You’ll get things done easier and quicker if you speak the language. Sign up for lessons in your local town or google ‘free online Portuguese course’. If you need something specific that isn’t covered in basic language classes, like an ingrown toenail removal, we suggest bringing a dictionary.

Picture below by Kyle Rodriguez


4. Stay polite

Have been trying to get a bank account for the last 22 minutes and think it can’t get any slower? Wait until you lose your patience and scream at the person behind the desk. If this doesn’t get you thrown out the building, it’ll at least cause your carefully prepared documents to move to the bottom of the pile (if you’re lucky) or straight into the bin (more likely).

Saying ‘obrigado/obrigada’ and smiling instead of screaming will likely make things go a bit smoother (read: faster). Another advantage of staying polite: you won’t be known as ‘that horribly rude foreigner’ in the entire village.

Picture below by Tim Gouw


5. Take a book

Or an e-reader or some knitting. OK, this won’t speed things up, but it’s a nice method to pass the time. So at least it feels like things are going faster, which counts as well.

Another option (which only works when it’s so busy there’s even a queue for the ticket machine – the finanças mid-morning towards the end of the month for example) is to get a ticket, wait until another person gets one, and then get another one. Repeat this five times and go shopping in the meantime. Chances are when you get back one of your six tickets will be about to be called. It’s also very well possible that all of them already have been called and you’re back at square one. In that case, you might want to try those anti-anxiety yoga poses.

Picture below by Paul Dufour


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2017

Posted in 5 algarvy things.