My blog is too new to have FAQ. But who am I NOT to have a FAQ page if I can’t share all these oh-so-pertinent questions about Portugal? Some are paraphrased, but all are real. Each is nuts.
1. Is it in the Caribbean?
That’s right! It’s a little known fact that Prince Henry the Navigator was Jamaican. He also hung out with Fidel Castro in his salad days of yore. Yes, it’s also a little known fact that Fidel was also born in 1394. The well-known assertion that Portugal, the Caribbean nation, is part of the European Union is actually the EU’s way of taking over the Western hemisphere and bringing on the End Times. Ask Glen Beck.
2. Is it an island off of South America?
Some might argue that this is the same question as #1. But South America is much more than the Caribbean. So potentially this person thinks Portugal is near Easter Island. Or Antarctica. That might actually be cool; everyone would recognize Portugal if it were the site of Happy Feet.
3. Is it exactly like Italy?
To paraphrase John Cleese, the Earth has already got one. It’s very nice. Why would we have two separate countries on the planet that are exactly alike? I don’t know……. it’s a DIFFERENT EFFING COUNTRY! Ask Canadians how they feel about being lumped in with semi-similar neighbors.
4. Do they speak Spanish? Or is it just a weird Spanish?
There was a little known meeting as the Portuguese swept down to extract the Moors that the people of this new nation would no longer speak Spanish. They would only speak WEIRD Spanish. They worked long and hard and wide to one, screw up Spanish, and then to disseminate it to everyone in the land. They even had some of the first test audiences, predating even the advent of narrative film. Sometimes, unsuspecting Spanish speakers randomly find ruse is still going on, because everyone in Portugal is completely obsessed with moving the goalposts on their neighbors.
5. Is that part of Brazil? Don’t they speak Spanish there, too?
Interesting that you say that. José Saramago has a book where the Iberian peninsula breaks off and floats around. If I ever get around to finishing it, maybe I’ll find out if Spain runs aground into Brazil.
6. I had some Portuguese neighbors in like 1965, and they slaughtered chickens in their back yard every Saturday. When does your mother do that?
Someone named Silveria or Fagundes does this, and it’s quaint and more than a little bit backward. Someone named Ocean Smith does this and she gets her butt kissed in the San Francisco Chronicle for being a master locavore. And no, my mother would not know what to do with chicken that doesn’t come in a little Styrofoam boat.
7. My roofer is Portuguese. I know you live in an apartment, but you should totally get him to redo your roof. That would be an awesome way to meet and then maybe you guys can go out and get married and……….
Um….. no. Unless I move to a house. Without a roof. And why oh why would I date a guy you only know from climbing on your roof just because our grandparents were born in the same place? You talked to him for like FIVE MINUTES, and saw his name on his card. And you’re ready to hand over yours truly? Huh????? Sometimes dolts come from Portugal, too. It’s kind of like meeting everybody else. Answer me this, do you sleep with everyone in your hometown?
8. Does Portugal ever have any visitors? (This gem was from an American relative)
North Korea’s got nothing on Portugal. You better watch it. All those attractive white Mediterranean buildings- total Potemkin villages! All those English people running around- holograms! It’s like the freaking Enterprise up in there!!
9. What is there to see there? I’d rather just go to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
You don’t have to say EVERYTHING you think, really! Go ahead, hit the Boardwalk.
10. So…. do they have McDonalds?
Is it better or worse to say they do?
BONUS QUESTION: This one is more about Portuguese than about Portugal, but you’ll be glad I threw it in.
11. So I went to Brazil and everyone kept saying “Obrigada” to me. When I bought something. When I paid for my dinner. When I checked into a hotel. It was so weird. What the hell does that mean?
To which I responded (true story):
My CAT knows what that means.
To which my friend replied:
Well I think your cat has a significant advantage! After all, he is named after a Portuguese cake.
To which I said:
Didn’t you check your guide to see how to say ‘Thank You?’
To which my friend said:
No, why would I do that? I’m English.
Oh, the free pass that is an English accent. If I did that, people would not care that I went to a good university and spoke French at an early age and have traveled around the world. They laugh in my face and make fun of my straight teeth, and I HAVE done all those things. But that’s another blog.