What don’t expats like about living in Portugal

Every country has its pros and cons and when looking for a country to live in, you will soon realize that no where is perfect. This article takes a look at some of the things that expats don’t like about living in Portugal.

#1 – Dogs

One guy actually wrote that, during the first week he was here, he stepped in dog droppings “three times”. Besides offering the kindly advice that maybe he should watch where he is walking, it was generally agreed that this is an area where improvement is called for. Part of the problem has to do with the high incidence of strays coupled with the fact that some locals do let their canines out to roam free.

I know that I stuff a few poop bags in the back pocket of my bermudas every time I leave the house with Fluffy and that most pet owners are also responsible for eliminating evidence that their puppy has been in a certain area.

Certainly, a higher percentage of dogs and, yes, cats need to be spayed and neutered, coupled with a much stronger education programme stressing responsible pet ownership. Also adopting a pup from one of the many shelters doing their part is always a good idea. There is an element of the culture, where not everyone has a humane attitude toward their animals, with way too many dogs chained up and neglected and often left to bark endlessly.

Probably the biggest complaint of all is barking dogs. What I don’t get is, how does the owner of the persistent barker stand it? Why doesn’t it seem to bother him or her? Because the victims don’t appear to get used to it, not even after many full moons …

#2 – Driving

As my loyal reader might remember, the first column I wrote for the leading English-language newspaper in the area was all about “Tailgating”. In my debut (30 submissions ago), I commented that I didn’t think that when I looked into my rearview mirror that I should be able to notice that the driver behind me had a piece of lettuce in his teeth. Several others have also noted that the distance between isn’t measured by car lengths but rather inches.

I believe that many follow so close so they can pass at the very first opportunity, like at curves or the crest of hills. I have noticed that some drivers who have zoomed around me, just ahead of an oncoming garbage truck, have saved between three and 10 seconds in total travel time before arriving at the next round-about. So yeah, tailgating is something they do here and we expats will simply have to get used to it.

An interesting trend I noticed was that when several expat motorists commented on the high speed that many Portuguese seem to maintain, the well-travelled comparison was with Italian drivers. One woman even noted that her husband seemed to embrace stepping on the gas pedal and “turned into Mario Andretti”. I’ve never actually rented a car in Italy, but if I do, I’ve been warned.

The other comparison was with Formula One, which in fact is coming to the Algarve. I do believe that speed limits are often exceeded and seldom enforced. A lead-foot myself, I like to hover at about 140 on the A22 or A2 and that quite often I’m passed by a Mercedes who appears to be going twice as fast. That’s why it’s the law to stay in the right lane unless passing another vehicle. What I don’t get is why they often pull back into the right lane way before they can see you in their rearview mirror. It’s as if they’re forcing you to tailgate.

#3 – Smoking

Full disclosure, Ol’Pat is a smoker. I try to be good, and I don’t even smoke in my own house, just out on the terrace in all weather. When I go to the local British pub, I’ve observed that at least a third, if not half, of the blokes smoke. However, when I attend a gathering organised by the Americans Living in the Algarve group, I find myself out on the sidewalk with the only other couple who smoke.

So yes, it is different for people from the United States, where the antismoking education campaign combined with relatively strict laws has been successful and accepted.

Personally, I’m pleased to spot an ashtray on the table, but the only reasonable way to go is to respect any request to refrain from lighting up if it bothers other people, who may very well have health concerns. The argument was over when it was established that second-hand smoke was a problem.

Read the full article here: https://www.portugalresident.com/so-what-dont-you-like-about-portugal/