“Hello! We would like to stay here for a few nights – do you have a room?”
I’m just saying goodbye to a sympathetic couple of Portuguese who had come across my advertisement for painting supplies. They had just loaded everything up, we had settled, so I waved again and said to the newly arrived people:
“It can also be in dutch, if that’s easier …”
The woman reacts pleasantly surprised, especially to her husband, with: “Oh, that’s really something for Titus not to say that they’re Dutch!” And to me: “We got the tip from my brother Titus, who was here years ago. But he did not say that you are Dutch, really something for him. How funny. And yes, that is easier yes … we don’t speak much Portuguese …”
The couple’s husband adds: “Except bom dia, so next to nothing, really.”
We walk downstairs where I show them room 2. Experience has taught me to always have at least one room ready from the beginning of April, and not to wait with cleaning and making the bed until you get a reservation. It has happened so often that people spontaneously drop by, only … that hasn’t happened for over a year now, of course!
It’s starting to feel a bit like high season
Especially when I see them having breakfast under the walnut trees the next morning when I run up the stairs to pick up my phone where I dropped it. Another symptom of the C-risis: I get hardly any calls to ask if something is free, so I drop that thing everywhere.
What I dropped as well yesterday is, that we have a few bikes they can use if they think they’re good. I don’t know anything about bicycles, all I know is that they have been unused for over a year now. Usually that’s not good for things. They don’t like that.
Before I know it, Titus’ brother-in-law is inspecting the bikes, taking them apart, inflating tires – and the next moment the front tire of the Berg-bike is off, and it’s found that the seam is torn. This is the best bike, and the “Limited Edition” is the right size for her.
Okay. That can be solved. I quickly look at the clock (in Portugal you always have to think about the lunch break. Then Mário will be eating, like so many other small portuguese business owners, and he really doesn’t come out during lunch.)
I get in my car and drive to Mário’s workshop. There the floor is strewn with motor mowers, unclear agricultural stuff, and at least 3 of those old Zundapp-esque mopeds are waiting for treatment. I am also told that he thought he would have a quiet Saturday, but that it all turned out differently.
“Oh, but there are people who complain about not having work – much worse, right?” I joke in reply. Mário can laugh about it behind his mask. He’s a very nice man, and this is just “complaining”. I add: “I only need the material, you know, there’s someone at home who can do that. I only took the wheel with me because I don’t know anything about sizes.”
But Mário grumbles in his mask: “Ah, it’s two minutes work, come on …” – and at the end of that sentence he already has the old inner and outer tube off. The new stuff is up and running in even less then two minutes. Great, experience at work. I can’t help but tease as I leave: “Thank you so much, and until next time – I’m sure I will have more work too soon!”
I fly back, but first pass the bakery, and pass “the Vinha” – the shop in Vinha da Rainha for a nice bottle for a drink with the neighbors this afternoon.
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