…is still visible if you know where to look for it.
Progress has been marching through western Iberia like a premenstrual Croatian federation wrestler on her way through the chocolate aisle at Asda (Sidcup branch). Tarmac and concrete seem to be enveloping the countryside – new roads bringing prefabricated apartment blocks, supermarkets and petrol stations that spring up like Ikea wardrobes out of a box.
Of course some things seem welcome – who doesn’t want HÃ¤agen Daz close enough to home that it won’t melt on the journey back? Or roads that no longer pummel your suspension and tyres into the scrapyard on a jaunt to the Post Office? I love Heinz baked beans, mobile phone technology and electricity is quite good too…
…but the Portugal that I saw when I first came here, the Portugal that was taken to church behind a donkey or bartered for at the market for a bag of carrots and a chicken seems to have evaporated and been replaced with shiny new Seat Puntos and 50″ plasma TVs. I love the old Portugal and it is still out there – you just have to drive a little further into the hills.
I saw an interview on TV today asking an old man in a mountain village if they wanted a cashpoint machine in their village (ATM) and he replied – “we don’t use money – why would we want a bank…?”
I didn’t surf today.