The problem with the Portuguese economy


The skylight in the roof above the living room has been leaking since D washed the roof a couple of days ago, so we decided to get it fixed. The manager at the campsite at Foz do Arelho pointed us in the direction of an auto-accessories place he thought might be able to help – they in turn pointed us in the direction of a motorhome dealer a few kilometres away. They also said that, if we were in the area, we should check out the Buddha Eden gardens, which sounded intriguing.

We found the motorhome dealer, who had a look at the skylight. He spent an hour or so taking it out, removing the old sealant and resealing everything. And then charged us €10.

We went on to the Buddha Eden gardens. The gardens were created in 2001 by José Berardo, one of Portugal’s wealthiest men, in response to the destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas by the Taliban in Afghanistan. His mission is, and I quote from the website, ‘ to sensitize the visitor to self-consciousness through this garden in dialogue with a vast sculptural heritage, predisposed for meditation and the promotion of social and cultural interaction, as the principles of solidarity and human dignity.’

The end result is a huge park full of sculptures, most with some sort of spiritual meaning. Although there is a distinctly Buddhist feel to it, there are other influences as well, including a terracotta army and a mini Stonehenge. It is really more of a spiritual theme park, although that makes it sound tacky, which it certainly isn’t. It is just a bit….well, odd really. A nice enough place to wander around on a sunny afternoon though and we were happy to pay the €2.50 entry fee, if only because the guy was upset enough by the destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas to do something about it.

As we were leaving, we were asked to present our entry tickets, in return for which we were given a bottle of wine. Each. We didn’t understand – what was this for? The lady just said ‘It’s an offer’. OK, José is a multi-millionaire, so doesn’t really need our money, but couldn’t the entry fee go to charity or something?

And finally, we bought fuel. The total was €50.52 but when D went to pay, the lady didn’t bother with the 52c.

So, the problem with the Portuguese economy is that they are all just too generous to make a profit. You don’t need a degree in economics to work that one out.

S

Comments;

AUSSIE DAD AND JAN
Well, did you bop all night to the sounds of Portuguese pop-rock? The island of Berlenga looks amazing (too many tourists though). I really like the statue park – especially the statues that preserve the relevant theme but are finished in a modern style (don’t know enough to call it neo-something-or-other) eg the clothing on the golden buddha in your photo. Oh, by the way, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, Australia is flogging India at cricket and our Captain (peace be upon him) is heading for a double-ton (non-cricketers who shall remain nameless but who may be not too far South of here – that means a very big score – a good thing).

LVMX
I am slightly more kwowledgeable than you think about cricket but am too busy doing thngs to be stuck in front of a tv, ,however wiill confess to some tennis in the evenings .
Buddha gardens look less gruesome than tiger Balm gns.xx

SOME TALL BLOKE
In addition The Australian Captain made 319 not out, and declared at drinks, very thoughtful. Happy New Year and Best Wises.

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