- Portuguese: they’re just like us! Consider me the typical ignorant American tourist, but coming here I pictured an underdeveloped landscape with no English speaking people. How incredibly wrong I was. Silly girl. Nearly everyone speaks English here and the roads are some of the cleanest I have ever seen! Certainly cleaner than my now-ex-home San Francisco. Painted tiles fill the roads and cover walls and the local people couldn’t be nicer to their visitors. I could stay here a while.
- Meat and cheese, meat and cheese. It’s typical for the Portuguese to eat ham and cheese for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. At my hostel, our breakfast consisted of a dinner roll, three pieces of ham, provolone cheese and jelly. Back home, us “basic” people live on cold pressed juice, iced coffee and donuts in the morning (unless you’re an overachiever and cook eggs or something at home haha). Breakfast here looks more like lunch. Meat and cheese are the main ingredients in almost every dish we have ordered! Can’t really argue with that. Be sure to try Francesinha- basically a sandwich with different types of meat (sausage, ham, etc.) covered in cheese and soaking in a bowl of gravy. Yummy. Bring on the carbs!
- Chivalry is not dead and catcalling is cross-cultural. Coming from my hometown in Northern California, I may have a skewed view of what chivalry means, but us Cali girls are just happy when a man even opens our door anymore! Not only is it custom for the men to open doors for women, but they treat women like beautiful creatures to appreciate. They admire women the way a tourist admires the massive sculpture in City Center. Women of all shapes and sizes roam the streets getting admiring looks from the men with occasional catcalling- I guess the catcalling is a cross-cultural norm! haha I will say, however, they do it better here. Never would you here a Portuguese man yell out his car window “Hey girl, how you doinnnn?” Ladies, you know what I mean. Instead, you will hear compliments about your beauty or your outfit, of course all in hopes you will take the bait and stay to chat.
- You can sleep when you’re dead. The capitol of Lisbon never sleeps, I swear! People stay out all night long, the clubs only start getting packed around 2-3 AM (long after the last call at a California bar) and food trucks serve up your favorite Portuguese dishes 24 hour a day. If you have a night out at any Lisbon club (like I did), you’ll see just how late you can stay up! That was one of the longest nights of my life. Worth it? Absolutely.
- Coffee is Espresso, Espresso IS coffee. Don’t try to ask for iced coffee. Just don’t. They don’t understand and do not want to. You will get responses like “we treat coffee differently here”- surely with more respect. If you go to Starbucks (which is only in Lisbon) and ask for an iced coffee, you will get four espresso shots over ice. Whoopsies! I’m awake now! I. LOVE. COFFEE.