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luis & simao
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woeful tunes
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diary of a boogie board
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the low down
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one of several sandy coves (this one frequented by locals) south of town
Lagos, Portugal; Jul 19, 2005

clean clean clean

Portugal is clean. Lisbon is clean. The streets are clean. The restaurants are clean. The public squares are clean. The buses are clean. The castles are clean.

But most of all, the small towns are clean. So clean that sometimes they look almost deserted, until you spot an old man sweeping the sidewalk in front of his house or weeding the gardens along the main street.

fresh paint and not a broken roof tile in sight

There’s even a national competition to see which town is the cleanest. Town councils hand out free white paint (and dark blue or yellow for the trim, from the looks of it), and everybody paints their house (again). Okay, we’re laying it on a little thick (just like the paint), but it does seem like almost all the buildings in the little towns have been painted quite recently. And there’s no trash, and everything’s orderly, down to the vegetable gardens and fresh fish stands. The village that won the competition last year is ironically one of the poorest towns in Portugal. The joke in Lisbon was: “They’re so poor they don’t even have garbage.”

the immaculate town square

We stayed for about a week in the small beach town of Zambujeira do Mar. The buildings that should normally look yellowed and battered from sea water/wind were all immaculate. Our apartment looked out over the town square (pictured above). We kept waiting for it to get messy, especially with everybody parading around in it until all hours of the morning, but each day it looked like someone had managed to vacuum it before we awoke.

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