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For Portuguese Food
And get me The Hague
How was your food madam?
The waiters here have been unerringly polite and attentive with one notable exception, a crusty old bat who assessed everyone with the eye of a hanging judge and clearly spent her free time pulling the wings off of flies.
She heard only who and what she wanted to hear, which made for extremely limited ordering potential, and she was our only wait person. I’m using that term loosely. Yes, there were other wait people available, but once she got the feel of our party, she shooed them out of her workspace like Madame Borgia preparing appetizers for the next, soon-to-be late Pope.
At one point she was trying to get the attention of my dinner companions across from me. Sure, she could have walked around the table to where they were sitting to clear their plates, but that would have involved walking around the table.
Instead, she stood next to me and issued a loud, staccato, “SSSST, SSST SSSST” while waving the back of her hand at them. Engaged in conversation, they failed to notice, so she did it again.
“Eheh,” I said to her, and then in terrible but still-exaggerated Portuguese, “Perdoe-me,” as one might remind a rude child.
“Perdoe-me,” she said, then looked at me and smiled. After that, she warmed up. Sometimes you’ve got to smack people around a little to break the ice. But she never asked how the food was.
At every other restaurant the servers asked every time, many times, and honestly, the food was fine. Not great, not terrible, fine.
Or, as I said to one waiter, “Pretty good. For Portuguese food.”
To which he responded, looking at my salad, “If only you’d ordered Portuguese food.”
Damn, kids are getting so quick these days.
By the time you read this I’ll be on my way back home. I’ve missed my little dog every day, and it’s been hard to be so far away from where she once was. But I’ve made some friends, walked in the sun, and even learned a few things in spite of myself.
I fly through Amsterdam tomorrow, and I’m thinking I might drop by the Hague and file a complaint regarding Portugal’s treatment of tea.
We were finally at a hotel that had bigger cups, and even pots for tea - but they’d only fill them halfway.
Apparently, the rarest commodities in Portugal are flat land and tea.