One of the first pieces of information we learn about Portugal is that face masks are not obligatory to wear on the street. The person who tells us this, a man standing outside the airport as if he’s waiting for someone, is jubilant of the fact. He claims with more actions and gestures than words that he struggles to breathe properly when he is wearing his mask.
I immediately take my mask off once we’re outside and in the clear because I’ve pretty much been wearing one for the past three or four hours and the elastic loops are hurting my ears. They need a break.
I like this rule. If you’re outside and not crowded by people, then what’s the harm in not wearing a mask? Besides, there’s nobody around. The streets, though beautiful, are almost empty. Maybe it’s the heat too, I think, because I know that if I lived here, at 35 degrees, I’d be inside too.
We’re walking to the airport metro stop when Pam asks me if I know where I’m going.
“To our hotel. Or guest room. Mini-hotel?” I say.
“Do you know where it is?”
“Near a Burger King.” I did look the address up before we left, but really, I need to cool down. “We’ve got to get the metro there,” I say. “But first I need water. I need a drink. You got coins?”
“For water. There was a vending machine back there.”
I remember the metro from the last time I was in Porto. It’s small, something like five-or-so lines only, and because of that it’s easy to navigate. Also, you don’t ever really need to catch it if you’re a tourist. Not unless you’re coming from the airport or going to Matosinhos. That’s where Pam and I are staying. The beach.
I liked Porto then and I’ve wanted to return ever since. However, not like this. And I don’t just mean coronavirus. I mean the heat! It is hot here. All we’ve done is swap the Madrid heat for the heat of Porto.
But Pam hasn’t seen the city and she wants to. On the metro she comes up with a game we can play when we go into the city. She says that we need to search for the most beautiful and most ugly tile we can find and take photos of them. I like the idea of the ugly tile, but I already know that walking up and down the hills in the city is going to be tough.
Just thinking about it is making me want to sit.
Have you ever gone on holiday but found the weather to be too hot or too rainy for you to have a good time?
(Featured image: Nick Karvounis)