It’s funny the things that seem surprising when you’re staying in a foreign country, especially those countries where you have to carry out everyday chores, like banking or groceries. 

In both Denmark and Japan, I had a cartoon character on my ATM card. Maybe it’s just me, but Felix the Cat doesn’t seem to be related to sound fiscal management. In Taiwan, we were constantly shocked by — among other things — the English profanity that managed to show up in everyday situations. You know that Cee Lo Green song that has been changed to “Forget You” for radio play in most countries? In Taiwan, we wouldn’t have been surprised to hear the original blaring across the speakers at the grocery store.

So here’s one of those interesting facts about Portugal

A couple of days ago, we were grocery shopping at the Intermarché grocery store in São Brás de Alportel. As we stood in the checkout line, we faced the in-house cafe — many grocery stores here have cafes with basic items, like coffee and pastry, and they’re reasonably popular among shoppers. Anyway, we noticed a man enjoying a bottle of beer, which got us pretty excited. I mean, can you imagine stopping at the Safeway to pick up a few groceries, and then hanging around to enjoy a bottle of beer before heading home? It just wouldn’t happen, and we left laughing at what a ridiculous set-up it was.

Well…today we succumbed to temptation. We had a beer at the grocery store.

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And it was pretty damn good.