During my month-long trip to Portugal this summer, we had a lot of fun and many wonderful experiences. There were also some rough times, even though we only had four of our children with us instead of the six we'd always taken before. But what we seem to remember most and laugh about now, months later, are the funny things that happened.
One afternoon we went into a post office to buy a stamp and mail a single letter in the Cova da Piedade. It was early afternoon when many stores shut down for the typical two-hour lunch, and we were grateful the place was open at all. It was huge post office, larger than the one I usually go to in Pleasant Grove.
We were the only customers, and two ladies awaited at their stations to serve us. What luck! As we walked up, one said bit sourly, "Do you have a number?"
"What?" I asked, thinking I hadn't heard right. But my husband, a native Portuguese was every bit as confused.
"A number," she repeated. This time she pointed to a machine near the door that gave out numbers.
My husband and I exchanged an incredulous glance, but the woman was absolutely serious. We took the long walk back to get a number, which then, about thirty seconds later, popped up on a screen. We approached the counter again, bought our stamp, gave the woman our letter, and left, shaking our heads.
Bureaucracy at its finest!