Let's go to Palhaçudo!

A Chinese pilgrim, bicigrinos and Pedra Furada

T4: E8 – Vilarinho – Pedra Furada

Yesterday I was resting, after doing my chores, when the lady from the hostel appeared with another pilgrim, an Asian type. She didn't know how to speak English and was explaining things through gestures when I got involved. As soon as she saw that I spoke English, she breathed a sigh of relief and said “you talk to him, you talk to him” and left.

The Asian was a Chinese man, from Hong Kong, with an unpronounceable name, so he had adopted Charlie as his Western name. This language barrier is interesting: neither I could pronounce anything in Cantonese, nor could he articulate anything in Portuguese.

And we tried, but there must be something in our throats that doesn't work. As his English was as good as mine, we understood each other, sometimes writing on each other's cell phones when the pronunciation was bad. But I pronounced Xi Jinping well, in Mandarin.


We talked for a good few hours, he took a year off to visit friends and family, as his sister, who is in England, had had a baby. I brought the conversation to politics and he says that things in Hong Kong are complicated – formally they have freedom, but in practice it's not like that.

And this is resulting in the immigration of qualified people, eventually he, a thirty-year-old nurse (although he looked much younger), will do the same if things get worse. On top of that, there is a strong influx of Chinese from China, which is changing the outcome of the elections.

A part. He's a nurse, but I didn't talk about my pet bottle. I wouldn't look weak.

We also talked about the big problem in Taiwan, not believing in a negotiated solution, after China had scrapped its agreements with the British.

He was delighted with our food, especially the fish, he was a fan of the pastel de nata, which he knew from Macau and we exchanged some more historical information. I learned that, according to him, Hong Kong meant very fragrant port, because that was where the spices came from.

He had already passed through the Algarve, as the flight that brought him had come from England to Faro. And he showed, amazed, a video with the animation that was there «at eleven o'clock at night!!».

However, today at seven in the morning it was raining heavily. I packed the clothes that hadn't dried in two plastic bags, one for the wet ones, the other for the less wet ones, and I took them off, after the Chinese.

One of the things that has accompanied me is the water running, whether in sight or sound. Here even the signs give water.



The route was more or less, but when I go on the road I pay so much attention to the traffic that I missed a yellow arrow. I had already walked for a while when I had to turn back.

I was almost at the right place when a commercial van slows down and a woman with a strong northern accent shouts at me “Santiago? Turn left there!” I was about to get lost again when an old lady said to me “It’s not that way, sir! Don’t you see the sign there?”

I continue to appreciate the spirit of the Camino. Next to a house with a sign that said “here lives a pilgrim” was a bench to rest and a bowl with a pear.




I took advantage and thanked him mentally, in English. It's true, I dreamed about the Algarve again, but I'm dreaming and thinking in English.

I'm already meeting some pilgrims, in addition to the usual Spanish and Italians, many Brazilians. Could it be the influence of the writer Paulo Coelho? And today bicigrinos also passed by, who are those who ride bicycles. And I met the Chinese man again, always very curious.



Today there are no gardens... but we have a cow on the first floor, a little before crossing the border from the Porto district to the Braga district.



Only good things at Pedra Furada. The Pedra Furada restaurant, where the pilgrim's menu was soup, pataniscas with rice and beans, etc. for eight euros and an interesting thing: they insist on having Portuguese background music (on this occasion, Madredeus). The owner says he has already been surprised by the pilgrims who know the songs, Brazilians, of course, but, very strangely, Asians too.

The Palhaçudo hostel, owned by the Parish Council, is impeccable and the price is whatever you want to donate. It works in an old school and when asked what the reason for the name was, they said it was how the kids said “Let's go to the clown!”. And the name stuck.

I was afraid of getting rained on, but not a single drop in today's 21,5 kilometers.



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