Local Heart, Global Soul

December 23, 2010

Going Potty, being Silly and International Sign Language starts with a smile.

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following up on yesterdays post, where I mislaid and then found a camera chip and wanted to tell you about two more sellers I met in the medieval market in Vila Nova de Cerveira.

Yesterdays post was about a man who faces his impairment head on and works hard despite his disability and he is truly an inspiration to me.

Today’s post was about the genuine friendliness and fun of people despite language barriers.

This gentleman sells pottery items that he has made, I saw his stall and I love pots so went over to have a look. He asked me some questions as he saw my interest and we quickly worked out that my few words of Portuguese and his few words of English were not nearly enough for a conversation.

That didn’t deter us, he clearly wanted to know if I was interested in buying something.  In spite of feeling silly,  I left inhibition behind and with a smile and outstretched arms mimicked an aeoplane  (my arms being the wings) and tried to let him know that we were flying home and that our bags were already full.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

His reaction made it clear that it was a pity, and with a smile he mimicked driving a car, so I got the idea that he meant that next time we should drive to Portugal instead of flying.

Then he noticed that I was smiling as I looked at a chamber pot that had a face on the side of it… he laughingly picked it up and made some more serious arty poses with it as I took photos, then he posed with it upside down on his head.

I left him after a fit of giggles and felt that the world was a better place for having had a good laugh, a good conversation in international sign language and where a little bit of humour and a smile goes a very long way.

It reminds me that meeting the locals is the best bit of travelling abroad, that  being willing to make a gesture to show that you appreciate and admire the goods even if you are not in a practical position to buy, is often appreciated by the seller.

He’s been standing there all day, no doubt many people just averted their eyes and walked on past… a smile was appreciated and we both had a good laugh. This is typical of the down to earth friendliness of the Portuguese, but you know what? Give most people and opportunity to be friendly and in my experience 99.9% of them will.

So… make eye contact, have a laugh, communicate with people, even if you do speak the language, don’t let formality get in the way, smile and go on… dare a little.

These are the true riches of not only travel, but of Life.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. Wow, a pot hat. All those pots are well done and they are looking so lovely. Also their color pleases me very much. I love it that there is smile “in the air”.

    Comment by sartenada — December 24, 2010 @ 6:51 am | Reply

    • Not really meant to be a pot hat, he was just kidding around with me. It’s a chamber pot (potty) and yes I like the colours too. It’s nice when you can just have fun and share a smile with someone even if you don’t speak the language.

      Comment by kiwidutch — December 26, 2010 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

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