By the end of October the ruas of our seaside village are muito calma. Dogs are again free to run the beach with abandon, off their leashes to chase the waves. Across the bay in São Martinho the beach cabanas have been taken down, the café tables that filled the wide oceanfront promenade have been taken in, leaving just a few for the locals to visit on a sunny day.
The only people left are a few diehard expats that have come to stay and our born and raised country people. The summer people have been raptured. Whether they have gone up or down depends on the climate where they ended up I suppose.
Every May or June our English, Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch and friends from other countries around the north of Europe come back to their summer “home”. Some have been coming for over 20 years, they know this place like the back of their hand. Then, end of October, they vanish into their other lives. Lives with children, clubs, jobs, grandchildren, friends and real houses and lifelong neighbors, their shops, pubs and local cricket teams. That is what I imagine their “real” life is like.
For the entire summer the village and surrounding areas buzz with drinking songs from Ireland, recipes and jams from England, it is one big multi-cultural five month family reunion. The Portuguese who now live in New Jersey come home for their village festa and to see aunts, parents, cousins and childhood friends. Prices go up and shoes come off. Summer rocks until dawn almost every night.
Until next May, Salir do Porto natives will relax into our off season rhythm. Futbol at the Dunes café, a glass of port sipped by the fire at Lua de Pedra, gossiping with the shopkeepers at our local grocery and hanging out at João’s Asia Bar. This year the citizen will be playing his 12-string and I will be speaking some Portuguese. The Euros won’t be flowing, but is will be a bit more restful.
Stories of the rapture scare those who are going to be left behind. After experiencing my first summer people rapture being left behind is peacetul and very, very Portuguese. If we get bored there is always next year’s reunion to think about.