Newsletter August 2007

  by: Carol Carpenter

The tribute to ‘Pink Floyd’ played by ‘Off the Wall’ an English Rock Group was absolutely superb. They had fantastic stage presence sending the audience wild several times during the show. The female vocalist was first class along with the Saxophonist who played superbly throughout the whole performance. The special affects were also superb with fantastic lighting, psychedelic videos followed by sparklers on and around the stage the whole show was electrifying, absolutely brilliant and we both thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Unfortunately I cannot say the same about the opening group. Monomonkey, as they were called, apparently a popular Portuguese group left me quite cold. In my opinion their stage presence was non-existent and you could not hear a word they were singing because the drumming was far too loud. Definitely head banging music, which I have never liked, all noise and no substance. There was one young lady though who was completely absorbed in this, head banging and thoroughly enjoying her self. Perhaps I am just getting old! This we suffered from 10.30 pm until 11.50 pm when “Off the Wall” finally appeared. They were obviously unhappy about something judging by the amount of technicians rushing around the stage. Finally, after a lot of whistling from the crowd they began to play and continued without a break until the early hours.

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Before going to the show, we had dinner at Donato’s Italian Restaurant in Sesmarias. He has taken over Casa Joao which is on the corner opposite the water tower. We enjoyed a super meal in lovely surroundings. Anyone, wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of Carvoeiro, at this time of year should pay this restaurant a visit. Needless to say the following day was a quiet one, after another excellent Sunday lunch at Ma-Ja´s, we spent the rest of the day as couch potatoes, watching the superb 10th birthday tribute to Princess Diana.
We have also enjoyed an excellent end of season Bowls match at Alvor. Unfortunately we never won any medals, but gained a lot of knowledge just by joining in. After the match we enjoyed a superb buffet lunch organised by John and Connie. Any bowls players out there, who are coming to the Algarve, would be most welcome at Santo Antonio Bowls Club.

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Congratulations to The Algarveans for their latest production ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ which was staged at the Lagoa Auditorium on July 4,5 and 6 and was a complete success! ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ was written by Simon Williams, a classic theatre, film and television actor, writer and director, best known for his role as James Bellamy, in Upstairs Downstairs. Performed by a cast of only four actors the play was brilliantly funny and had the audience in barrels of laughter.
A shy writer called Leonard sends book after book to ‘Love is All Around’, a feminist publisher who doesn’t accept men’s work. Editor Harriet rejects all of Leonard’s work until he begins writing under the name of Myrtle Banbury ( Aunty Myrtle ). Eventually, Myrtle must meet Harriet to receive her prize as winner of the book writing competition. This is where the actors really shone. The play had a happy ending, with Leonard and Harriet falling in love and aunty Myrtle disappearing to the Outer Hebrides to escape her newfound fame. The production was very well attended and very much enjoyed by all.

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In my last newsletter I mentioned the absence of the GNR in Carvoeiro. This summer the Algarve will have less police officer’s than in previous years. The interior minister Rui Pereira admitted that police reinforcement in this year’s ‘ Operation Safe Summer’ in the Algarve would be considerably less, mainly due to the large number of officers engaged in the various summits and meetings taking place during the six-month EU presidency. The minister however stressed that he considered that the Algarve would be no less safe, even if the region had to go through the high tourist summer season, without the usual police officers reinforcement. The minister explained that he was confident that the contingent stationed in the Algarve would do the job. ‘Operation Safe Summer’ started on July 1st and ends on September 16th.
For the summer months 30 health stations are open along the Algarve beaches. The idea is to treat bathers with health difficulties including bites from spider fish, falls, digestive problems, dehydration and so on. Two more health stations have opened at Ferragudo and Vilamoura. The majority of the stations will close on August 31st but those located on the Algarve’s main beaches will remain open until September 15th.

The Algarve was recently voted the best tourism region in Portugal. In an international ballot organised by Publituris, the Algarve was also the winner in the categories for best golf destination and best countryside resort.

Visitors to the Algarve will soon be able to buy a food passport, detailing the best of local and traditional gastronomy. The document called Passaporte Turistico Gastronomico, is part of a pack costing €10 which has been produced by the Confraria de Gastronomos do Algarve ( CGA ) The design is based on official passports and it also needs a photo and personal identification in the inside pages. The rest of the space will be used by each owner to put a stamp from the restaurants visited. Historical and cultural information on the villages visited is also available. In addition to the passport, the pack also includes a gastronomic guide, in English and Portuguese. The guide has 70 recipes and identifies the restaurants where they can be found. There will also be a special discount voucher that is accepted at some of the restaurants listed.
The pack will be sold in the Tourist Office and in book and paper shops.

The Magna Carter book shop in Alvor held a Wizard and Witches Breakfast for all fans of Harry Potter, to celebrate the release of the seventh book ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.’ It was held at Hotel Garbe in Armacao de Pera on July 21st. The breakfast fit for all Wizards consisted of Butterbeer Milkshakes, Liquorice Wands, Calming Teas, Cauldron Cakes, Pumpkin Pasties and much more. The first 20 people who bought a copy of the new book won a Genuine Feather Quill. There was also a Harry Potter look-alike contest- the best winning a Harry Potter Replica Wand. I am myself a fan of Harry Potter - but alas I did not make breakfast – heavy night on my broomstick around Carvoeiro (on a diet any way.)!!
As I am on the subject of diets there is a scrummy new bakers just opened in Carvoeiro next to Brady’s Bar called Papa & Companhia - fresh bread, sausage rolls and healthy eating cream cakes lush!!! Needless to say there was quite a queue of healthy eating Brits.

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Carvoeiro is really busy at the moment with all restaurants and bars full. There has been a lot of entertainment, in the square during the evenings, with various entertainers, bands, fire eaters and human statues- one statue wasn’t quite on the ball the other evening, winking as I walked passed costing me 50c, but what the hell it’s only money. Great atmosphere though, with everyone having a really good time.

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We decided to sample the food at the new Moroccan themed restaurant Medina ( ex Mitches ) in Carvoeiro the other night, but as the evening was very hot we choose only the Medina Platter which consisted of - a variety of salads, rice, salsa, beans, octopus, mint and cucumber dip with pitta bread. Although it was not spicy enough for my taste buds it was very enjoyable. The themed restaurant area has a good atmosphere and is full of Moroccan lamps and mirrors and also provides a space for children. While parents are dining, the children can play among the coloured pillows and watch movies in a special, very inviting, space. Music is always playing a mix from quiet to dancing styles, depending on which room you are in. There is a beautiful bougainvillea covered courtyard and terrace to relax in, whilst sampling some of Medina special cocktails. We spoke to Phil Gill, the owner, who told us he was looking forward to including new dishes like Tagines, later on in the year. The restaurant was busy and everyone seemed please with their orders. We will return to sample something a little more exciting on a cooler evening. This restaurant is open from 6pm until 2am, although you can have light lunches from noon. We wish him the best of luck with his new venture.

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Lagoa will be hosting its 28th Fatacil Fair this summer from August 17th to 26th at Parque Municipal de Feiras e Exposicoes de Lagoa. As well as craft, food and company stalls, the fair will have different musical concerts each night. Opening hours are from 4pm until 1am. Entry tickets are 4 euros for adults and children under 12 are free.

Last but not least, I did not realize there were so many naturist beaches in the Algarve. There are no less than sixteen along the Algarve coastline. Clube Naturista do Algarve which celebrated its fourth birthday on July 14th runs activities ranging from days at the beach, picnics and even naked runs!!!! At my time of life the latter is definitely out, not a pretty sight. I am sure the poor young guy, (who shall remain nameless) who unfortunately, witnessed a full frontal, as I walked from the bathroom would agree (Hubby had forgotten to tell me he was in the house). If I go I will definitely be incognito, Big Hat - Dark Glasses.