The challenge of getting things delivered, whether an online shopping order or a letter from overseas, is a constant complaint amount expats. It is something you get used to, though, and, like many of the other things in this list, is a small price to pay for what you get in return.
I am aware of several other foreigners who had major issues with lawyers (and real estate agencies) and also have friends who left the country because the issues they experienced with major law firms were so severe that it caused them to loose all faith in the system. I constantly hemorrhaged money both due to the feckless lawyers and the myriad of dishonest practices, people and scams that led me to them. Frequently people who appeared to be kind and constantly smiling at first turned nasty from one minute to the next. I was also threatened on more than one occasion, when it became obvious that I was prepared to go to court or reveal the corruption I had found. Every time I emerged from one problem and hoped to be able to move forward and appreciate the country in a constructive way a new problem would emerge. The above occurred both on a macro and micro level. Among other things, I got a glimpse into high level corruption in an area involving the state, banking and real estate and that caused me to lose faith and trust in political fabric of the country. I began to feel that everything was stacked against the honest citizens of the country, whose function seemed mainly to bankroll a corrupt elite through taxation, which gave them almost nothing in return.
Having fought off the assailant, I started running after him, screaming and imploring the taxi drivers and others come to my aid but instead of helping me the taxi drivers found it extremely funny. When the attacker managed to get away, I got myself to a police station. The police officer's initial response was to tell me that Portugal was a great place for holidays but that I could forget if I wanted to get justice for a sexual assault and that such things were better dealt with in the North of Europe and best to return to my country. When I kept insisting and asked him to seek out CCTV footage he said there were no CCTV cameras in the area. When I kept insisting that something be done because the man could proceed to attack others, he called for some colleagues to come in a police car. They did not address me directly but took me to their car, commanded me to get into it, and started circle endlessly back and forth around the area where I had been assaulted, instructing me to tell them if I saw the assailant. They did not ask me any questions about the assault or talk to me but just sat joking and chatting with each other, as if I was not there I interrupted their chatter several times to point out that the assailant had run into the small pedestrian streets of the Alfama and that it therefore seemed completely fruitless to circle inanely around the area of the original assault but they just ignored my comment each time and kept on circling, chatting and joking. After a while I found the situation so humiliating that I burst into tears and asked to be released from the car. At no point did they or their colleague at the station, ever ask me if I was OK although I was visibly shaken and in pain, and I had very clearly stated that I had been sexually assaulted. They did not ask if I would like a female police woman to be present or arrange a medical examination.
After giving up on the police, I decided the next day that the best course of action would be to warn various local women (acquaintances and people I would pass on my route), in the area about the assailant out of fear that he might strike again. I was worried that whereas I had been wearing trainer, they wore high heels or more traditional shoes and that running on the cobblestoned streets, especially if raining, would be difficult. I hoped if I spoke to them they would in turn plan for this and warn other women that they knew in the area to be vigilant in the coming days and weeks. Instead of thanking me for the warning or showing any concern as to whether I was doing OK after a sexual assault, each immediately launched into a monologue about how there were no rapists in Portugal and he must have been a foreigner, asking me questions about details that would have proven he was obviously foreign. When I insisted it was completely irrelevant if he was foreign or Portuguese and that my aim was to warn local women that there was a potential rapist in the area, in the face of the inaction of the police, I got nowhere. It felt as if I had hit on a taboo, their sole interest seemingly to be to prove he was foreign. After a few conversations, I gave up finding it so dispiriting and pointless and I never talked about the sexual assault again.
I will be leaving Portugal as soon as I can, with my Portuguese partner. We are fed up. Getting planning permission to rebuild our house has taken years. We had to hire a second architect as the first one just went awol. The second architect did get planning permission - and then decided she was too busy to oversee the project. Luckily, I found the next one. We found our own builder. Meanwhile the next door neighbour decided to take part of our land while we were away. We are on year two of the court case to get it back - we have had 2 judgements so far in our favour - but they were \"prelim\". We are back in court next week - it is exhausting and stressful. My partner has his own apartment and decided to refurb it. Another nightmare. Builders never turn up, if they their eventual bill always turns out to be higher than agreed - with no real explanation of why. Our impression is everyone is on the take and generally untrustworthy - and workers and employees in all organisations really don't care at all about customer service. Having lived in the US, UK, Ireland, Spain and Belgium, this is the worst experience. We feel we have no quality of life here. Many of our friends are on the move too.
Having lived in Spain, and visited Portugal during my first year, decades ago I recognize how Western Europe has changed and the effect of wold economy, the Euro and the EU all impact every country. Portugal while a bit isolated and insulated in the past it now suffers the ills of megatourism, but so many other countries including Spain are surviving the same. Non-europeans will find adjusting to Spain of Portugal if this is their first time to visit. The US lifestyle is so very comfortable and convenient, maybe even economical depending on how much of a home body one is. Western Europe is by contrast, very inconvenient and often uncomfortable on a daily basis. The compensation is the quality of life, often outdoors and slower pace. The bureaucracy exist in both environments and neither are easily navigated. Familiarity with one is not generally helpful in dealing with the other. The native residents in each of the countries don't suffer from the challenges because they are accustomed to all of it , their entire life. Criticism therefore is not welcome and is very poorly received, as you should imagine. It doesn't matter that you are right in your complaints. The goal is to learn the way around each obstacle and pace yourself for the long haul from the start. The \"spoiled American\" with a great track record of getting. things done their way by perserverance, may meet their match if they are not flexible and ever patient. A cool head is the only way to get through most situations. I learned that the phrase \"vuelva usted mañana\" was not only a literary quote but rather an important reminder of how you will need to quit, regroup and return tomorrow . \"Live to fight another day\". Living overseas is an adventure, but it can be so different in unexpected ways. When challenged or frustrated, it is wise to remind yourself , 'it is different here', not better or worse just different. I have lived in the Phillipines, Canada and in 10 states of the US . University study and marriage has provided me motive and opportunity to visit Spain , for months on and off for 44 year. I am actively making plans to stay 5 months this trip and evaluate seriously a long term change to Spain and Portugal. To be a foreigner overseas is an adventure and a daily challenge.
A lot of the negative comments on here come across as unhinged (It's not just this Ruud person). If you don't like Portugal (and not everyone does) just leave. Portugal and the south of Europe isn't for everyone. Things are slow, bureaucratic, complicated, and challenging. It's the price you pay in return for all of the other benefits you get.
It's one thing saying paperwork but sef deserves its own category for a downside. We have been waiting for an appointment for more than 8 months and all the time get told there are no appointments available. This means that our id is now out of date. It's sort of accepted in Portugal as people know about the delays but it means we are nervous to fly anywhere or leave Portugal unless it's by land. A similar thing with the driving licence. It can take more than a year for your driving licence to be exchanged. They give you a piece of paper while you're waiting but this means you are without a driving licence for a long time. It's not suitable for visiting another country. If the only problem was obtaining pieces of paper it would be fine. The problem is the delay in getting appointments or documents returned
I'm a Brazilian living for the last 20 years in the US, WA state. I'm considering relocating to Portugal, for the following reasons:My house is 222 square meters. I pay per year, of property taxes, $9,000. Yes, nine thousand dollars. My electricity and gas bill, monthly in the winter is around $300, in the summer is quite low, $90. Garbage is $35 per month, car insurance is $122 per month, with yearly tax I have to pay to receive new tabs, about $65. Gasoline, you now, five dollars a gallon now. Water is $260 every 2 months. An outing to a middle expensive restaurant, with 20% tip was $75. But the thing that kills me it's the cost of medical. I pay about $100 for my meds monthly, $787 per month for health insurance for 2 people. Last year I had a hysterectomy, went to the hospital on Thursday morning, had surgery, went out on Saturday morning, by taxi, total cost: $67,000 (sixty seven THOUSAND dollars). Since I have medical insurance, I only had to pay $8,500 . But if my other family member also needed a surgery, I would have paid $17,000 for both of us. And I had a crown come loose. Dental price, $3,400 to replace it. My kid when had braces done I had to pay $10,000. Private school $1,200 for 10 months. Price of food with 4 times a month outing to restaurante, about $900 for 3 people. Wanted to replace the roof, and cost was $15,000 dollars, available only 4 months later. The most inexpensive quote was $12,000, the most expensive one was $17,000. Plumber, about $200 or more for doing almost nothing. Good thing is, there is a Home Depot nearby that I go and have almost everything or parts needed. I even changed the toilet by myself. Amazon delivery very good, return also is excellent, customer service in US usually excellent. But my kid received a message from his college last week saying there was an active threat at his college, to stay home. And I think here is one of the most peaceful places in the US. Oh, and my dad changed location for his business to someplace with less expensive rent. Then his Income tax this year was $35,000, from $10,000. And you know why Because the US lives off of the middle class. 153554b96e