Portugal, next in our “Where are they now?” series

11 06 2009

Yes, Portugal, where’s that again? According to a subsequent poll, 26% of Australians believe Portugal to be somewhere “around Asia”, whilst 74% are convinced it is a rival patio company to Stratco. When most people are asked about Portugal, the first thing that usually comes to mind is “I wonder if you really would explode if you were suddenly in space?”.

This is simply not fair to this fine country. For goodness sake, Portugal has been continuously settled since prehistoric times. That is longer than Austral.. well, no, I guess indigenous Australians were there, well longer than Canad.. oh, damn, Innuit, well, Antarctica!! Can you believe that.. WoW! Even before the world invented scientists??!!

Originally named after the Roman title for the region on the Iberian peninsula, “Portus Cale” or, “Port of the Celts”, Portugal was an important trading nation and well acquainted with sailing to distant lands to explore new continents and trade exotic goods.

GenYs may be somewhat surprised to learn that in ancient times (like the 20th Century) information like that contained in the previous paragraph was prized. In an age before Wikipedia existed, people actually had to acquire knowledge slowly and show it off at any opportunity at cocktail parties. These days, knowledge is kind of like the free pens they give you at work conferences.

What else is important about Portugal? Portugal has a president. It has a democratic republic. Yep, you guessed it! BOR-RING. This is kind of like banks advertising savings accounts that have plastic cards that can be used at teller machines…who bloody cares?

For the record, here is the current Portuguese president, Mr Anibal Silva:


Now, like our previous entry about countries we simply don’t hear enough about, we see a trend: Unfortunate names for state leaders. Mr Silva would undoubtedly have a difficult time internationally but not because his name is silly. Au contraire (I would have used “Ao Inverso” but who the heck understands Portuguese??), Anibal is a distinguished and beautiful name in Portugal.

No, the problem is that in the Western world, the movie, “Silence of the Lambs”,in 1991, ¬†starring Anthony Hopkins in his brilliant but chilling portrayal of the cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal Lecter simply scares the spaghetti out of most of us. The world’s male leaders can handle being introduced to some guy called “Anibal”. Heck, they mostly live in parliaments with ugly men damn nearly KILLING each other (or, in the case of Taiwan when the furniture REALLY gets moving, just delete the “nearly” in the previous phrase!!).

You see, the issue is with the wives of those world leaders. When you are invited to another country as a leader, the pair of you have to stay in that person’s house!! Of course, it perhaps wouldn’t be so bad if the Portuguese didn’t love their fava beans so much and poor old Mr Silva apparently is addicted to the suckers.

So Mrs head-of-country-x leans over and sees Anibal tucking into a plate of fava beans noisily and suddenly, Mr head-of-country-x would have more chance of getting his wife to stay in a Palestinian bomb factory on the West Bank with a target on the roof and a sign out the front saying: “Well he HAS got a big nose!!”.

Which brings us to the part of the show where we miraculously give this country a makeover. Portugal is relatively easy to fix. The problem? Portuguese ¬†are far too laid back. You simply can’t get much international celebrity when you are number 7 in the world in terms of peaceful nations. No news broadcaster can sell airtime with headlines like: “In further news, it was a quiet day in Portugal and absolutely no one was pissed off by the Portuguese.”.

Anibal, get your angular face out of your Fava beans and go annoy someone. I suggest watching “Fight Club” several times for inspiration and a couple more for some good tips on soap making.

Anibal, get-a-nuke!! It doesn’t have to be a real nuke, even a big black WW2 mine with a nuke sticker on it will do (although avoid those “ACME” mines, a little too “Wile-E-Coyote” these days!). Then call some superpowers (well OK, only the US really) “Imperialist dogs” or even better “infidels” or even even better “Canadians” . Then tell them that Budweiser beer is like carbonated cat wee (now, most Americans seem to know this but it still annoys them). Now you have yourself the chance for some first class free publicity.

The next step is to shamelessly plug your beautiful Englishman free beaches (eat your heart out, Spain!!), cheap steaks and beautiful beers and you have yourself a worldwide tourist campaign. If possible, all hollow threats against the world would ideally be carried out ON a beach by Anibal with a beer in one hand and steak on a fork in the other seated on a deck chair. He could even consider hiring a few Belgian girls to stand around in bikinis with their mouths shut. An article I read recently suggested that Belgian girls are apparently quite hot.

Finally, to the chicken. Is Portuguese chicken truly sexy? Well, actually, yes. That delicious charred outside, the layers of barbequed chilli sauce and Lemon is worth getting into a whole lot of International trouble for. At least it is better than Fava beans.