Que vista!

When I left Scotland, there was no mistaking that it was coming in for winter. When I woke up this morning, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was summer. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, and the Ponte 25 de Abril from my window looked as awesome as ever. I know that it can be like that in Scotland too at this time of year, but the big difference between here and there is that here the sun gives off some heat. While it is not anywhere near as hot now as it was in September, it still reached 23ºC - if we get that in July in Scotland people start to wear shorts and sit on any available piece of grass while eating ice lollies, and the newspapers start warning us about water shortages and imminent hosepipe bans despite the previous five months of unrelenting rain. Anyway, the Portuguese seem to take it all in their stride, and they even get round to wearing heavy coats in the evening as the temperature plummets to 18ºC. Workwise, I had an awful day. Not on account of things being difficult or going wrong, but because I was in a meeting from 11am to 4pm in a small office with a chain smoker. Portugal hasn't yet succumbed to the idea of banning smoking inside workplaces, and just about everywhere you go in the university, there are people smoking like there is no tomorrow. There is no escape. As an ex-smoker, I am reluctant to start preaching to those who either can't or won't kick the habit, but today was painful, and even now - almost five hours later - my lungs still hurt, and I can still smell the smoke. Makes you think - I used to do that to myself and the people around me. Giving up smoking was the best thing I have ever done, and I urge all smokers out there to give it a go... especially when they are around me.


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