A recent survey by Bloomberg has ranked various nations' healthcare efficiency scores and the U.S. isn't doing so hot. Currently at #54, the States' high healthcare costs aren't adding any additional years to one's lifespan.
While Portugal has issues of its own (a month-long nurses' strike is likely to begin Nov. 22nd) the cost of healthcare is not egregious. As residents, we can attest to the fact that it is considerably less expensive, especially prescription medications. Because we are not citizens, we are required to have private medical insurance, which at present is about $250 per month for both of us. That's roughly equal to Medicare Part B costs, which we do not have since we live out of the country.
As I mentioned on our Facebook page, I have mixed feelings about these lovely tiles (What Will Lisbon do About its Stunning-Yet-Dangerous Sidewalks?) which can be found in almost every city and town in Portugal. They are easy to pry up to perform road/sidewalk maintenance and are used to form the most amazing geometric patterns, but they have their downsides. When it's wet they're slick and I know when it rains not to wear one particular pair of shoes or I have zero traction.
They're also uneven and I still don't know how these ladies in heels manage to get around without screwing up an ankle. I've warned certain US friends who have mobility issues that Portugal might not be the best choice for them to visit. Certainly it's not just Portugal (most of Europe is like that) but it's not something tourists usually think about. You just don't go wandering around without paying attention to where you're putting your feet.
But they're pretty and unique. So what to do?
However practical we find this country’s public transportation, the day may come when we wish to rent a car and that requires a Portuguese driver’s license. Also, if we ever intend to drive outside out the country, we’ll need an international driver’s license and that also requires a DL from Portugal. This blog discusses the process to obtain both of these important documents.
We've just passed the "we've been here 11 months" mark and that's rather astounding, actually. In many ways we've settled in and others, not so much. So this post is going to discuss what's giving us trouble, because living in a foreign country is never like the guidebooks suggest. The big clue: it's all about The Language
While I was out researching a nearby city (Vila do Conde), I found this way cool site that offers 360 degree views of famous locations throughout Portugal. In this case, various sites in Porto.
I highly recommend you take some time to just browse through these links. Enjoy!
The Camara Muncipal (city government) of Port has made a insightful video on what it means to live (or visit) here. Enjoy.
If you’re planning to become a resident of Portugal, one of the first things on your To Do list is to obtain a Número de Identificação Fiscal or NIF (nēf). Almost any activity that has taxes associated with it will require this nine-digit number: opening a bank account, renting an apartment, purchasing property, establishing utilities, taking out a loan, obtaining a residency permit, or even making everyday purchases.
Ever wondered how Portugal reduced their drug abuse problem without sending even more of its citizens to jail? Here's a video that explains exactly how this all works.
And to answer the question we occasionally receive "Are you smoking up over there?" that would be "Ah, no." Because we're here on temporary residence permits, subject to the good will of the immigration authorities, we behave ourselves. That doesn't mean that occasionally we don't encounter a cloud of pot smoke when we're out and about and take a deep inhalation.
But then that's not illegal (wink).
It seems a number of our friends are headed on adventures overseas and one of the big issues they face is "What do I bring with me?" This list is quite comprehensive and covers a lot of things you'd never think of.
The Ultimate Packing List
And yes, we did bring the duct tape. It's proven to be useful already.
This explains a lot. Every time we pay for purchases the vendors are desperate for coins, not just the one and two cents. They will shake us down. It seems Portugal is so short of one and two cent coins they're buying them from Ireland.