Notes from Portugal: Jumbo Shopping Mess

Visiting southern Portugal and stuck in a traffic jam? It’s probably just your local JUMBO shopping mart.

I´m in Faro, Portugal, finishing off the year, seeking a little warmth. Faro is a small town at the southern-most tip of Portugal. Here, it’s in the 60s(F), sunny, and beautiful, but you can’t escape traffic or the end-of-the-year shopping hoards even here.

The most annoying thing in the whole region? On the sole major roadway to this old fishing village with the pretty old walled center town, at the first roundabout, is a shopping center called JUMBO. It lives up to its name. It blocks traffic in a mile in either direction. Seriously, there’s no way around it. And, from the looks of it last night and tonight, everyone in this town, and maybe even the whole region, is there. Shopping.

What’s going on? It’s low season, relatively, here. All the tourists have gone. And yet, it is an all-consuming black hole of noise, traffic, and shopping carts, you’ll find this monstrosity. What happened to all the local markets?

Happy New Year! Eat well. Don’t Jumbo.