26th August 2021
Portimão Boatyard, Portugal – Portimão, Portugal
There are plenty of things that make the British, British. Only a Brit would happily use a condiment named after its colour, Brown Sauce, a Brit can take unending interest in the most mediocre of weather and only a Brit could be shamed by a simple tut. There is one trait that marks Brits apart from the rest of the world; our ability to queue; and queue we have.
Leaving the boatyard life at anchor was good but the jobs list was still looming. Top of this list were vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis A and tetanus giving us protection in points south and so started our Portuguese Medical queueing experience.
Initially approaching the heath centre, we were heartened that it was devoid of patients and there was a girth of receptionists, but even with no people we still had to queue behind emails, chatter and a steely resolve to ignore us. After patiently waiting our turn, we were briefed on the not so streamlined patient centric process. We had to queue up outside the following dawn, whereby we could join a queue to get a ticket, and that ticket would allow us to queue to see a receptionist who would allocate us a queueing slot to see the doctor.
With the sun still under the horizon and the majority townspeople still asleep we dutifully joined the queue outside the clinic gates and the process worked like a dream. All the queues yielded their expected result, of more queues, and we slowly got towards our vaccinations. Finally sitting down with the doctor she quizzically looked at us, shook her head, and told us to join a queue the next lunchtime to get another ticket which would allow us to queue see the nurse.
Now masters of the queue, ticket, wait process; we sat down in front of the nurse who had the same playbook as the doctor. Grumpily he waved his hands, dismissed us, and referred us to public health where another version of the queue ticket, wait process was waiting for us.
Losing yet another day, hope and the will to live, the public heath receptionist, who we’d now seen on a daily basis, looked surprised to see us with a ticket destined for her. Leaving all the qualified healthcare professionals in her wake, she showed that she was the one in charge and one not to mess with. She whisked about the hospital, called people in power, printed out prescriptions and lined up all our needed jabs. What a legend.
Going through the ticket, queue, wait process once again everything seemed to be moving at breakneck speed. Needles were pulled out, vails of vaccine were unwrapped and form after form was filled in. After all this queuing we were turned into pin cushions as yellow fever, hepatitis A and tetanus antibodies cursed through our veins. Never had we been so happy to have been British and been bestowed by an ingrained queuing ability.
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