Nowadays the New Social is 'doors closed' for visitors and 'windows open' to refresh the indoor air against nasty viruses. So, it´s almost rude to visit people.

Out of politeness and safety, we see as few friends and family as possible. We soon need to be careful not to develop a social phobia. But man, being inside in these dark days is not great at all. Many Portuguese people have found a solution: going for a parking trip! It is also corona proof. If it saves relationships…?

Even the best relationships are sometimes tired of each other. Many families or couples have probably never spent so much time together. Compulsory working from home means that you are not only each other's partner, but also each other's colleague, cleaner and canteen employee. At the end of the working day you also travel back together to… the sofa. I don't want to think about the unstable situations that were already at play before this crisis. The house is probably too small there now.

The need to be in a different environment in your free time and to look at a different face from that of your partner or child increases. Getting pleasure in your free time within all limitations is becoming more and more of a challenge.

With an evening clock here and there, we have already been put to the test. We are prepared for a mood less Christmas where we mainly must rely on each other from our own household. And well, what are you going to do outside on a free (holi)day if you also want to keep it corona proof? Exactly: you create a parking trip that you can complete according to your own wishes and creativity!

Ever since I have lived here in the Porto region, I have always viewed this special spectacle with wondering eyes. I'll explain what it means.

Imagine driving to the beach on a beautiful sunny day. Nothing crazy about that, you would say.
Get a breath of fresh air by the sea, maybe have a glass of wine or coffee on a terrace and continue your walking exercise. Well, not! In addition to recreationists, there are also 'parkers'. Maybe there is a word for it in Portuguese? These people stay within the 2, 3, 4 or 5 doors of their car, not going anywhere. Parked and often in their best outfit (really!). Mostly, they are above average ages. You usually see them parked on the spots with the best views. A bit of wrong parking is therefore part of it. That probably also applies to the parked cars in the middle of roundabouts. Perhaps they could not wait to start their 'activities' until they arrived at the sea?

The number of parked cars on the beach seems to have increased recently. The generation also seems a bit younger. The fact is, that these activities during this period are safer than walking outside (although, if all precautions are taken!). In the meantime, I have seen a variety of hobbies, as I passed those rows of cars. This usually seems to satisfy everyone's desire because everybody does what he or she likes. This has resulted in this list of top 7 tips:

1. Knitting (maybe a Santa hat?)

2. Reading

3. Making phone or video calls (“Look where I am!”)

4. Watching people (while people are watching them)

5. Looking ahead to the waves in a meditative state (would be my favourite)

6. Falling a sleep

7. Arguing (and making up?)

It must be something different than doing this at home!
Incidentally, there are also semi-parkers. That is somewhat in between the recreationists and the parkers. Think of the man who goes fishing and the woman who stays behind in the car. Some just want a little more freedom but prefer not to lose sight of each other. Then there is also the couple consisting of a recreationist and a parker. The man who probably wanted to stop at a roundabout but went for the beach anyway. He then thought to take his girlfriend romantically to the dunes, but she choose for parking life and tip number 7: argue. He left alone...

So, make sure you are clear in your plans as with every Christmas. Are we going to fondue or do we make codfish? Are we going to knit or fishing? That way you keep it exciting and everyone is still satisfied.

Happy Holidays and Jingle all the Way!