Letter from Cascais – February

Dear Editor,
Saturday, February 13 – a sunny day ideal for a walk by the ocean.
It is a 15-minute stroll to Boca do Inferno by the sea.
Police are out stopping people and asking for their residential address.
I am told that I am only allowed to walk in the vicinity of my home.
What is the radius of “the vicinity”?
The police officer does not know and asks me to return home.
Saturday, February 20 – No need to check wayward residents.

A ferocious storm since Friday night. The vicious wind is continuing on Saturday morning and it is raining in sheets throughout the day.

Saturday afternoon:
The centre of Cascais is flooded! The torrential rain is continuing, and a local creek is overflowing. The water has nowhere to go.
Fortunately, our residence is on higher ground. The Linha de Cascais, the Cascais-Lisbon railway line, is partially closed since a huge tree has fallen on the track.

The wind and the rain have caused damages throughout Portugal.

Otherwise, Covid-19 dominates the news, both here and internationally.

In Portugal, the lockdown continues, with restaurants and non-essential shops closed. While the economy is obviously suffering, the adverse impact on the human state of mind cannot be overstated. Loneliness and depression affect many people, children included.

Vaccinations are supposed to bring relief and, eventually, an end to the pandemic. There is a national vaccination plan, but implementation is progressing slowly.
Unfortunately, the pandemic overshadows many other problems our world is facing: poverty, injustice, human rights abuses, oppression, migrant refugees living in squalor and, not least, climate change, to list a few. These challenges must not be forgotten or neglected.

What is the good news?
Although easily taken for granted, the caring services provided by health professionals and workers, emergency personnel etc. deserve our admiration and gratitude.

Finally, in international politics, US President Joe Biden’s statement that “America is back” (in international alliances and organisations) is welcome news, after the damage caused during his predecessor’s four years in office. Let us hope that Biden and his team will help promote democracy, justice and peace around the world and support actions designed to reduce hunger and misery.

Please stay safe and try to think positive!
Jurgen H. Racherbaumer