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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Fazer a curva

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who happened to be working on the programme to reduce bureaucracy in Portugal, said: the first thing you need to know if you are coming to live in Portugal is - there are many many rules. And you need to know how to comply with every detail of every rule. But the second thing you need to know is that for every rule there are a hundred ways around it (na maneira Portuguêsa).

I was reminded of that dica (tip) on Friday as a colleague was laughing at me while I described my weekly forays into Portuguese bureaucracy, trying to sort out all the details of my life that never occurred to me should need sorting. But that's good, he reassured me, once you have learned to fill in every form absolutely correctly then you'll be able to move onto your next step. And that is to use the system to do exactly what you want. As long as the paperwork is filled in correctly, you can live the life you like, whether it's legal or illegal, ethical or non-ethical, civic or not civic.

I have a little way to go - but I am learning.


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