Portuguese is a beautiful and colorful language. It has a lot of special words that can be translated into English as most words do. However, this blog is dedicated to Portuguese sayings! You’re going to love our collection of funny Portuguese saying, so make sure you follow us!
Whether you are just visiting Porto, or thinking about moving here, it sure helps to know the local slang and expressions. So today, I’m going to start with something people say quite often when you’re caught lost in thought or contemplation.
What are you doing? Looking for ships?
Let’s get into it, the blunt meaning is to be waiting for something that doesn’t show up, doesn’t happen or doesn’t appear.
People say that it originated from the contemplative attitude of Portuguese people themselves. As they were the ones keeping an eye on the ships in the hopes that a beloved King Dom Sebastião, who disappeared in the bloody battle of Alcácer-Quibir in Morocco in 1578, would one day return to his native country.
Well, because he disappeared in battle, and left a lot of embarrassing questions both to the monarchy itself and also to the people. A rumor started spreading that he would one day return to Portugal and restore the nation to its earlier days of conquering. I’ll be writing more about this interesting character of our history as well and diving deep into his disappearance, in another post.
The French invasions and the exile of the royal family to Brazil provide another explanation for this term. They were left to witness ships, leaving, literally failing, as the French troops marching to the city would have still been able to see their departure from the top of one of Lisbon’s hills.