Everywhere in the world has its very own special features, the things about it that makes it different than anywhere else. Some places have famous sites and castles, others historical landmarks, while the Algarve has golf, beaches and the EN125 – a road known for its danger levels, orange sellers and prostitutes.
I did a quick Google search for sex and oranges and apart from one blog and a few dubious results I could not find anywhere else in the world where these two commodities came together apart from in the Algarve in Portugal.
It may seem strange to have prostitutes selling their services alongside little old ladies with a table full of oranges but all along the EN125 road that stretches from one side of the Algarve to the other you will find such entrepreneurs side by side, especially between Albufeira and Almancil (just in case you were wondering where to buy the best oranges).
And the sex and oranges situation really does sum up the Algarve, a place where a brand new Bentley will overtake a horse and cart, where a Premiership footballer will be sat at the bar with a taxi driver and where a bus load of pensioners will happily enjoy an ice cream while sharing a seaside humour joke with a hen party of twenty somethings after a few too many shots of Sambuca.
I am not sure what actually came first along the EN125, the sex or the oranges, but the two seem to work well together and in the summer season the distraction of both from the side of the road only adds to the fear factor of driving the road itself.
Anyone who travels up and down the EN125 regularly has their favourite sellers (come on admit it!), I particularly admire the fashion bravery of the lady that always wears red; from her PVC jacket, down to her unbearably unsuitable shoes for walking along the stoney verge of the road. She always looks very busy, chatting away on her phone while waving a slim cigarette as she talks. I am not so keen on the lady who has opted out of the underwear requirement and sits on a plastic chair by a bus stop – she may be wearing knickers but if she is they are most certainly of the furry black variety.
Everyone needs to earn a living and as long as they are doing it of their own free will I really have no issue with this apart from when you are driving along the road with a car full of children that is.
You know the awkward questions that children ask you, and the car seems to be the place where many of these questions are posed (perhaps it is the safety of not being able to see the faces of the people in the front who are doing the answering). There are some things a seven year old does not really need to know and the work methods of the ladies on the side of the road as you are driving to the beach are not exactly at the top of my list of comfortable conversations.
There is of course an alternative road that you can drive along in the Algarve, the dreaded A22 toll road, a road now devoid of any traffic since you had to pay to use it – however it almost seems worth paying the tolls to avoid those questions but where is the fun in that?