Day 3 – Looking for Wally
Wednesday, 21st June
About 1.7 million people live in the greater Porto area. Most of them you meet in the course of a day in the old town. That's probably why I felt like I was in the Wimmel book "Where is Wally?". In Martin Hanford's picture books, Wally and his friends are hiding on every double page. Although they are wearing red and white striped hats, scarves and jumpers, they are hard to find.
I can understand Wally taking off his cap and scarf in the heat, but at least Wally should have kept his red-and-white-striped T-shirt on.
I thought of several strategies to find him and his friends:
In my business studies I learned the method of complete enumeration. Despite the swanky name, it just means asking everyone you meet. That didn't seem very practical to me. Not that I lacked enthusiasm, but to be honest, I wouldn't have got anywhere if I had really asked everyone by name. Above all, it wouldn't be enough in practice to ask someone what their name is. You would have to do a bit of conversation afterwards.
A variation of the principle also proved unworkable. I asked each interviewee to join in the search. In this case, the number of people processed grows explosively, and I would have reached my goal surprisingly quickly. In the best case, after the twentieth interview. This strategy failed only because the first interviewees simply refused to have a blue mark stamped on their foreheads. We could have negotiated the colour if necessary, but the important thing was that it was conspicuous and could not be washed off. At these temperatures, any stamp would disappear in no time due to perspiration. My explanation that otherwise I would not be able to distinguish between those who had already been interviewed and those who hadn't was of no interest to anyone. They argued that the stamp was too conspicuous and interfered with the outfit. How can one work sensibly there?
The only reason why Porto's hills are not numbered consecutively is that it becomes very confusing from the 493rd hill onwards. Because of the many hills, the levels get mixed up. 60 metres above the busy riverside road that runs along the Duoro, the underground crosses the Ponte Luis I. Without losing height, it dives into the ground and pours people onto the platform deep below the station, which then runs through the cityscape, making the search for Wally even more difficult.
I then put up a sign saying Wally should report to our hotel.
So we drove back without having achieved anything. Our hotel is on the Atlantic coast. I benevolently interpreted it as a sign of reconciliation that none of the 1.7 million residents followed us. Then the beach would have been full and we wouldn't have seen anything of the sunset.
Maybe Wally will contact us later at the hotel.