30 abril, 2009

Visiting Portugal

Portuguese sidewalks

Wow, Claudia, you should be a travel agent!

Hmmm, this is one I don’t get every day. Possibly I could be a travel agent. Never thought about it, really. If I give it a bit of serious thought, I think I would probably be good at anything I put my heart on… with limitations, of course: I could never be a lawyer (much to my sister’s chagrin) because hearing about intricate details people's lives makes me sleepy; and I could never be a doctor because the sight of blood/needles makes me faintish.

This all to say that a good friend is visiting Portugal soon and asked me for advice. I have exchanged a few emails and by the looks of it she has been very impressed. So I decided to post here the main points that put it all together, for future reference. Before I start, I must just say that my friend is already a very savvy travel planner and that my advice kind of catered to her needs and questions, but still I think it’s worth the post… in English of course: make the public good available for non-natives :-)


The Algarve has tons of nice little village resorts by the sea. My parents have an apartment in Portimão, which is in the western half. I personally prefer Lagos, which is probably the last western location of sizable dimension. The advantage of being on the western side is that you can do a day trip to the south western most point of Europe, it's called Sagres and it's where the caravels are supposed to have departed for the discoveries... don't expect a lot of history (the Portuguese never took good care of their cultural heritage) it's more the countryside, the light house and the beautiful cliffs. That being said, people say that the water is much warmer on the Eastern half of the Algarve, in which case I would recommend places like Vilamoura, or Monte Gordo. If you stay on the Eastern side you can again do a day (or perhaps half a day trip) to Ayamonte which is the Spanish village across the river in Vila Real de Santo António... it's a nice small picturesque town with street shopping, no beach.

Beach on the weekend vs on week days... yes it does make a difference, especially if the weather is nice. If you manage to get in and out of the Algarve on week days that would be ideal. But if your planning ends up involving a weekend, don't worry too much about it. The beaches in the Algarve are usually long extensions of sand so you can walk a bit more and get some space. Also it will be June, not August, when it's certainly more crowded! In June you'll get the tourists from Northern Europe (Germans, English, Dutch), but since classes are still going on you'll find few Portuguese people from the North and those are the ones who crowd up the place. The people in the Algarve mostly work on weekends and week days (the tourist industry is immense) so those won't be many.

There are plenty of places to go to the beach in the west, the reason I think the Algarve is superior has to do with calmer and warmer waters. Suggestions between Lisbon and Porto are: Peniche (the location of which the Berlenga island is off of... if I were you I wouldn't go to the Berlenga itself, it's a natural reservation very arid, no vegetation, lots of sea gulls, hiking trails and an old fortress (it's nice, but given your limited time I wouldn't do it... plus it seems close to the coast, but the ferry takes about an hour to get there and it shakes a lot); Nazaré (very nice typical fishing village by the sea, with great food... look for the women selling goods on the street, tradition has it that they wear 7 skirts and tourists take pictures counting them :) ) São Martinho do Porto (against the name, it's not close to Porto, but it's probably the place with calmest waters as its natural bay really protects the coast from the strong Atlantic currents); and finally Figueira da Foz, where the river Mondego (the same that goes through Coimbra) reaches the sea.

I am sure there are beaches along some rivers, but I frankly don't know any... lakes are not big in Portugal, remember it's the Iberian peninsula... pretty dry :)


To tell you the truth I don't know much about hotels/resorts in the Algarve or Lisbon... I know some names, but not much more than that. The hotel that I stayed at in Porto with my friend was this one. I reserved at hotels.com, the price was nice and the hotel was very decent... no luxuries, but it had everything we needed. The location was good and we saw everything we wanted on foot: Rua de Santa Catarina with all its traditional shops including the Café Majestic with a nice 1920s feel; mercado do bolhão a very traditional farmers market; and avenida dos aliados a nice walking boulevard; and also walking across the bridge and visiting the Porto wine cellars... the view of Porto is so much nicer on the other side of the bridge! If you want to stay an extra day in Porto and take the cruise up the river that should be really nice, because you see the city, but start entering into the wine producing area and the landscape is just outstanding.

In Lisbon I would prefer to be located in Baixa (the old downtown area), if you can get an hotel in Avenida da Liberdade or in Chiado even better. Location is very central and close to the train stations that can take you either to Sintra (the video has much more than Sintra, and you definitely HAVE to have the pastries they talk about!!! If you miss it I will be personally offended!) or Cascais for a day, I strongly recommend you go there! Other than the narrow streets with nice shops and esplanades outside, make sure you go to Boca do Inferno (literally the Devil's mouth) which is only possibly a 5-10 min drive from the center of Cascais, in the direction of the beaches at Guincho (like going to Sintra by the sea route... not the most direct way to get there, but pretty!)... if you are thinking Guincho may be an alternative beach resort please take your mind away from it... the water is cold and unsteady and the wind is out of this world... they have the windsurf championship there every year :)

If you are in Lisbon for three days you can see the castle (beautiful views of the city and the river), Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto (for night life... you may find some fado house there), and a walk from Alcântara (where the golden-gate-like bridge leaves to the other side... if you walk by the river you'll go under the bridge... the noise is superb!!) to Belém by the river (in Belém you'll see the monuments they show in the video - Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém - AND the pastries!), and Parque das Nações - the oriental part of town that hosted the 1998 world expo. It used to be a run-down industrial area, but they prettied it up so there are nice gardens, walk ways by the river, an oceanarium (the best I have seen), shopping mall, etc.


Coimbra is very nice, but you see the university in the hill, take a walk by the river and stop at the shops and you're done. If you're interested in historical value you can go to Conimbriga, which is not too far from Coimbra (I would guess 10-20km max), it's the ruins of the old roman town. Évora is again very nice, but even smaller than Coimbra. There's also historical value: the Temple to the Greek (Roman?) goddess, the bones chapel. I would say that either Coimbra or Évora are nice places to stop over but not stay a day. Another such place is Óbidos on the way from Lisbon to Porto, possibly one hour and a half from Lisbon... it's basically a medieval town with a castle and all the houses inside, they have nice artisanal shops, restaurants, etc. Another such place in Alentejo (the region where Évora is) is Monsaraz, which has the advantage of having great wine.

If you are looking for another afternoon (one day... who knows) stop, Aveiro might be a good idea. I have never been, but have heard very nice things about it. The mouth of Vouga river gives a nice feeling to the place with the mix of the river and sea waters... they call it the Venice of Portugal. Perhaps there are nice beaches nearby I just don't know them by name. Aveiro should be about one hour south of Porto and less than an hour from Coimbra.


By the way if you're into wine, don't let yourself blinded by porto wine alone. The country has much MUCH more to offer and everything is extremely cheap when compared to US standards. I don't recall exactly what was the brand of porto that I brought you from Portugal, but what I do recall is that I bought it at the local supermarket for around 5-10 euros... no kidding! I think that if you go to the porto wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia (across the river from Porto) you will find much better quality... in any case, it's just worth going for the tour of the place, they explain the production process and so on. Buy even a bottle there, the one you want to offer to impress someone, but buy all the rest in one of the supermarkets (they call it hypermarkets in Portugal)... not the local corner grocery store, but since you'll have a car you can go either to Continente, Jumbo, or even Corte Ingles (in Lisbon only). You can find a huge selection not only of Porto but of wines from all over the country... I don't understand much of wines, but for instance wine from the Douro region (not porto wine, just table wine) is very different from wine from Alentejo, the southern region between Lisbon and the Algarve.


Beach alternatives around Lisbon are good (I would say excellent according to US standards), but not wonderful: Estoril, São João do Estoril, Carcavelos are options... good thing is that they are by the train line, which makes them accessible. Even if you don't go to the beach there I think the train ride from Lisbon (Cais do Sodré station) to Cascais (which leaves you in the heart of the village) is worth it. Even though it's a commuter train (the one I took to school, work, etc.) it's always by the river/sea (it accompanies the mouth of the Tagus) and I think it's very pretty.

Sesimbra is nice, but close to one hour drive from Lisbon, you will probably face a lot of traffic crossing the bridge south and I don't think you want do that given the limited amount of time you have. The beaches of Costa da Caparica the other side of the river (but closer, not as far down as Sesimbra) are also very good, but again you have the traffic problem.

Now... I don't want to confuse you more than you are, but a one day trip from Lisbon to the south would be Tróia. You would have to cross the bridge and get to Setúbal (close to an hour) and then catch the ferry (that carries cars) to Tróia. Check out this video. It was a promotion for a resort to be built 2-3 years back, and it's about 10 mins long. The first 3-4 mins give you a sense of the area's geography. Sesimbra is in the Setúbal side. In this region there are two rivers ending up in the ocean: the Tagus ends in Lisbon, the Sado, ends up in Setúbal the peninsula between the two rivers is what you have to cross to reach the ferry that brings you to Tróia, which is located in a (very thin) peninsula itself.

Let me know what you think :-)

Their travel plans are not completed yet, but looks like they’ll start in Porto and travel south. They already booked hotels in Régua (in the Douro valley), Coimbra, Óbidos, and they are really looking forward to stay in Tróia.

Yes, perhaps I would be a good travel agent…

Palavras lidas #82

A notícia do milagre havia chegado ao palácio do doge, mas de uma maneira bastante baralhada, resultado, desde o relato incompleto de alguma testemunha mais ou menos presencial até aos que simplesmente falaram por ouvir dizer, das transmissões sucessivas de factos verdadeiros ou supostos, ocorridos ou imaginados, pois, como demasiado sabemos, quem conta um conto não passa sem lhe acrescentar um ponto, e às vezes uma vírgula. (p. 197)

Que bonita é a neve vista por trás da vidraça, disse ingenuamente a arquiduquesa maria ao arquiduque maximiliano, seu marido, mas lá fora, com os olhos cegados pela ventania e as botas feitas numa sopa, com as frieiras dos pés e das mãos a arderem como o fogo do inferno, é caso para perguntar aos céus que foi que fizemos nós para merecermos tal castigo. (...) Também o frio, quando nasce, é para todos, diz-se, mas nem todos apanham nos lombos com a mesma porção dele. A diferença está em viajar num coche forrado de peliças e mantas com termostato e ter de caminhar sob o açoite da neve por seu pé ou com ele enfiado num estribo gelado que oprime como um torniquete. (p. 221-2)

Cautelosamente, fritz deu a entender a solimão* que já era hora de fazer um esforço para se levantar. Não ordenou, não recorreu ao seu variado repertório de toques de bastão, uns mais agressivos que outros, apenas deu a entender, o que demonstra uma vez mais que o respeito pelos sentimentos alheios é a melhor condição para uma próspera e feliz vida de relações e afectos. É a diferença entre um categórico Levanta-te e um dubitativo E se tu te levantasses. Há mesmo quem sustente que esta segunda frase, e não a primeira, foi a que jesus realmente proferiu, prova provada de que a ressurreição, afinal, estava, sobretudo, dependente da livre vontade de lázaro e não dos poderes milagrosos, por muito sublimes que fossem, do nazareno. Se lázaro ressuscitou foi porque lhe falaram com bons modos, tão simples como isto. (p. 231)

* Solimão (Salomão) é o elefante, Fritz (Subhro) é o cornaca, ou tratador.

Caprichos #92

Yesterday I had friends over for food & drinks, sort of an end of semester celebration. Today I have 3 days worth of left overs... better invite more people over :-)

29 abril, 2009

Palavras lidas #81

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran

28 abril, 2009

Espantos #184

O verde da primavera

é diferente do verde do verão :-)

Numa sala perto de mim # 103

SISTER JAMES: So you did it. You got him out.
SISTER JAMES: I don't think Father Flynn did anything wrong.
SISTER ALOYSIUS: No? He convinced you?
SISTER JAMES: Yes, he did.
SISTER JAMES: Did you ever prove it?
SISTER JAMES: Anyone but yourself?
SISTER JAMES: But you were sure.
SISTER JAMES: I wish I could be like you.
SISTER JAMES: Because I can't sleep anymore.
SISTER ALOYSIUS: Maybe we're not supposed to sleep so well. They made Father Flynn Pastor of Saint Jerome.
SISTER ALOYSIUS: The Bishop appointed Father Flynn Pastor of Saint Jerome Church and School. It's a promotion.
SISTER JAMES: You didn't tell them?
SISTER ALOYSIUS: Oh, I told our good Monsignor. I crossed the garden and I told him. He did not believe it to be true.
SISTER JAMES: Then why did Father Flynn go? What did you say to make him leave?
SISTER ALOYSIUS: That I had called a nun in his previous parish. That I had found out his prior history of infringements.
SISTER JAMES: So you did prove it!
SISTER ALOYSIUS: I made no such call.
SISTER ALOYSIUS: Yes. But if he'd had no such history, the lie wouldn't have worked. His resignation was his confession. He was what I thought he was. And he's gone.
SISTER JAMES: I can't believe you lied.
SISTER ALOYSIUS: In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God. Of course there is a price.
SISTER ALOYSIUS: Oh, Sister James!
SISTER JAMES: What is it, Sister?
SISTER ALOYSIUS: I have doubts! I have such doubts!

27 abril, 2009

Numa sala perto de mim #102

Les Choristes (2004) uma história de Dedicação, Trabalho, Vontade, Bondade, Paciência e Exemplo. Fantástico!

26 abril, 2009

Coisas que não mudam #93

Em Abril há a festa da flor na Madeira!

25 abril, 2009

Memórias #32

Cresci com um feriado no dia 25 de Abril que não significava mais que um dia sem aulas e paradas militares na televisão. Em pequena gostava bastante das paradas... ver os militares alinhados por cor de farda, marchando ao compasso do tambor, certinhos como se fossem um só. O fim da parada militar significava a transferência para a assembleia da republica e os enfadonhos discursos da classe política toda de cravo vermelho ao peito, que naquele dia aparecia no canto superior direito da televisão, ou numa mesa nos programas em directo, tipo telejornal. Com o passar dos anos deixei de gostar de paradas, talvez por me aperceber do que significavam paradas militares noutras partes do mundo, e o dia passou a não ser mais do que um desejado dia de descanso e sem aulas.

Prometi a mim mesma que hoje não escreveria nada a propósito do 25 de Abril. Não porque pense que a liberdade não deva ser celebrada. É-o todos os dias com as liberdades que exercitamos nas escolhas que fazemos. O que me irrita nesta cultura do 25 de Abril sempre é o aproveitamento que existiu, e existe ainda hoje, de um momento único da história recente de Portugal... falar/escrever sobre o 25 de Abril é apenas alimentar esse aproveitamento.Obviamente que Salgueiro Maia e os homens que comandou de Santarém a Lisboa, merecem o nosso eterno reconhecimento por fazerem cair o regime, embora este já tivesse ruído por dentro... por vezes tudo o que é necessário é um sopro porque sem ele nada acontece e o sofrimento continua. Agora, alguns desses que se dizem "capitães de Abril," não só não merecem o meu reconhecimento, como deveriam ser responsabilizados pelas atrocidades que cometeram tanto no próprio dia, como também no periodo pós-revolucionário quando tiraram o melhor partido de um país sem rei nem roque e de um povo que, em delírio de ser livre, subscrevia com espírito naïf acompanhado de canções e cravos, todo e qualquer que se lhe apresentasse à frente.

A factura? Essa pode ser passada às gerações futuras que com a legislação aprovada nos anos quentes de 74 a 76, vai ter dificuldade em entender sequer o que é reconhecimento de mérito. Se quiser pedalar para si (e não para os outros) terá de o fazer no estrangeiro ou então ser genial e superar as montanhas nacionais das distorções absurdas criadas na nossa constituição, no nosso código do trabalho e por aí fora.

Tudo o que podia ser aproveitado naquela última quinta feira de Abril de 1974 foi, até os cravos! Percebi finalmente o aproveitamento quando vi o filme Capitães de Abril pela primeira vez. De contentes, as floristas deram aos militares libertadores as flores que tinham para vender. Claro que deram as mais baratas... e certamente as outras todas de contentes que estavam, mas assumindo que deram apenas cravos (porque das outras flores não restam referências), deram todos os cravos que tinham de todas as cores. Por razões que a razão não desconhece, apenas o cravo vermelho sobreviveu na tradição de Abril... doentio! Se de facto a história dos cravos fosse uma celebração pura e simples da liberdade, não importaria a cor do cravo... mas não, o aproveitamento político foi de tal maneira atordoador que nada mais restou nem dos outros cravos nem das outras flores. E depois ainda se criam debates estéreis acerca de quem demonstra atitudes lúcidas relativamente a esta mania dos cravos.

Prometi a mim mesma não escrever sobre o 25 de Abril porque me revolta ver o anual e repetitivo aproveitamento de algo tão puro e simples. Quebrei a promessa, porque vi mais uma pessoa lúcida neste mar de naivité disparatada em que Portugal se encontra há 35 anos. Quebrei a promessa porque há coisas cuja repetição não cansa. Quebrei a promessa porque o post anterior merece ser posto no contexto: o discurso de Teresa Caeiro à assembleia é uma chamada de atenção para o estado actual de coisas (nada de novo, todos são), mas é um apontar do dedo aos responsáveis pelo triste estado de país que temos... os mesmos que enchem o peito nos dias 25 de Abril para nos dizer a nós que sem eles nada seriamos. Cínicos! Quem vos não conheça que vos compre... eu não tenho intenção de tal!

Fica apenas um excerto do discurso de Caeiro, que merece ser lido na íntegra aqui.

(...) Faço parte de uma geração que nasceu com a liberdade. Uma geração que deve ao 25 de Abril - e ao 25 de Novembro - a liberdade de pensar, participar e discordar. Uma geração que reconhece esse tributo com gosto e naturalidade.

Justamente porque encaramos o 25 de Abril com naturalidade, não fazemos vénias aos que se consideram proprietários do 25 de Abril, nem reconhecemos autoridade aos que manipulam e distribuem certificados de correcção” revolucionária” a todos os demais.

Há, em Portugal, quem faça de uma certa visão do 25 de Abril, uma carreira ou até, um modo de vida. A geração a que eu pertenço, dispensa tutelas e está mais preocupada com o estado a que Portugal chegou. Ou seja, com o facto de Portugal não se ter desenvolvido como podia e devia. (...)

Retirado do contexto # 83

GRANDE Teresa Caeiro!!!!!

24 abril, 2009

Conselhos úteis #9

Vai dar um jeitão... para bem mais de 36 horas!

No Times de hoje #98

As Manhattan Bus Rolls, Driver Polishes His Pavarotti fala de um motorista de autocarro em Nova Iorque que canta famosas árias de ópera enquanto guia o autocarro pelo atribulado trânsito da cidade. E cada vez mais que convenço que a felicidade é um estado interior e que se isso acontece é-se feliz e pronto... como aos cinco anos. Buscá-la externamente via familia, emprego, dinheiro, viagens, religião, poderá não dar lá muito bom resultado.

Espantos #183

Procura da felicidade... é essa a resposta para a eterna questão do significado da vida. Até aqui nada de novo. O que dá que pensar é como a felicidade deixa de ser um dado adquirido por defeito para ser um objectivo a alcançar. Procuramos um trabalho melhor porque nos queremos sentir mais realizados naquilo que fazemos; começamos qualquer nova actividade porque pensamos que iremos gostar; vemos filmes ou programas de televisão, lemos livros porque nos disseram que eram bons ou talvez não nos tenham dito nada, mas vemos/lemos na mesma para ver se gostamos; passamos tempo com familia e amigos porque gostamos da sua companhia.

Muito poucos eventos que nos deixam felizes acontecem por acaso. Ou porque planeamos demasiado a nossa vida, ou porque não nos apercebemos das coisas mínimas e boas que acontecem à nossa volta (um pôr do sol, a primavera e as suas flores, reparar na lua todos os dias, uma criança que nos faz rir). Não foi sempre assim. Quem é que se lembra de aos cinco anos andar à procura da felicidade? A felicidade existia e pronto! Não se pensava nas causas ou acções que lhe dessem lugar porque se nos perguntassem, certamente responderiamos que sim, eramos felizes. Acho que o truque está em ter sempre cinco anos... impossível ao nível físico, mas certamente possível ao nível mental.

Esta semana telefonei para a minha prima no dia em que ela fez cinco anos para lhe dar os parabéns. Claro que o que eu queria dizer era irrelevante porque ela tinha muito mais coisas para me dizer a mim, que eu a ela. Primeiro perguntou-me se aqui onde eu estava ainda era de dia (ela está 6 horas à frente). Veio isto na sequência de uma outra conversa telefónica que tivemos aqui há tempos em que ela ficou muito perplexa pelo facto de eu estar a tomar o pequeno almoço quando ela já tinha almoçado há muito tempo! Depois de estabelecermos novamente que as horas não eram coincidentes (acho que vamos ter uma conversinha sobre o sol e os planetas no verão), veio a comida: se eu já tinha almoçado, quando é que eu ía jantar, se ía tomar um lanchinho a meio da tarde. Finalmente quando estava satisfeita com as minhas respostas veio a revelação:

Sabes que hoje faço cinco anos e estou muito contente?

Gosto da sensação de automatismo... é a única coisa que procuro para mim :-)

Palavras lidas #80

D. Henrique de Borgonha, conde de Portugal

O Conde D. Henrique

Todo o começo é involuntário.
Deus é o agente.
O herói a si assiste, vário
E inconsciente.

À espada em tuas mãos achada
Teu olhar desce.
"Que farei eu com esta espada?"

Ergueste-a, fez-se.

Fernando Pessoa, Mensagem

Há 897 anos nascia o Conde pai do Afonso Henriques.

23 abril, 2009

Parece que estou a ouvir #81

Recently I looked at a calendar of the year I was born and realized I was born on a Thursday, just like today. I guess this makes me a Thursday's child... maybe that's why I love the song :-)

David Bowie

All of my life I've tried so hard
Doing my best with what I had
Nothing much happened all the same

Something about me stood apart
A whisper of hope that seemed to fail
Maybe I'm born right out of my time
Breaking my life in two

Throw me tomorrow
Now that I've really got a chance
Throw me tomorrow
Everything's falling into place
Throw me tomorrow
Seeing my past to let it go
Throw me tomorrow
Only for you I don't regret
That I was Thursday's child

Monday Tuesday Wednesday born I was
Monday Tuesday Wednesday born I was
Thursday's child

Sometimes I cried my heart to sleep
Shuffling days and lonesome nights
Sometimes my courage fell to my feet

Lucky old sun is in my sky
Nothing prepared me for your smile
Lighting the darkness of my soul
Innocence in your arms


Numa sala perto de mim #101

Everlasting Moments (2008) conta a história de Maria Larssen. Mãe de familia, na Suécia do princípio do século XX, Maria tem muitas bocas para sustentar em casa e um marido que bebe e bate a gosto. As escolhas de Maria, a opinião dos filhos, o talento recalcado... muito bom!

22 abril, 2009

21 abril, 2009

Palavras lidas #79

Estou cansado da inteligência.
Pensar faz mal às emoções.
Uma grande reacção aparece.
Chora-se de repente, e todas as tias mortas fazem chá de novo
Na casa antiga da quinta velha.
Pára, meu coração!
Sossega, minha esperança factícia!
Quem me dera nunca er sido senão o menino que fui...
Meu sono bom porque tinha simplesmente sono, e não ideias que esquecer!
Meu horizonte de quintal e praia!
Meu fim antes do princípio!

Estou cansado da inteligência.
Se ao menos com ela se percebesse qualquer coisa!
Mas só percebo um cansaço no fundo, como baixam na taça
Aquelas coisas que o vinho tem e amodorram o vinho.


Álvaro de Campos, Poesia

Pormenores #41

Com um email ficou tudo resolvido... venham os cartões substitutos!

19 abril, 2009

Coisas que não mudam #91

Quedas de água

e boa que estava :-) em Short Springs State Natural Area, TN

17 abril, 2009

Numa sala perto de mim #100

The Hustler (1961)

Went out to play pool with G and L the other night. They were keen on it so I was just having fun watching them play. At some point G handed me the stick and said "come on, shoot some, we'll pair against L!" I gave him the (true) drill: only played a couple of times in my life and very poorly... I do see the shots in my head (or at least the way I would like them to be, given the position of the balls on the table) but I have no arm strength, nor a steady hand. I am fine just watching and you're better off playing alone. "Oh come on..." it took me a while to get comfortable again with positioning the hands. In the mean time, I gave them a few laughs in the several attempts at a shot when I just entirely missed the ball and lost balance. The problem boils down to coordination: when my left hand is steady my right arm is not strong enough to make the shot, and when it is, my left hand is not steady. Very ocasionaly things come out right and the shot is exactly the way it played in my head.

Not surprisingly, G and I lost by a few games, but I was pretty happy with some of my shots. The last play of the night did not pan out the way I planned. We were solids. The yellow (and of course the black) ball was still in play. The alignment of white and yellow with the corner pocket was pretty straighforward and no much strength was needed. So no big deal the yellow ball went in... but then, the white ball drifted to the left side of the table hitting the black ball which went straight into the other corner pocket... that one I did not see coming! That's when L seriously-jokingly called me a hustler.

A term used for unethical players who try to hide their true ability to bait someone of lesser ability into playing for money or more money

had to see the movie... so much has changed since 1961: a young (black & white) Paul Newman plays brilliant pool, while smoking 90% of the time on camera. In the movie he wins the game and loses the girl. I lost the game, so...? :-)

15 abril, 2009

Retirado do contexto #82

Precious moments...

A friend, living in a different continent (she's 10 and a half hours ahead, for her it's 3am), is sleepless. A problem is bugging her. She finds me online and we talk a bit. I give my input and she seems to feel better. Here's the (slightly edited) dialogue that followed:

her you're right
are you busy?
do not want to keep you from work
me wanna talk?
I have work but it's fine
it's not every day a sleepless friend needs my warm words :)
her thanks a ton
i'll be brave now
and try and sleep
me yes try dear
and remember it's a mental process more than a physical one :)
her yes
that is true
will keep this thought in mind
me and now just try to sleep
like a good girl!
her will sleep with a smile thinking of you
me :)
her maybe i will get a pic of you
to keep me company
me eheheheh
her do not get spooked
me no dear, all is fine!
her okay :-)
me you know the postcard you sent me with the men in bicycles
me it's on my cork board at the entrance of my apartment
so i look at it every day when i leave and when i come back home
and smile :)
her that is such a nice thing to share
me "handsome men"... f***ing hilarious!
her thanks claudia
me :D
me you're welcome dear!
her ok off i go
me sleep tight
her oh man i miss you
a H U G
me you have me here :)
that's the most me i can get really!
HUG back
her tata
me tata

... I think this tata business is an Indian thing :-)

Ditto #115

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.

-- Francis Bacon

14 abril, 2009

13 abril, 2009

Numa sala perto de mim #99

Miracle Worker (1962) conta o princípio da história de Helen Keller (1880-1968): como aos seis anos Helen saiu da reclusão imposta pela cegueira e pela surdez. O trabalho fenomenal de Annie Sullivan foi muito para além de ensinar a linguagem. Algumas cenas do filme são difíceis de ver porque é difícil imaginar como uma criança pode chegar aos seis anos sem noção do mundo que a rodeia ou do que significa disciplina. Helen teve a sorte de não ser colocada num hospicio para doentes mentais ou ter-se-ía perdido para sempre. Annie Sullivan fez Helen ser Helen Keller.

12 abril, 2009

Palavras lidas #78

Há tantos deuses!
São como os livros -- não se pode ler tudo, nunca se sabe nada.
Feliz quem conhece só um deus, e o guarda em segredo.
Tenho todos os dias crenças diferentes --
Às vezes no mesmo dia tenho crenças diferentes --
E gostava de ser a criança que me atravessa agora
A visão da janela abaixo --
Comendo um bolo barato (ela é pobre) sem causa aparente nem final,
Animal inutilmente erguido acima ds outros vertebrados
E cantando, entre os dentes, uma cantiga obscena de revista...
Sim, há tantos deuses...
Mas dava eu tudo ao deus que me levasse aquela criança daqui p'ra fora...

Álvaro de Campos, Poesia

É esta a entrada de hoje - domingo de Páscoa - no poemário Fernando Pessoa 2009.

Retirado do contexto #81

11 abril, 2009

Palavras lidas #77

Passar a limpo a Matéria
Repor no seu lugar as cousas que os homens desarrumaram
Por não perceberem para que serviam
Endireitar, como uma boa dona de casa da Realidade,
As cortinas nas janelas da Sensação
E os capachos às portas da Percepção
Varrer os quartos da observação
E limpar o pó das ideias simples
Eis a minha vida, verso a verso.

Alberto Caeiro, Poesia

Espantos #182

Chipmunk... not a baby squirrel.

Memórias #31

Around the age of 4 or 5, children stop being cute and start being somewhat irritating and wild. Still, in this irritating stage one can find rather cute moments.

Same old thing every morning: walking to school, ipod on and loud. Distracted by the loud music, I initially don’t see the boy, though we’re both walking on the same sidewalk: I closest to the road; he, by his mother’s hand, walks in my direction in the middle of the sidewalk, his mom walks closer to the building. I walk fast and look straight ahead focusing on a distant point in the horizon. They walk slower.

The moment we cross each other is very brief… in less than half a second he holds my left arm and yells HI, immediately releasing my arm afterwards.

I don’t stop. Neither do they. But he and I (not his mother who either did not see, or deliberately chose to ignore another of her son’s irritating moments) turn our heads back. He is smiling naughtily. I grin profusely and curve forward, attempting to lower my head to his height, while I wave my hand and return the greeting silently. The kid’s triumphant expression made my day. It took a few seconds for both of us to turn our heads in the direction we were walking. I don’t know about him, but it took me a bit more to gain composure… brought back in me the wild child I once was :-)

10 abril, 2009

Parece que estou a ouvir #80

Last night at the Irish pub they sang for me. No, not just Brown Eyed Girl... the moment you (rather, your friends) mention you're from Boston they sing all the Irish tunes that have "Boston" in the lyrics. G, got a couple of songs from Australia too... in this cozy bar they sing by request. G got all teary eyed... if only I had some :-)

So goodbye my Boston beauty farewell my Boston Rose
I'll wait for you, I'll think of you, no threat to you I'll pose
so goodbye my Boston Beauty, farewell my Boston Rose
I wish that you were here but I know, that's the way life goes
Now the autumn leave are falling and the tourists have all gone
and the children they have all gone back to school
and my life is as it was before, I work eight hours a day
but the company's still making all the rules
There's a girl in Massachusettes, south of Boston town they say
her lovely face is with me all the day
Well I met her down in old Tralee, golden hair upon her head
I won her heart but she stole mine away
So goodbye my Boston beauty farewell my Boston Rose
I'll wait for you, I'll think of you, no threat to you I'll pose
so goodbye my Boston Beauty, farewell my Boston Rose
I wish that you were here but I know, that's the way life goes
There's a song we sang all summer in the bars in Dublin town
I can hear it on the fac'try radio
and the feelings I remember, when I hear that simple tune
makes me wonder if it ever happened so
well we laughed and loved together 'till the summer days were gone
and she had to fly across that ocean wide
so goodbye my Boston beauty and until we meet again
I'll keep the fire burning deep inside
So goodbye my Boston beauty farewell my Boston Rose
I'll wait for you, I'll think of you, no threat to you I'll pose
so goodbye my Boston Beauty, farewell my Boston Rose
I wish that you were here but I know, that's the way life goes
and some nights when I'm drinkin' and my friends have gathered 'round
and just for fun someone calls out your name
well I smile there with the rest of them but I can't hear a sound
I love you but to them it's all the same
and nights when I'm alone my love you come into my mind
and visions flash across that Emerald Isle
well I'll watch the moon there up above I'll leave this earth behind
and I'll call to you as I go sailing by
So goodbye my Boston beauty farewell my Boston Rose
I'll wait for you, I'll think of you, no threat to you I'll pose
so goodbye my Boston Beauty, farewell my Boston Rose
I wish that you were here but I know, that's the way life goes

09 abril, 2009


April 9, 2009, West End Ave, Nashville, TN

For shame! deny that thou bear'st love to any,
Who for thyself art so unprovident.
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many,
But that thou none lovest is most evident;
For thou art so possess'd with murderous hate
That 'gainst thyself thou stick'st not to conspire.
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate
Which to repair should be thy chief desire.
O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind!
Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind,
Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove:
Make thee another self, for love of me,
That beauty still may live in thine or thee.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet X

08 abril, 2009

Numa sala perto de mim # 98

(ou, o saber de experiência feito)

Police Inspector: [whispering] Doctors... Lawyers... never get past 60 thousand rupees. He's won 10 million. [pause]
Police Inspector: What can a slumdog possibly know?
Jamal Malik: [quietly] The answers. [spits out blood]
Jamal Malik: [quietly and gently] I knew the answers.

07 abril, 2009

Coisas que não mudam #90

Ri, diminutivo de Rita (o nome dela), diminutivo de Margarida. Margarida é um nome muito grande, Rita é um nome pequenino. Só eu a chamo Ri, porque é para mim diferente do que é para as outras pessoas, porque não tenho outra igual e porque gosto muito, MUITO, da que tenho... parabéns IRMÃ :-)

Caprichos #91

Morning walk to work. The ipod plays loud in my ears deliberately isolating me from the street sounds. I stop by the ATM to deposit a check. While standing still, I feel my head nodding, my foot lightly marking the rythm, and my waist wanting to wonder in & out to the beat of

kajaraa re kajaraa re tere kaare kaare naina...
(your kohl-lined eyes, your black, black eyes...)
mere naina mere naina mere naina juRwaa naina
(My eyes, my eyes, my twin eyes... )

and I smile thinking of all the people (from Colombia to South India) and fun times that song brings to mind. The deposit is done and the light subtle dance stops as I resume walking. I am more alert to the lyrics walking down the street than when the music is just background soundtrack for work. I sing with Alice

And hey, I'm not what you're looking for
I can tell you that I'm so much moooooooooooore...

hmmm... some times lyrics just hit you unexpectedly after listening to the song so many times :-)

05 abril, 2009

Palavras lidas #76

Talvez não seja mais do que o meu sonho...
Esse sorriso será para outro, ou a propósito de outro,
Loura débil...
Esse olhar para mim casual como um calendário...
Esse agradecer-me quando não a deixei cair do eléctrico
Um agradecimento...
Gosto de lhe ouvir em sonho o seguimento que nao houve
De conversas que nunca chegou a haver,
Há gente que nunca é adulta sem!
Creio mesmo que pouca gente chega a ser adulta - pouca -
E a que chega a ser adulta de facto morre sem dar por nada.

Loura débil, figura inglesa absolutamente portuguesa,
Cada vez que te encontro lembro-me dos versos que esqueci...
É claro que não me importo nada contigo
Nem me lembro de te ter esquecido senão quando te vejo,
Mas o encontrar-te dá som ao dia e ao desleixo
Uma poesia de superfície,
Uma coisa a mais no a menos da improficuidade da vida...
Loura débil, feliz porque não és inteiramente real,
Porque nada que vale a pena ser lembrado é inteiramente real,
E nada que vale a pena ser real vale a pena.

Álvaro de Campos, Poesia