Monday, December 2, 2013

Open Party! I'm Tired For Sleeping.

The Portuguese seem to be afflicted with the same English language obsession that the Brazilians are. Though I had the sense that they, on the whole, more commonly spoke English than the Brazilians. Why, then, did I see all these nonsensical t-shirts?

No pictures, 'cuz that would have been rude. But imagine it: a white T with centered, big block lettering: 
You know I love fun signs.

"Open Party
Free Pass May & June
I'm tired for sleeping"



"Angel loves beauty"
This one had a roll of Warhol-esque sunglasses underneath.... you know, the kind that are black in front and neon colors on the sides, like the ones that they sell at gas stations? These, from the 80s. Peculiar. 


This this one, for example: a little tiny azulejo on the side of a courthouse for "suspended sentences." How delightfully discreet.

I'm curious about you too! People coming and going, everywhere, for myriad motives. 

(Welcome mat courtesy of a boutique hotel in central Lisbon.)

If you insist, who am I to refuse?

No coffee served, to my dismay. But the store is convenient... I'll give it that.

"Baby Up & Down with me?" Ermm, sounds scandalous. But, this sounds like a proposition Ivan wouldn't pass up. Why Not

[Many people adhere to the adage "What would Jesus do?"  To those, I mean no disrespect, but I'd rather live by the adage, "What would Ivan do?"]

Where to even begin? 

Consider hiring a proofreader before printing the wares.



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fado: the naked darkness of a nation

The Portuguese have a tendency to be melancholic. It seems to be an inherited (and ages-old) condition, and the country does indeed have a long and complicated history. 
Winning and losing. 
And isn't it always the losses that stay with us?

Listen to this. Really. Do it. It's beautiful. Raw. Emotional. Powerful. At minute 3 it really grabs you. (If not, check your pulse.) 

This is Fado. It is suffering and longing and heartbreak, and the Portuguese have it in spades. Enough to have dominion of a musical genre by its name. The singer is Carminho, a modern day Portuguese heroine (in both senses). The song is "Escrevi teu nome no vento," or "I wrote your name in the wind."

Interestingly, Fado in Irish Gaelic means something along the lines of "Once upon a time..."

There is indeed a sensation of a Lost Fairy Tale, I felt, in charming Lisboa and the surrounding region. 

One evening, while dining, I watched some parliamentary proceedings on the television. The gist of it: "We got screwed. What should we have done? What can we do now?"

A succinct (though biased) explanation of a complex economic problem is that the Portuguese were told not to compete with Italy and Spain for exportation of olive oil, oranges, other agricultural goods. Whatever the root, Portugal has been reduced, it seems, to a tourism-based economy. What a juxtaposition for a nation that once held such global dominance... a nation of heros that "discovered" many of the nations we call ours today. 

But enough of the tears already. After 10 min out on a Friday night I wanted nothing less than to hear Fado.

And there was plenty of funny to be had.... (next post)