Saturday, March 31, 2007


This week I will adopt the poor student strategy. That means buying food from the supermarket, going to museums with free entrance and walking around, practicing the good old cheap sightseeing. Easter is coming, I'm on holiday and I've crossed the line with eating out and passing time in cafes. Then the residence is almost empty, there is no point to think about parties. And life here with a couple of hundred euros is at subsistence level. But let me write more about the cafes, since this is a second home for the Portuguese.
You don't have to go far to find one. They're everywhere, usually with attractive windows - attractive = full of cakes, cookies and their other relatives. Some are more or less traditional, others are modern, and in the center you run into the more fancy ones. In Foz there is one I like very much. It's called Point Cafe, five minutes from where I live. Great interior design, I never thought that such a small bathroom could look amazing in granite. The furniture is simple in shape, black tables and leather benches, contrasting with the white walls with surprising and ingenuous accessories like the illumination or the napkin holders. I love it when they bring me the delicious tea in French press and the cups of thermoisolated glass - I always burn my tongue with those, because you can't feel the temperature of the liquid inside by holding them in your hands. The serving is pronto and the tuna salad is a dream, not to mention the coffee - I tried a pingo, which is coffee with a little milk. Surprisingly, it's just as or even cheaper than the traditional cafes and this Sunday you can watch the game on a wide screen (Benfica - F.C. Porto) with a Carlsberg on the house in your hands. They also serve lunch, but the best thing is it's right across the street from the ocean.
To be continued...

Friday, March 30, 2007


One week of holiday, one week of surfing through blogs. One "rehab" to my virtual space, one coffee by the beach. Good week. I want to make a short list of the blogs I liked, some for their honesty, some for the sense of humor, and most because of good natured criticism. But before, as I decided to do from now on, I must give tribute to the author of the photo I'm using on this post, it's Maxime Boisvert and the title of the photograph is Sun, Dream and Coffee, as posted on the website where I steal artwork from; that is
I discovered a set of blogs on, a blog competition in my home town. One of my favorites is Aron Biro: The Deleted Scenes (you can find the link on the website mentioned above). Music and film reviews (sorry to describe it in such few words), I personally submit to his lines on Taxidermia. On I had a really good time, must see all the Family Guy videos. is my personal champ in the ladies' blog category. I also ran today on 360 on the blog of a medicine student from Bucharest. I loved it. Read it for about one hour and a half. When I find it again, I must mention it. And the rest... explore.

I had a talk tonight about the blog vs. forum "competition". Which I think is kinda fake, especially since I expect that not everybody is either self-centered like me nor an opinion searcher like some of my neighbors. There is a little of this in any of us. In the end, I have a lot of fun on forums, in the rare occasions I get to visit one. One time I was searching for information on the chaos theory and I found a forum where some guys were talking such bullshit that even a five-years-old would laugh. Not to mention the very funny post that used to be on a women's magazine website about a girl worried she's had too much anal sex. And I guess my generation, who was reading the Q&A in Bravo about 6 or 7 years ago, when we didn't have forums to laugh at, knows how amazingly embarrassing the teenage mind can get. But I don't deny the role of forums. Just that I don't use them. In a way it's like what happens to a woman before she gives birth: she hears so many terrifying stories about childbirth that it's better not to know anything. When they speak about their problems, most people exaggerate. And I know somebody who was thinking she has cancer just because she was having the same symptoms as a girl who wrote on some forum. It turned out to be a simple infection. I know it's the one who is naive to believe everything, not the one who posts the story, but at least I've never seen a blog that makes you think you're too fat. Problem solved.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Go easy

Once upon a time there was a man who wanted to become a wise man. So he went to a buddhist teacher and asked him what to do to become like him. And the teacher said he should wait for one day and observe while he speaks to other people who come to him for advice. At the end of the day the man said that he didn't get an answer for his question. So the teacher took him to the garden and showed him a pine tree and an apple tree. The man still didn't understand what he's trying to say. So the buddhist teacher explained: "these trees have been sitting here in silence for years without asking themselves why one doesn't resemble the other. They are just different. Nobody can tell you how to become a wise man... you just start by being yourself, because it's the only thing you will ever really be able to do."

Saturday, March 3, 2007


What is it that makes me happy about the photography of Robert Doisneau? I've been trying to figure this out ever since I first saw his famous "Le Basier de L'Hotel de Vilne". There is something that makes you comfortable, and truly aware of your human condition, of how funny and fulfilling is to be a simple crazy person wondering on the streets of the city. Yeah, there is a lot to say. First, there ar all the "kiss" photos... of simple people who look like stars in '30s movies all because of being together in something our society generally calls love. Hehe. Even on this subject, Doisneau is "candide", both because overwhelming sexuality was not invented at that time, and because love was, as well as it will be 30-40 years later, the only answer to post-war problems (I keed). Then, there are the photos of children... but most of these children are poor and live in a world where playing still blindfolds them from despair. And some funny dogs, and some funny situations on the street... But what resides in most of the works of Doisneau is a feeling of loneliness that cannot be cured by temporary solutions like a kiss, a pet or even a child... the cellist will play alone on the rock and Picasso will look at his bread covered in spleen from head to toes. Try to speak of love, thoughts, playing, walking, crying... try to write about what it is like to be human in the modern world... I believe you need tens of volumes to say what resides in a Doisneau photograph. Because it's simple, just like that.