Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Portugal-England (2-1)

The reason for this title is that this year and for the first time, football has played a part in my life. For all my English readers, rest assured the the points I attributed to Portugal are for such trivial and personal reasons, and the point I attributed to England is for such an important one that in objective terms England is winning at this time. All will be explained!

So: it all started with me watching a full match for the first time. On tv of course, in the Sporting Clube of London, full of Portuguese people and some British as well. FC Porto won the Champions' League against Monaco and it was a good game and quite exciting. This year it apparently has won two other major cups.

I also had had a long conversation with my 10-year old brother Raul and of course him being a true Portuguese kid it was all about football. So I decided to buy him a ticket to the Euro 2004 as a birthday gift and ended seeing not one but two live football matches in June in Portugal. It was quite exciting being in Portugal at the time and all the Portuguese people were feeling very proud of their country, which considering the appalling state in which it was (and still is) was a big ray of sunshine. (Needless to say the English fans confirmed their reputation, although I think they were judged a bit unfairly.) This effect is being reproduced now in England: although the former Portuguese Prime Minister Durão Barroso is making a complete ass of himself as President of the European Parliament, the only Portuguese guy that the English people and media are talking about is Jose Mourinho who as coach of Chelsea FC seems to be doing a very good job.

I now still have to see a live football match in England but that seems to be already on the cards. The last football experience I had links nicely with the whole Portugal vs England thing. It starts with my housemates in England stating that one of the main criteria for a new female housemate was that she wouldn't talk during football games. Bearing this important insight into male brains in mind I was mousy quiet while watching a bit of a football match in Portugal with some (male Portuguese) friends. While the other girls were getting ready I was watching football with the guys (!!!). But I did eventually go to my room to put on same make-up just to reassure myself. Anyway, in a room with 4 or 5 guys, I was the only one NOT talking. All my lovely Portuguese colleagues spent the whole time commenting on the game! :) :) Bless. Of course they focused more on kinds of kicks, whereas I would focus more on kinds of trainers or hairstyles. But then Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't playing...

A sad conlusion I have drawn from this otherwise amusing event is that after 3 years in England, besides getting more and more confused about British men, I now no longer understand Portuguese ones either. But anyway, a year full of football insights!

Ok! Ok! I'm getting to the goals!

Portugal 1 - I went to a supermarket in a shopping mall just before Christmas. It's part of an international chain. In the fruit section they were selling 6 different kinds of apples. They all came from Portugal. Yes!!! Those of you who know this particular gripe of mine and how annoyed I get about only finding apples from New Zealand in English supermarkets will understand. If you believe in global economy and market rules, bear in mind that fruit and vegetables transported over long ditances has less nutritional value than ones that come at least from the same continent.

England 1 - From the 23rd to the 26th of Dec, 9 people were killed in road accidents in Portugal. This would be the equivalent to 54 in Great Britain. During the whole of the year more than a 1000 were killed, and this number will surely rise until the actual end of the year. This Christmas season 400 people were caught driving over the legal drink limit, 120 were detained as they were over 1.2g/l (this is more than double the limit). I have quite a few friends whose best friends were killed in their 20s in road accidents and last time I looked it was the major cause of death for men in the 20-40 age range. (In England it's suicide, but let's gloss over that). It's just silly.

Portugal 2 - Buying roast chestnuts in a street corner around 8pm. Wrapped in an old newspaper (ok not a torn out sheet from the old yellow pages like it should be, but anyway), the proper ones, that are roasted unpeeled on live coals. There's all the old tradition thing and there's the fact that you can buy a freshly cooked snack on the streets that doesn't have any added sugar or fat. Of course in my case I buy them whether I'm hungry or not, so this last rational reason doesn't really hold.

So this all adds up to my season's message: may you have a lot of lovely things to eat and drive safely!

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Partied out

Got a cold from going to several different Xmas parties the last 2 days. Besides the social effort of trying to catch up with people I only see one a year, and most of them family, I also had to range from a house where the temperature must have been around 10degrees to a house where it's 25 degrees in less than 24hours, with several houses (and temperatures) in between.

Friday, December 24, 2004


I don't really want to make an introduction. I'd rather just that this blog be like Adam's navel, created to appear as if it's been going for ever. So if you can't see previous posts, this is obviously a fault of your computer and you haven't installed the latest software ('capacity for abstract thinking. v. western civilization year 2004').

Speaking of which in case you are puzzled by the name, you should brush up on your hindu mythology. Try:


The princess part will not be explained, you can rest assured that there is a reason.

So let´s get started! pardon, I meant let's continue!