Jan 2, 2013

Observations on Portugal

These were originally presented as a submission for the "Things that make you go hmmm" segment of the Nod 'n' Smile blog. As that section is now defunct, I present it to you here:

1) Some might not be aware the Occupy movement originally had its roots in Spain. It extended to Portugal with many Spaniards crossing the border lending their solidarity, later inspiring action from Wall Street to London. The mix of culture, weather and youth unemployment makes Spain and its wallet-friendly neighbor Portugal popular destinations for the Bohemian and hippy set.

Dog People
2) Like people, Countries can be divided into "Cat people" or "Dog people". Turkey would be a cat person and Portugal would be a dog person. Some of these pictures even show how the dogs look much like their owner.

Qualidade de Vida
3) One of the locals at my Lisboa hotel described the Brazilian influence in Portugal as an "invasion". They usually come in the form of Erasmus students and expats looking for an agreeable gateway into Europe. The Portugese would accuse the Brazilians of being hedonistic and unserious whilst Brazilians complained the Portugese were cold and less attractive. As a traveler I was blissfully removed from the cultural politics and had the luxury of enjoying the awesomeness of both nationalities.

4) I've always viewed Street Art as a cultural touchstone, its acceptance and quality can sometimes speak volumes about the place and its people. Lisboa has commissioned several world-famous murals from artists like Blu and Os GĂȘmeos

War on Tourism
5) Hmmm. Never did get to the bottom of this. A cursory search on the interwebs shows that its been tagged since at least 2005. I found the Portugese to be a proud and open people, I've received generous hospitality but have been correctly humbled when I was being an obnoxious guest.

Animal Farm
6) Animal treatment that makes you go hmmm. As you go away from the big cities you might find markets stocking animals in a way that you might not agree with. I like the fisherman above cuz it looks like he just caught his new hairpiece.

Dazed and Confused
7) At the start of the school year, Freshman are publically hazed around Portugal. It culminates in a huge party, with the biggest events found in Porto and the student town of Coimbra. The hazing students are dressed in Harry Potter-like costumes with badges.

- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (1 of 3)
- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (2 of 3)
- Tudo Bom: The first 3 days in Portugal (3 of 3)
- Portugal: Eat - Fine Food with Friends
- Portugal: Pray - Saints and Sinners
- Portugal: Love - Portugal sure is warm!
- Trigger: "Qualidade de Vida" in 'Casa dos Gauchos', Porto
- Trigger: Ego Tripping in Portugal - Sintra, Obidos, Ericeria, Coimbra