Friday, January 29, 2010


Yep, that's exactly where I am right now! That's south of Lisbon, Portugal. Tourist place like so many other you find in Southern Europe. The horizon line on the left of the photograph is the gate to the Atlantic Ocean. Here, we are pretty much the Far West with respect to the rest of Europe, including Ireland!  We are also time-wise on the UK time-zone. At 6:30 pm the sky is blue and there's still bright light overall. In Belgium they are lost in the dark by now, by at least a couple hours ago. Not here yet though.

I'm travelling back home tomorrow noon. It's been snowing there I'm told. Hope snow melts by the time I head to my village from Zaventem. We've been freaked out with snow this year so far. Climate warming  my ass. Heard this, Al?

Project meetings went well and we even had some time to walk around in town near the end of the day. Not much to see, mind you, other than old ruin houses on the brink of collapse. If an earthquake were to hit here, God forbid, welcome Haiti all over again. This place looks like a Georges Meis paradise. (Meis is a Greek photographer who shoots tourist posters with saturated colors and he's in love with ruins and buildings dissolving to earth.) He'd better come to Setùbal. Plenty of that around. Sanford & Son style. As I was wondering around in the narrow streets first day of arrival, with my point-'n-shoot, a fat dude got mad at me seeing me shooting the ruins and began harassing me in Setubal Portugese, which of course I get perfectly like I do... Mandarine Chinese! Not? I answered back in Greek to revenge the f@cker and he kept shouting at me in his fado misery until I vanished around the corner. What went wrong with that moron? Portugese folks are normally pretty sane people for as far as I know them. This freak was from another planet, seemed to me.

Click here to take a look at my shots of that day! Look how Setubal looks on an average afternoon of the week. If you like what you see, come here to spend some holidays. The place lives from the thousands of tourists like you and me. But take summer instead. Right now I'd stay away if I were you. Other than the blue skies, it's pretty miserable cold. Even for folks like me landing here from the North.

Hotel room, a reasonably descent space with the best spring mattress I had in ages, cost me 38 euros a night (well, that's a preferential rate offered to all of us from our project venue), but internet connection by Swisscom cost 13 euros per 24 hrs. Obscene Swiss busterds! Sucking Portugese blood away. Finally, great (fresh) fish restaurants in town costing you next to nothing. A huge grilled dorade we had this noon, of phenomenal size mind you, plus local antipasti to our heart's desire for two, with wine and water, all that for 48 euros. As good as 'free'.

I met José at noon today, an old colleague from the late nineties, early 2K. Was good to see him again. Looked even younger than ten years ago. Every time I've been here last few trips José was always there to spend a few hours with me and even pay me lunch and drinks! Good kid! The best! Besides, he's a big shot nowadays in the US software company he works for. I'm like, "which countries do you run these days, J?". He goes "All of them!". Eyes (mine) wide open! "The whole freakin' Europe?! OMG. Well done kid!". He smiles. "...but, I'm reporting to someone over the other side of the pond. I rather had a layer in between, you know..." I do, exactly what he means! Yankees raised to WW managers by their multinationals back in the States often think they know it all and come 'n tell us, miserable Europeans, that all that shit is the same everywhere. No difference between New Jersey and Luxembourg. Dream on dude! Like tiramisu bein' kinda same with creme brulé!

Back to my room and writing this blog. Apple is down 8 points! Ever since the iPad came out the market has been slaughtering them like pigs! No use worrying too much about that, however. They'll come back in a few days, sure thing. Great buying opportunity, if you asked me. Market correction on the make. I'll go continue reading Brown's 'lost symbol' instead, that I bought at the Brussels airport on my way here, to fall asleep amid his latest masonic intrigues! This dude really goes to great lengths to discover the source of few common things... like ties (cravats) etymologically (phonetically) originating from Croat warriors. And tattoos. Tell us somethin' we didn't know Danny boy!

1 comment:

Jose said...

Hi V.
It was really nice to catch up with you. It always is ... so come back any time and I will be here for another lunch (fish is always a safe choice).
This diary is pretty cool ... keeps you busy and honest even if you complain of having too much time.
Take care,