Saturday, October 31, 2009

Walking in the city

Today a friend invited me to participate in something called “Halloween scavenger hunt”. Halloween is not a Portuguese tradition, although there is a religious holiday called “All Saints' Day” on the first of November. In some villages there is the tradition of children going from door to door saying “Pão-por-Deus” or “Bread by God”. They usually knock at the door and say:

"Pão por Deus,
Fiel de Deus,
Bolinho no saco,
Andai com Deus."

“Bread by God,
Faithful of God,
Cookie in the bag,
Go with God.”

As I and his girlfriend were the only people to show up, we decided to have a nice chat together with a hot cup of coffee. We ended up taking a walk in the streets of Lisbon, watching the night lights. The city lights in Lisbon are a truly spectacular sight. Also, the city has acquired the nice habit of putting Christmas lights in streets of down town Lisbon. At this time the lights are still being assembled, but each year offers a different light show, providing the Christmas spirit that the city deserves.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The metro

Riding the metro in Lisbon has huge advantages. Apart from some annoying technical problems, the metro in Lisbon is a very nice means of transportation, and from my point of view, far better than the bus. The metro network extends over a wide area of Lisbon, and is constantly growing. One of the nicest things about each new station is that they are built like a work of art, and it is difficult to find new stations that are alike others previously built.

There are however some peculiar behaviors of Portuguese passengers:

- You will often see people laughing while running to catch the metro as the doors close down. Even if they are caught between closing doors, they will laugh about it.

- An increasing number of Portuguese metro passengers live under the assumption that if they block the carriage doors and prevent other people from coming out, they will be able to enter the train. This is also the cause of what I like to call “The bulldozer effect”, which is the same as to say that some passengers get out of carriage without any regard for other people in front of them, and open their way by crashing into them.

- No matter how full a carriage may get, there are a few select people that strongly believe they can get in anyway.

- There are always people begging for money. Some of them i have watched collecting money for seven years, and it is practically their way of life now.

Portuguese people are rather open to other people, so if you are a tourist and need help on the metro, look for a young person (a low percentage of elderly people speak English, but you are welcome to try) and it is very likely that he/she will help a friendly tourist.

Sunday, October 25, 2009