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Lagos, Portugal

Sunday, March 10th, 2002


Bob was hell-bent on going to Lagos, a resort area on the south coast of Portugal thinking it would be a nice break from the cold wind and one and two star hotel rooms. I resisted-thinking it would take three precious days away from either Provence France or Italy both of which I was really looking forward to. But the tour boss-guide won out and we took the bus and spent two nights in a cold and windy tourist-town.

As we got off the bus a lady from the small town cornered Bob and off we went following her to her apartment house-Residential Samana-no breakfast but nice big room with WC, shower and bidet and french doors opening onto a large balcony and internet around the corner. I spent a whole day in a bar writing the last travelogue while Bob jogged up the coast to a lighthouse. Before we left we had our whole wardrobe laundered and bought bread, cheese, ham and apples at a market for the bus trip to Seville Spain.

European Popular Culture

Saturday, March 9th, 2002

Most days in Europe you would see at least once a wonderful display of affection between two young people-playful and sensuous-mostly kissing-but never offensive. And then they walk on as if nothing had happened. Bob finds it uncomfortable…but no one else on the street seems to pay any attention to it at all. Portugal is a bit more restrained…the play, Vagina Monologues, advertised all over Britain and France but is no where to be seen in Spain and Portugal.

In the urban centers you see beautiful people with beautiful clothes (and in Paris the women smelled wonderful as they passed you by on the street) so I caved in and made my first purchase-some perfume not exported by France. Women love sweaters. Fully 2-3 out of all people under 40 wear black leather jackets and often the women are in full length ones. Clothing is very expensive so you know these folks have a little money. In Salamanca, especially on the weekend, early evenings reveal mostly older couples strolling through the streets and in the town square dressed as if they were going to the opera-women in very expensive cloth coats and men in perfectly pressed slacks and jackets with tie-often pushing a stroller with what apparently is the grandchild. They eat dinner between 8pm and 11pm. Then the older folks disappear and the streets become filled with the young. I marveled at what appeared on the surface to be an ideal small village society focused around the family and at the center a cultural center (plaza) where everyone could go and socialize.

Many young women who have good figures seem to get up in the morning and pour themselves into their jeans (a la mons pubis) before they go out-the younger ones in faded ones with the hem rolled up six inches-jeans I mean. Levi Jeans are very popular as well as levi jackets. On the way from Paris to Bayonne we had a three hour layover in Bordeaux so we ate lunch at an outdoor cafe-four people had on levi jackets. Btw, levi material was invented by the Levi Strauss company in a small city nearby. American companies in San Francisco imported the strong material in the 1800’s to sell to workers in the gold mines and on the docks…and the material came to be associated with America.

The Proletariat
After a few days in the city centers, we go looking for the working class. In Paris, the Belleville section was the most colorful and interesting. There are also Muslim and African neighborhoods. In Paris there are no green men with green brooms in these neighborhoods. The subways are full of piss and the streets full of litter. Guess they dn’t expect the tourists to go to these

Lisbon reputedly is the gay-lesbian capital of Europe but don’t know why it would be Lisbon. People are generally very kind in Spain and Portugal. Lots of people of African extract in Portugal and they often flash big wonderful smiles!

Continuing saga of the internet: went searching for the internet in Lisbon. An Austrian woman was waiting her turn to pay a $12 deposit which gets returned to you when you are finished. I told her about my internet saga in France and she laughed and laughed. I mentioned that I thought that the French “attitude” was a big act because it was so exagerated. Surprisingly she agreed and said that the French were known all over Europe for it and that no one takes it seriously. So I guess I won’t either.

Spain and Portugal play movies with original language and add their own subtitles. Hilarious, is to see an American made movie in France with George Clooney speaking French!

United Colors of Benneton everywhere. Starbucks on every corner in London but not a one in France, Spain and Portugal-god love them! Actually it would devestate hundreds of local cafes that really are at the heart of the culture of these countries.

Even though most of the little shops and banks and restaurants close down in the afternoon 1-4 in Spain and 1-3 in Portugal, the modern shopping mall businesses stay open. Whole countries of people disappear off the streets during these hours!


Saturday, March 9th, 2002
pjSwKsKjPzr5gOYYAx9PKM-2006172115844514.gif Roosters are symbols of Portuguese culture so we felt that it was appropriate that after staying one night in a boring part of Lisbon, Portugal in a hotel room offered to us by a ... [Continue reading this entry]