Πέμπτη, 23 Απριλίου 2009

Trips, part II

Lisboa is every bit as unkempt and uneven as Athens. There are old stone houses with rose gardens below the concrete bridges and faded white marble monuments scattered around the city streets. The train stations are functional half-ruins, the actual trains splattered with graffity and moving about like noisy snakes, constantly switching levels on the mess of hills, fields and industrial areas that make up the city. However, there's a difference in how the air of the city weighs in on the people inhabiting it. In Lisboa, traffic jams do not vibrate with discontentment and people of a color different than white walk with the smile of belonging there.

The Portuguese are, apparently, very fond of sweet treats, especially of the baked kind. In every stone-cobbled corner, you can see the shiny metallic tables of a "Pastelaria", the rather peculiar word for "candy shop" in portuguese. It sounds rather peculiar when you put the accent on la, anyway.

Δευτέρα, 20 Απριλίου 2009

Trips, part I

Some stories linger needlessly for some time after their epilogue. Identify them for what they are: stories that are over and no longer significant.

Choices and opportunities in life are like food. You don't have to eat all that is offered to you, some of it may even be bad for you, and, in order to eat what you want you may have to ask for it. Only then will you be able to enjoy your meals and maintain a semblance of control. Likewise, in life, if you only take whatever comes your way, you will only succeed in collecting an array of random experiences, which will inevitably shape you into something unpredictable. You have to select from the opportunities presented and pursue what you want instead of waiting for it to bump into you.

On the brighter side, travelling with the plane today was fun. We flew over Corfu, Italy, the Alps, Switzerland. There was still some iced snow left in the creases of even the most hill-like of mountains. I've never seen mountains so green before - it's a hue I didn't know existed. Geneva looked pretty from above, small houses with red roofs and flowers on the window panes. I got to try chocolate with pieces of lime inside. Actually, it even had traces of apple and pineapple, but it looked greenish like lime, like the mountains, come to think about it. I kept the package. Mom didn't give me a strange enough look when I fawned over absinthe-filled chocolate snacks. Ignorance IS bliss.

On the journey from Geneva to Lisboa, the view through the clouds looked positively Alladinian. You know, the part where he and Jasmine fly through Arabia's night sky and sing of discovering the world together.

Journey was pretty much hassle free - thanks to the practical bags and to the appropriate clothing. With only a jacket to carry around, I didn't have to parade like a trademark tourist with several blouses and overcoats tied at the waist. I also didn't get to experience the upmost humiliation of taking my shoes off at passenger control. It is a pity really, I had matching socks on this time.

Παρασκευή, 3 Απριλίου 2009

The kite looked like a disintegrated corpse hanging from the telephone wires

Writers tend to elaborately describe the features of the characters that belong to a certain ideal. A woman will have gracious, elegant hands and a man will have strong and muscled arms. No man will ever be described as having a thin wrist, unless it's to show how poor and hungry he is or if he's somebody weak, just before he is victimized. Describing only what one finds attractive and in tune with archetypes leaves out so much, it encapsulates the character instead of freeing him, giving birth to another stereotype that always feels the same to read.