Monthly Archives: February 2009

Sick and poor in Paris

I’m now officially sick and weak with it. It is very bad timing for me since this is my very last week in Paris. Not that I intended to do a lot more of sightseeing or go partying wildly (there is no money for that anyways), but it would have been nice to have at least some energy to say goodbye to people in a proper manner…

(illustration by Whitney Sherman)

Sick (illustration by Whitney Sherman)

 I know it’s not chic to be sick but it is even worse to be ill and poor inParis. I had some wonderful plans about a luscious farewell party with celebrities, models, designers, musicians and a first class French buffet and now it’s all just what it has actually always been: a dream.

Nevertheless, the campaign is still on: Give me ideas for making quick money (donations also encouraged) and thou shalt be sent to heaven.

You would just have to wait and see.

Make her words mine

Some people love to be around others all the time, especially when they travel. They like to share bills, meals, opinions and different kinds of thrills. These people usually don’t enjoy visiting places and looking at interesting sites on their own as much as they do when they’re accompanied. I am not one of them.

I am capable of having a wonderful time all by myself. I visit the places I like at my pace (which isn’t necessarily fast, for I enjoy greatly spending a little extra time in a place I like), I go into stores only when I am going to buy something – or if they’re of interest themselves, I listen to my music, stop to read and sometimes just spend a whole afternoon in a café with a nice atmosphere.

Having what is commonly referred to as a ‘strong personality’, I sometimes suffer when I’m around some kinds of people (I was going to say they probably suffer  too, but I refuse to believe it can be true). Today I was forced to listen that I am “possessive and bossy”. How unpleasant.

Couples and friends traveling together, do bear in mind that a little time apart from each other, even if it’s just a couple of hours, greatly increases the chances of a happy tour ending. That’s my advice for you. Well, actually many people have said it too, but somehow – and to my shock – it isn’t yet common sense.

When asked about the secret to her long-lasting marriage, the lovely Meryl Streep once said:

[the secret is] “not spending so much time together. And separate bathrooms.”

 True true true.

Not that I don’t enjoy company, I do and very often, I just need my space. To that effect, here’s some Björk wisdom:

My favorite sentence: “As much as I definitely enjoy solitude, I wouldn’ mind, perhaps, spending little time with you“. Make mine her words.

Bibliothèque, Lachapelle and axé

What a nice afternoon we had today. After almost being driven mad by my full-of-shallow-subjects and übertalkative roommate, I decided to go for a walk or maybe find a place to read something – I was in desperate need of some depth and some piece and quiet as well.

As usual, I went for the most designed pleasant reading space in Paris, the Bibliothèque d’information of the Pompidou Center. It is beautiful, incredibly clean-looking and very comprehensive book-wise. It is for free (you have to pay to use quite some libraries in Paris), open until late in the evening and it welcomes everybody.

With my mind recharched with my favorite cerebral stimulating subjects (Semitic and Indo-European languages for today) I felt I was ready for something a little less brainy but just as equally important: a little bit of color from David Lachapelle‘s latest exhibition.

Alek Wek for Lachapelle
Alek Wek for David Lachapelle

It was called a “Retrospective’ of his work, and I went expecting to see some of his very first works as well, as the title implied. Unfortunately  there wasn’t much of that phase, there were mostly famous pictures taken by him which most of us had already seen. Put me in a cross and write RNRI on top of it, but I just feel that his latest works lack a bit of creativity and freshness – a very strong I’ve-seen-it-all-before sensation struck as I looked at those pictures. Maybe I’m also on a very puritan period of my opinion-making, but isn’t there anything else other than sex and religion to shock people?

My word du jour: newness.
And for my beloved friends in Brazil (Lachapelle’s strong colors reminded me of it): have a great Carnaval! I’ll be sipping some champagne and eating French cheese with the thought of all of you. Muito axé!

Back to Paris

Whenever I travel and have to come back to Paris an enormous influx of mixed feelings falls upon me. Do I really enjoy living here? Is it really that great? I know everyone expects me to just adore it and talk about how wonderful it is to live in the city of flashing lights, but that’s just not how I feel most of the time.

Yes, it is pretty. And that’s pretty much all there is to it. (I’m sorry if I have just destroyed somebody’s dream).

I am positive I won’t be the first person to state that Parisians are not nice or friendly, although I’ve learned to recognize that some of them are really cool.

Luckily for me, this time I’m really feeling good about being back. And I won’t let any type of French bad mood get to me. To help me accomplish that I shall visit the exposition of David Lachapelle which is on as I write. Bright colors always cheer one up, or is it night liquor?

Paris as I'd like to remeber it

Paris as I'd like to remember it: sunny

I’ll let the city show me.

Peace, death, Pope

I was trying to write a really witty brainy post on how great it was to see an exhibition of Thomas Ruff today, but there are just so many people around me at the moment it is virtually impossible to concentrate.

Is it normal/legal to wish nice folks would drop dead so you could have some piece of mind?

God, I do feel I was cursed by the Pope’s gaze last week because I keep getting these unwelcome feelings of guilt.

Get behind me, Benedict.

Beauty’s in the eye of the blind

It is funny how some things have an influence in our lives and we don’t even notice them until you are faced with a different reality.

I don’t consider myself a religious person and I can’t really say I care much about Christian morals but surprisingly my point of view about some things seems to be strangely full of Catholic ideas.  Take nudity for instance.

I still think it’s a little awkward to be surrounded by naked people in public places, such as a thermal bath, a beach, sauna and the likes. To me being naked is sort of only ok when it is a sex situation. (Did somebody hear the word procriation? Good, because neither did I).

So today I couln’t help but feeling embarrassed when I went to this thermal bath here in Budapest where a lot of (old) guys where wearing only a small piece of cloth covering their frontal private parts. I just thought “this would never be ok in Brazil”. How Catholic of me!

Maybe I was cursed by the Pope’s gaze after I saw him in Rome, or maybe I’m just being too hard on myself. Well, to be honest, old guys naked are usually a little disgusting on my tired  eye balls.

Yes, aesthetics, not Catholicism. I have to keep that in mind.

When in Rome, if you’re poor

Do as the Catholic church: try to get money from all the sources possible. I was shocked to see the number of stores, stalls and the works selling all kinds of Vatican souvenirs and memorabilia. I am not kidding. There was a souvenir shop halfway up Saint Peter’s Basilica. I couldn’t help but wonder: Didn’t Jesus throw away the vendors who were doing commerce inside the Temple? How oblivious of the Pope.

To me, the best shocking thing about the consummeristic connection between faith and money is the 2009 Calendario Romano. It is a calender sold everywhere in which for every month there is a picture of a handsome young priest. Call me a church-goer pervert, but what on earth is the purpose of such pictures? Smart people should do the math: good-looking people hanging on the wall + luscious looks + right hand = ?

The Catholic church is indeed changing.

The start

So finally I started to write a sort of a version of my blog in English after so many people begged me for it. What is really true, though, is that this way many of my non Portuguese-speaking friends will be able to read my stuff.

I promise I will try to keep it as updated as possible; and that shall be my less than 10th new year’s resolution for 2009. I truly thrive in optimism.

As Queen Latifah once said in one of my favorite deliciously silly movies: “make me international”.