August 30, 2005


Can't really belive it's more than a month since i'm living in Lisboa. Time passed so quickly as if i had got here yesterday.

I could say that enough time passed for me to catch a glimpse of life in Portugal.
There are a lot of similarities between the Romanian and Portuguese cultures, way of being and life in general. But one of the most distinct differences is that people in portugal are a less stressed than back home, most probably because of the higher life standard. And the less stress you have, the calmer you take life in all it's aspects. Work begins here at around 10 in the morning. Perfect hour if u ask me, because I hate to get up early in the morning. It finishes late in the evening as late as 8 sometimes, but during that time there's the lunch break of one hour or so, and many other coffee brakes. And actually it's good mostly in the summer, staying in the cool, air conditioned office.
Most of the homes don't have air conditioned and in some hot days it gets difficult to live even at night. But this past month has been rather cool, rarely temperatures over 30 degrees. One saturday night i went with Marko, a colleague trainee at my company, from Slovenia, to other trainees' house for a barbecue which was really great. The house had a nice terace where they had the grill and a table with drinks. But it was sooo, cold, in the middle of july I could have sworn it was october. There were a lot of brazilians there, really friendly party people.

Another weekend I went in Alentejo region with Orlin, a trainee from Turkey, having bulgarian and turkish citizenship. His boss at the company he works for took us there. She's Chantal, a former aiesec-er from Canada, in her 40s, living in Portugal for 10 years. Really great person. She was such a young person, unlike most of the people her age, she seemed up to date with all the stuff, and had such a natural approach towards us, I mean not treating us like kids, or with a certain superiority as most older people do.
The beach is called praia do Malhau, a wonderfull portion of impecable sand betweend two cliffs entering into the ocean. Agua de un meravilhoso azul, and pure white foam of the waves stretching for a good couple of meteres on the wide beach, due to the noticeable tide of the Atlantic... it was almost surreal. There are such great places all over the shore of Portugal.

And the Alentejo region was incredibly pitoresque. Small fisherman villages or little port towns with carefully white painted houses with blue stripes at the bottom and windows, like in some disney cartoon. And distinctive chimneys all over the rooftops. This region was well preserved in front of the foreign tourist invasion, because most of them go further south in Algarve. Mostly portuguese people spend their holidays or 'feiras' here, and I understand why. It's so peacefull and calm. Vila Nova de Milfontes is one of these small towns of Alentejo. It's where a river (don't know it's name, but will update when i find out) meets the ocean, and it has a really beautiful medieval castle on the river's bank, with the moat and all. Too bad it was dry, and the crocodiles probably died a long while ago :p
Along the narrow streets of the town you would find a beautiful white church with a distinctive entrance, also typical to the region's architecture. In a roundup, I would say the whole town looked like a small pearl, so simple and yet so beautiful.