To Alex and Maria

Not living up north has it's downturns, like missing out on Maria and Alex's "say bye bye to single life and hello to future married life" party.
From what I heard it was a surprise and of course I kept my part. But I also heard she cried of joy (and I bet he also cried of joy on the inside). And there was a treasure hunt, a yellow mexican shirt, an accordion sfrench song, a home baked cake and friends.
But this wasn't a real bachelor party because after they actually get married, everything will be exactly the same: they'll still love each other, still argue about stupid  stuff, still be there for each other, still want to hang out with us unmarried people, still buy cool sunglasses and put up posters on their walls and leave pretty thank you notes. You see, Maria and Alex aren't your average couple because after Saturday they'll still be Maria and Alex and so much more ....... and that's why I love them so much.
Wasn't there tonight, but won't miss Saturday for certain.

# 54 pinhole

While everyone else was embracing red carnations, holding up protest signs and singing Grandola Vila Morena, I was looking for the perfect spot to settle my pinhole camera. In Portugal, the 25th of April is national holiday in memory of the revolution, but for the rest of the world it’s International Pinhole Day.

Paper negative pinhole of the Avenida da Liberdade made with my tin can camera. (55 sec.)

Paper positive. The roundness of the can produces this 180º effect. This was my first shot and one of the most sharpest images of the whole afternoon.

The workshop was promoted by Movimento de Expressão Fotográfica who supplied the cameras, paper and darkroom. I brought along my tin can pinhole camera I had made about a year ago.
Pinhole is not new to me, but the cameras they supplied were extremely well crafted and hold medium format paper and I had never printed out pinhole images as big as these. I do have my very own pinhole made from an apple juice box which is always interesting to see people's reactions when I am photographing with it. Next I'm going to make one out of a match box. But my true goal is to have one like the ones we used during the workshop.
I had a great time and met some interesting people who are also very passionate about analogical photography, a rare thing nowadays...

Paper negative of the Comunist Party headquarters (where the workshop took place) made by a pinhole camera (1min 45 sec.)

Paper positive

Paper negative from tin can pinhole of the parade. The blurry effect are people walking down the avenue. (2 min.)

Paper negative with pinhole camera (5 min.)

Specific stuff

Loja Pariense. Arquivo Muncipal de Lisboa - Arquivo Fotográfico

The past few days, after work I have been going to the Baixa shopping for very specific things. In fact, this it’s the only place in Lisboa where you can find “very specific” stuff:
“Hi, there! I’m looking for this very specific thing. Do you have it?”
“Yes. We have it in all shapes and sizes and in ten different colors. Do you want it gift wrapped?”
It’s a whole different approach to shopping, more interactive, personalized and social!
I remember in Viana every Friday afternoon was to visit the market and shop for whatever was necessary for that weekend. I used to know shop owners by their name and my mom and I would spend hours in one place chatting while trying to pick out the best brand of detergent or socks.
But even though it’s an amazing place to shop the truth is this form of traditional commerce isn’t very user friendly: some shops close during lunch time and the rest all close at 7 o’clock. They simply don’t adjust opening hours to working hours, were most people get of between 6 and 7. I find myself almost jogging my way to the Baixa before closing hours. And they shop owners complain about shopping malls ... of course everyone goes “malling” they’re opened until late night.
Even so, I hope to be needing more specific stuff just to be able to return and shop some more.
Because of these ventures to the Baixa, I’ve discovered this beautiful candy spot and I’m dying to sink my teeth into one of these.

# 14 plant an oak tree

Yesterday I planted and oak tree, more precisely a quercus robur L. My little sister Luisa would be proud.
But not just any oak tree, a centennial treeplanted in the 100th year  comemoration of the portuguese republic, planted on the 18th of April, International Day for Monuments and Sites.
A tree to last at least another 100 years.  
It's a tiny acorn in a plastic vase which requires special treatment in the next six months: shade and plenty of water. But this isn't just any oak tree, this is my tree, one I intend to transplant later on in my parents fields and mabey, when I am old, carve my name on it and take a nap under it's shade.

spicey saturday night dinner

what a lovely site:
Z learned a new portuguese phrase: "És boa como o milho" after learning "a minha pila é maior que a tua" from the previous dinner;
Paula, Luisa and I caught up on our hilarious folklore memories;
Pedro got a new funcky hair-do for the weekend;
I hope Beta didn't have any digestion problems (sorry);
Diogo ate his first pork curry;
Ricardo brought the beer and his witty sense of humour;
and we finally met Luis... hope he didn't think we were all a bit odd!!

I don't need chocolate. Being with you is it's own reward.

Welcome to canyoning in Gerês!

This was my third time canyoning and I really enjoy it, mostly because of the wonderful landscape, the water and being in the great outdoors, in inaccessible places with really kind guys who look out for me! And also because it puts me to the test: know thy fears and then forget about them…

The river Saltadouro was over flooded (about 2m higher than recommended) and water was violently gushing its way through the river bed. Not a pretty site when this is still novelty to me. So then the “supreme council for canyoning” (Pedro, João, João Paulo) convened to decide upon our ventures into white waters. The decision was to proceed with caution!! And so we did.

Our limit was a spot when the river suddenly narrowed to a point where we if went ahead and couldn’t turn back or climb our way out. So the guys decided to have some fun and try out a different rapelling tecnique (which I haven't the slightest idea what it's called!!).
After ridiculously insisting with Pedro I wasn't going to go… I went. Of course his insistence on how easy and fun it was helped a lot. And it was an amazing feeling!

I want more.....

still waiting...

Just discovered this spiritually uplifting blog. (gracias to Liliana)
It's like meds for the mind and heart.
This is my today's "things not to forget" cause I'm still waiting... chiça!!!

Knock knock
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad it's Wednesday!

Between last night’s dancing, this morning’s rise and shine and that sweet peanut butter cup treat… today I feel great!

Lavadouro da Madragoa

Our first summer in Portugal was memorable for many reasons: we started living in our house that had this unique smell of not being used in years, my parents drove our old Citroen Visa with tartan seats, everyday there was a picnic on the beach and our washing machine burnt. This meant hand washing all our clothes during that summer.
I recall morning get togethers with our washing tank before hitting the beach. Soaking clothes in cold water and natural soap, scrubbing and spreading them out to sun bleach, (which, in my opinion is the best way to remove stains).
Before a delicious lunch with Carla today, she showed me a hidden part of rural Lisbon I didn’t know still existed. I feel I am in debt with her!!
Lavadouro da Madragoa is a community washing tank. A place where anyone who wants to rediscover the countryside, hand wash a bit of clothing and read a book while it all sun dries can go to relax. It’s also a quiet and refreshing place to be, with an amazing view of the city and a small orchard.
So Carla, when will we tie a scarf around our heads, wear a proper apron and do laundry together??

one month to go

One month to go!!
Now, my only doubt is:
hearts are nice...
and they decided to go with the dog!

After work geocaching

What to do after work? How about geocache!
On my route home there are 4 hidden caches and today I found 2 of them: both very small and interesting.
The first one is actually called "Assembleia da República", how does that sound?! The hint for it was "tighten your laces near the hole, under the window". One thing I've learned is that Lisbon's architecture is full of holes!! After a bit of pacing, trying not to look suspicious, I found the little container and, fighting against my enthusiastic nature, tried not to make a big fuss.

The second cache was extremely small hidden under a fire hydrant in a tiny magnet container: so sweet!

The third is around Rua do Salitre and I'm leaving it for another day.
But the fourth is hard! For 3 days now, as I head home I have been trying to find the cache named "Amália". It's not an easy one. It's supposed to be in an obvious place 2m high but the problem is the people that pass by and those on the bus stop that stare at me wondering what the hell am I doing pacing up and down the street touching the walls, water pipes, holes, reaching for balconies and pulling on electrical wires. I'm going to need a gps for this one.