Portuguesa

everyone has a sandy story. couch surfing at the homes of people with power. driving an hour just to get gas. not flushing. basically being amish. course my sandy story is it spritzed every day in portugal. not enough to open an umbrella, but just enough to frizz the hair. basically, i felt your pain from the other side of the atlantic.

i’ve spent the week driving around the portuguesa countryside. and it’s full of old people. geriatric old. cause all the youngins escaped to the glamor of the city, leaving behind all these old beautiful abandoned buildings. translation, a photographer’s dream. until i wandered into a decrepit farmhouse to photograph the insides. what’s inside an abandoned, decrepit farmhouse? a skull, of course. no body. just the head. and yes, that was the first & last time i stopped at an abandoned, decrepit farmhouse in the portuguesa countryside.

the most magical night in this country happened in a village of only 90 inhabitants near the spanish border. of those 90 inhabitants, only 4 were kids. again, overpopulation of the geriatric variety. and they were all cousins.
apparently.
supposedly.

they invited us to their village celebration for saint martin. portuguesa village celebrations start at sundown, consisting of massive amounts of pork, roasted chestnuts, a giant bonfire to roast said chestnuts, arroz duce (sweetened wheat pudding), music, folk dancing & the local version of moonshine wine.

we were the stars of the party for the villagers had never met americans before. men who were married for 40+ years said if they knew two new yorker women were going to come to the village, they would never have gotten married. i got no less than 3 marriage proposals with possibilities of other options for some of the available men were not in attendance. too bad they were all geriatric & missing teeth. otherwise, this village could be the solution for all my single girlfriends.

alas, i’m in the twilight of my portuguesa days, sitting in a café right now sipping my chocolate quente (hot chocolate), eating my 26th pastry of the fortnight on a cobblestone street in lisboa before i board a plane back home tomorrow. it has been a lovely adventure, made possible from my days photographing in haiti which turned into a gallery exhibit in lisboa.

speaking of photographs & haiti (smooth segue, huh?), did you all get a chance to donate to the photography workshop i’m holding for 25 kids in haiti? it’s not too late to give, give, give! and if you have already, many many OBRIGADAS to you & don’t forget to tell all your friends to donate as well.

click here to become my new best friend…
www.indiegogo.com/viewfinderworkshop

obrigada

finally decided to jet off to a foreign land where i don’t need to pack bug spray, 100 SPF sunscreen or my malaria pills. what could such a destination be? portugal, of course. but why portugal specifically? glad you asked. because the gallery that wants to be the first to exhibit my photographs of haiti is in lisbon. lisboa to the natives.

coolest moment of the opening reception for my show…a random woman says she loves this & points to a piece on the wall. the gallery owner giggles & says “that’s my favorite photograph too & here’s the artist.” & she gestures to me. M-E. ME.

then of course, the random woman wants a pic of me, her & the photograph. cause after all, i’m now a famous artiste. i respond with “you’re so funny” & strike a pose. at the end of the night, when i say goodbye to said random woman with two cheek kisses (cause after all, i’m european famous), she looks me square in the eye & says “why you say i’m funny?”

crap. crap. crap.
note to self…TRY not to insult the patrons of a gallery with my americanism.
kinda obvious.
but apparently, not totally obvious.

my time in haiti speaking a weird french / creole / english hybrid is screwing with my ability to communicate with all non-native english speakers. i say MERCI (french) to spanish flight attendants. GRACIAS (spanish) to portuguese taxi drivers. THANK YOU (english, duh) to ticket collectors at tourist traps. and occasionally OBRIGADA (portuguese) to a portuguese-but-speaks-fluent-english waiter. which gets me into trouble because then he fires off rapid portuguese menu options. to which i can only offer the ubiquitous, dumbfounded HUH? response. i did say ARIGATO (japanese) to an indian shopkeeper in lisboa.

now you’re wondering why the japanese. esp since i’ve never been to japan & the only other japanese word i know is sushi. apparently, when the portuguese ruled the seas 500 years ago, they were the first westerners to land in japan, who was so welcoming of the foreigners, they adopted obrigado, the portuguese thank you, into their own, arigato.

speaking of haiti & photographs, did you donate to the photography workshop i’m having there with 25 kids? there’s still time. every little bit helps. every big bit helps even more.
just click here for your good deed of the day. http://www.indiegogo.com/viewfinderworkshop

merci / gracias / thank you / obrigada / arigato in advance!