Friday, 29 April 2011

on the road: hamble

29 apr 2011

Hamble is a small village located 6.2 miles southeast of Southampton. its official name is Hamble-le-Rice. there was aircraft centre in hamble during ww ii for planes.

we walked around the village, by the water front at river hamble, had an ice cream, and were headed to the hamble common. there were many people at the pubs and at the Common celebrating the royal wedding. after that we walked in the other direction, towards the port hamble marina, where we found many beautiful and expensive yachts.

river hamble is home to sailing yachts, and all types of recreational boating and motorboats. They have a school of yachting there. i was much impressed by the boat taxi and the ferry to warsash, another small village just to the other side of the river. if the boat takes you from one river bank to the other it is a ferry. so far i had only the idea of a ferry as in the large ferry boats which go to the isle of wight or the one i took once from salvador to itaparica, in bahia, brazil.

the small and beautiful village is very close to southampton. it is a nice place to spend a couple of hours walking around. in the summer the village attracts many tourists to enjoy the water.

i will

29 apr 2011

my tv is still not working. i watched the royal wedding at mike's place, and found the official protocol for the ceremony very beautiful. i was impressed to see various members of the church celebrating the wedding. i loved the sermon the bishop of london made. he said many important and true things about marriage and how every wedding is a royal one for the groom and the bride are the king and the queen at the occasion; and that this represents the beginning of a new life, which will flow through them. it was moving.

it is the Church of England, not a Catholic Church, but in my ignorance i was surprised to see them say Our Father prayer, which for me was Catholic only. maybe it is a Christian prayer. the bride was astonishingly beautiful and elegant. the groom looked concentrated, very handsome and and nothing nervous. Kate and William looked very much connected to each other.

they had nearly 2,000 guests for the ceremony at the church. then, 650 guests for the reception at Buckingham palace afterwards; and even fewer guests for the evening reception at clarence house, offered by Prince Charles. Kate and William are now the Duchess and the Duke of Cambridge and will live in Wales, where he works.

i took many photos from the tv screen while watching the wedding and chose this one because it shows another sample of the protocol they follow: when they pass by the Cenotaph, William does the military salute and Kate lowers her head, in respect to the war soldiers. the Cenotaph is a monument and represents an empty tomb in honour of the people who died and whose remains are elsewhere, i.e. soldiers from a war.

that was i, witnessing history.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

groupon pizza

27 apr 2011

thank you so much fo the groupon voucher, ines. we went to chambers and had the two pizzas, two portions of chips and two drinks. mike and i liked the drinks best. we both found the pizzas a bit hard, but not too bad, and ate them all. it was a fantastic present and we are very very thankful to you for thinking of us for your voucher. we had a great time at chambers. this was the first time i made use of the groupon voucher, a great idea for both customers and sellers, i believe. it was our first time at this pub. it had quite a few people eating with the voucher, which has apparently been a big success. in brazil 'groupon' is called 'compra coletiva'. oh the internet and its endless possibilities.

Monday, 25 April 2011

alo, cambio

25 apr 2011

alo, cambio, nene
- vida - ferias - vinda- medos - belezas - viagem - sol - memorias - saudades - familia - ida - mar - amor - tristeza - brisa - areia - alegrias - contatos - gargalhadas - mae - paz - encontros - despedidas

e aguardo sinal para cafe feliz,
saudosa maroca

Sunday, 24 April 2011

in an easter state of mind (?)

24 apr 2011

Easter Mass at St Edmund's Church, 24 apr 2011
 i went to the Easter Mass today at 11am at St Edmund's Church, my local Catholic church, which is a 7-minute walk from where i live. i have been alone for about four days now. this has made me enter into an introspective mode, sometimes it is as if i am not here. at church today it was clear to me that my mind was elsewhere. it was quite intriguing and fascinating to observe myself becoming distracted from the Father's sermon and everything else that was going on around me. i felt as if i were in a bubble, isolated from the other people from church,  and my thoughts had only room for my brother Venicio, who is in brazil.

every time i visit a historical place, an old building, an old church (any new church around?), or i see any important piece of art i think of venicio and my thinking is that he should be there in my place. i must say i appreciate art and history just as much, i really do, but am not as knowledgeable as he is regarding these things. this was the first excuse that came to my mind about my absence of mind at church, but in reality it goes beyond this obvious association. it is sunday Easter today and i feel sad for being alone and so far away from my family. venicio came to my mind only as a token for my connection with my family. he was sort of floating around in my thoughts for quite a while. parallel thoughts were of the many great easter days we've had as a family in brazil, there included spending the whole day together, eating the best food (always some cod made to an original portuguese recipe that my sister kassandra masters so well) plus the chocolate eggs and the warmth that cannot be translated into words. i am crying now. thank God i did not cry at church.

the venicio thinking was gone for a moment and i then thought i was doing good, for i had been there for a long while and still very patient and relaxed. what a strange state of mind. what happened to me? when we were to light our candles i lit mine and offered to light three other people's candles. for this i received some grateful and sweet smiles, from the three men i helped out plus two ladies. these were smiles that warmed up my heart.

i was not exactly back and forth in my 'elsewhere' mood, but i was never totally present to the church service today. towards the end of the mass the Father said everyone would go home with an Ester egg, which was to be distributed on our way out. my heart jumped and i thought to myself: 'life is fair afterall'. i felt like going home at that very moment. nobody gave me an easter egg this year, which is not bad at all, truth be told. i was at once filled with hope, anyway. my hopes did not last long. on my way out i shoke hands with the Father, who said 'Happy Easter'. he had a basket with some small easter eggs in it. i asked for mine and he said i would have to be wearing shorts to have one. he should have made it clear the eggs were meant for the kids only. i felt like saying, 'nice to meet you, my name is frustration.' it was kinda obvious that the church could not give eggs to everyone, as we were such a crowd. whatever! i decided i deserved easter eggs and bought myself one from nestle and one from guylian, the belgian chocolate.

i came home and cooked and ate, but i don't want to write about it now. the day is finished and it was nice that in the afternoon i went for a walk at the common and it helped me relax. my walks at the common are magic. after the walk i was sitting on a bench for a while. there was a funfare at the park today, together with the predictable crowd it always attracts, especially in a gorgeous spring day like today. i am now in a scarlet o'hara mood: 'tomorrow is another day'. but i am fine, much better than it may look like from the post. i called brazil and spoke with my mom, my sister kassandra and my nephew joaquim. i tried to reach venicio but his landline phone might be out of order or something. well, couldn't find my brother who occupied my thinking today at church. i feel ready for the coming week.

how was your Easter? how have you been these past days? please, tell me tell me :-)

Friday, 22 April 2011


22 apr 2011

what are you doing this day? if it is a beautiful, sunny, spring day, i would like to have a barbecue at the park; but i will be just as happy to carry on with my immense load of work at home and (fair enough) have a pint at the end of the day. it might not make sense to go to the office because it will be an official holiday and the office might be sort of empty, which is not at all appealing to me.

as for the Royal couple, Prince Williams and Kate Middleton, hope they have a wonderful day and a fantastic and long life together, always with renewed joy, peace, good health, love, and enchantement. the most important bit i think is that they learn not to be (so) bothered by the insatiable press, or whatever is on their way. making a marriage work out is a lot of work already.

cheers to love!!! cheers to William & Kate!!!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

happy easter!

about yesterday, 20 apr 2011

the italian restaurant la margherita, by the town quay marina was a perfect choice for our Easter meal. mike went to wales today and for this reason we decided to celebrate it before he left. we had pasta, wine, a delicious dessert, and a beautiful view of the water as our table was by the window. so inspiring. . .

Saturday, 16 April 2011

switzerland - uk, flying back home

about mon 11 apr 2011

public transportation in switzerland (or in the cities i have been to and used them) is punctual, modernised, and the service is excellent; but too expensive. the way it is planned makes it very easy for a novice in town to use the service, because it is very well sign posted. they have trams!!! i love the trams, especially the very old ones, like the ones i saw in vienna.

well well but time arrived for me to fly back home to the uk and there we were again on the road. fran took me back to the airport of geneva and stayed until the very last minute she could before i had to go to my departure gate, which was B34. the airport in geneva is small and it all went smooth and easy, despite the long queue for security control. they have a passport control there, too. went through all these and got to my gate, ready to fly, very happy for the unforgetable trip. i flew swiss, and was pleased with this excellent airline.

i had bought a ticket to travel back from heathrow to southampton with national express at 6.30pm, as i knew my flight was scheduled to arrive in london at 4.05, and the time we spend there until we get our luggage is unpredictable. i was so lucky everything went again so smooth i got to the airport central bus station in time to get the 4.30 coach to southampton. i went to the coach platform and handed my ticket to the driver: 'your ticket is for the 6.30 bus. i can't take you.' he said
'why not? oh please take my in your bus'.
'no, i can't. you'll have to wait for your coach.'
i insisted: 'really? you can take me in your coach now.' i knew the bus was nearly empty. the driver asked to wait aside for 10 minutes and then he would see if he could help me. i said 'yes, i'll wait here and you please don't forget me.'
less than three minutes later he turned to me and said 'come on, love.'
you can imagine my grateful smile to the man. i was in southampton about 6.45. yes!!!

Friday, 15 April 2011

switzerland: nyon

about sunday 10 apr 2011

after montreux didier, fran and i visited Nyon. nyon is a beautiful city 25 kilometers from geneva. its population is of about 19,000, and it is located between lausanne and geneva. it is very close to cheserex, where fran and didier live. fran goes to work in geneva monday to friday through nyon, where she gets the train.

beautiful and cultural city, again, with much history to it. because the days have been sunny there are lots of people everywhere. no one wants to stay indoors when there is the light of the sun. i like it very much. we walked around and had a drink at a bar, of course, outdoors. they have a jazz festival in nyon every year. fran told me you have to be very clever to get tickets to the concerts because they are sold out shortly after they are made available.

the signs.

switzerland: montreux & cooking

about sunday 10 april 2011

l'amour au bord du leman
one more thing about montreux i would like to share here: the countless couples who spend hours by the lake, some in silence, some chatting, some cuddling, some eating, some dreaming, all in love.

le plat du jour
we went back home and to eat le plat du jour. it was a very sophisticated grilled lamb with mushroom sauce and risoto and vegetables on the side, all prepared by my dear fran. the woman knows the tricks! red wine to help taste the banquet and to spice up our chat.

fondant au chocolat was the dessert. God save my soul for i have been in sin. amem!

switzerland: montreux

about sunday 10 apr 2011
it took me long to decide on the few photos from the trip to montreux to post here. the whole trip, the amazing cities we passed by on our way to montreux and the city itself are incredibly charming and beautiful. oh, so beautiful! yes, nature was generous to switzerland. i will now post the photos here so that they translate a bit what i experienced on the 10th of april with my friend fran and her husband didier:
- a taste of the place where the famous music festival has happened for decades - beautiful people - a gorgeous sunny day - breathtaking mountains - a long and relaxing walking by lac leman - and some refreshing ice cream to wrap up. what a trip!!!

this is the Nestle head office. we passed by it on the way to Montreux.

the Grand Hotel du Lac is very charming. it is close to Lac Leman in Montreux.

view from the car. getting to the lake front we can already appreciate the swiss alps.

people everywhere enjoying the sunny day. one of the cafes by the lake front.

fancy a boat ride?
these flats face the lake. i sent out the papers to rent one for the summer.

Fran is an old and very good friend of mine. we probably met around 1992, when i started working at yazigi as an english teacher. she taught french there. she had already lived in switzerland as a young girl with her aunt raimunda. she has now been living in switzerland for a good number of years, but every time she went back to brazil and i was there we got together. we have followed up on the events of our lives all this time. she has three kids: martina, who lives in geneva and studies law, and igor and gabriela, who are now living in brazil. i had a great time catching up with my friend and travelling around with her and her adorable husband, didier. martina is doing great and  speaks an impecable french. fran and didier live in cheserex - in a lovely and large apartment - with didier's two boys from his previous marriage.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

music: simone felice in winchester

about yesterday, 13 apr 2011

last night mike, johnny, and i went to see simone felice's show at the railway in winchester. there are always nice gigs at this venue. felice's show was organised by oliver, a friend of mike's. it was my third time at the venue with mike. the show happened in the room upstairs that could fit 80 people, and was sold out. it was really very good. why is it that the artist sounds so different in a show from when we listen to him in a cd? we went to winchester listening to felice's music, but the presence of the great artist was fantastic. (what an obvious observation). simone felice is a young man who already had an open heart surgery. this was last summer, as he told us in the show. we were sitting at the front row, very close to him, and got to give him a hug afterwards. cool! before the show he sat for a little while in the sofa reading this book of his, called "black Jesus". when the concert was finished he remained at the venus autographing the book. mike bought one for himself.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

switzerland: road and street signs

about switzerland 8 - 11 apr 2011

can anyone please tell me why i like road and street signs so much? wherever i go i take photos of those things all the time. i like it in switzerland as they give some information about the person who the road is named after. don't miss out the road sign in both french and german: Lausannegasse. how cool is it?

switzerland: fribourg & cooking

about saturday 9 april 2011

after the moleson mountain in gruyeres we visited this beautiful city called fribourg. i think all cities in switzerland are beautiful. on the way to fribourg we again passed by some small towns driving throught the perfectly paved swiss roads. in fribourg we walked around town, sat by a cafe where didier and fran had coca cola and i had two cups of tea, one of green and one of verbena tea to fight a massive headache i had.

as i had predicted, the tea saved my day. we walked around to appreciate the day, the many people in the streets, mostly because of the good weather, and the old buildings of the city and the spring flowers already blossoming everywhere. the photos will never be capable of showing the real beauty of any place. just like life itself, to feel the taste and the colours, one has to travel and interact with the atmosphere. when we travel we see so much more than can be registered in a photograph or in a blog entry. in other words, life cannot be that manageable, it cannot be all expressed in words or images, it is to be lived, experienced; and from each one's experience different colours may be reported. i just started thinking now about the point in posting photos and trying to say words which i feel are not enough or fully truthful to what i saw. here again i need to face limitations and work around them.

when we got back home fran decided to cook a special dinner for us: salmon with spinach and feta cheese in a puff pastry wrap. it goes in the oven for about 25 minutes and then you need to grill it. on top of the big wrap she poured a curry sauce. on the side we had rice. and wine. it was soooo good! it is all very easy to do.

for dessert we prepared this apple pie, but to be eaten tomorrow only. fran taught to cook those things. she is such a talented and creative cook. she is also well organised and does a lot in quite a short time. i was much impressed.

switzerland: le moleson mountain, gruyeres

about saturday 9 april 2011

didier, fran, and i went to moleson mountain, in gruyeres, the city of the cheese with the same name. again it was a beautiful spring day. we went up in a nice and modern telepheric. we stayed up there for nearly two hours, appreciating the breathtaking landscape. the swiss alps are really very special. moleson mountain is also a good option for skiing.

there weren't many people around that day and the restaurant was actually closed. we didn't care. all we wanted was to appreciate nature and take photos, many photos. on the way to the city of gruyeres we pass by so many beautiful little towns. we also see many vinyards along the road. what a beauty switzerland is! it is a highly organised country, where everything is planned to happen and to remain orderly. it is unbelievably expensive, too. but the point here is the unforgetable beauty of the alps and the peace we experience up in the mountains.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

switzerland: geneva at night

about friday 8 april 2011

as i said in the last post, i got off the bus, met with fran and went back to the 'missao brasileira', where she works. it is a brazilian diplomatic mission in geneva. there we ate our food: i had quinoa salad and a slice od salmon pizza. my food was very good. she had a tomato and cheese with basil salad and chicken. it was about 5pm and we were hungry from a long day.

we left the 'missao do brasil' later on and walked again around other parts of the city and through different parks. it felt great to be in a safe place where you can just walk wherever and be certain the chances of having something bad (violence) to happen to you are very slim. well, i even played this giant chess at the park. geneva is just as beautiful at night. i love the night lights and to see life taking another pace. we walk still a lot until we got to cuba cafe. it is the place fran and didier had their second date. *memories*. we went with some light drinks; i tried passion fruit beer - very very good. i also had panache, called shandy here in the uk, it is a mix of carbonated lemonade and beer. i had never had in the uk and really like the drink. it gives the beer a special taste and i suspect it might make it easier for some people who are not so fond of beer to have it, because the taste of the carbonated lemonade plays a trick.

two other brazilian girls joined us for the night. aparecida, from bahia - brazil, is married to a spaniard, had two kids and has been living in switzerland for ten years. luciene, from rio de janeiro, is married to a swiss man and has a 2-year old boy. she two has been living in switzerland for ten years. luciene was driving and stayed at cuba cafe for a while and chatted and chatted and chatted about so many things.

then we were headed for this brazilian / latino party happening at 'paquis', a neighbourhood in geneva. part of the way we did on a tram and got to a car park for luciene's car. at the party i was amazed: i had never seen such a massive concentration of brazilians in one single space abroad in my life. i had no idea they were that many in switzerland. we stayed there until nearly 2am. the music was great and inviting to dance, but i was really very tired at that point. on the way back home i fell asleep in the car. they all live in cities very close to geneva. luciene drove us all home. what a start!!!

switzerland: first great impressions

about friday 8 april 2011

and now i start finally posting about my fantastic trip to switzerland. i need to say it has been very difficult to choose which photos to post because they are so many great photos.

initial trip costs
£   18.50 return national express coach ticket southampton - heathrow; heathrow - southampton
£ 119.00 return ticket to switzerland: flying swiss, heathrow - geneva; geneva - heathrow. the ticket included health and baggage insurance

i left southampton in the 1.30am coach to london heathrow terminal 1. my flight was at 7.30am. at the geneva airport the immigration lady asked if i spoke any french, 'parlez-vous francais?' to which i responded 'un peu', and added (using finger gestures) 'je reste ici trois jours'. right away she asked: 'et apres?' i said that after the three days i was going to return to england, where i live and am a phd student, more or less like this: 'apres je rentre a angleterre, ou je suis une etudiante de phd'. the woman opened a wide smile, and stamped my passport. i smiled back and left.

my dear friend fran was waiting for me at the arrival gate. big hugs and greetings and we took the bus to city. first stop was at manor, this immense department store with whatever you may want (i suppose). there we had a fantastic breakfast at the terrace area, as it was a sunny and nice day. then we walked around town for about four hours and i saw a lot about geneva: the banks, the expensive shops, the beautiful streets, the commercial area, the 'jet d'eau', a book fair, the amazing geneva flower clock and so much more around leman lake.

we walked to a square where lots and lots of people were sitting at the cafes enjoying the beautiful day. we were there for a while. i had diet coke and fran had panache, a drink which is beer mixed with carbonated lemonade, called shandy in the uk. very nice. the streets and the old buildings look so nice in this very expensive city. i photographed the court of justice. after the cafe we walked to a park where there just another bunch of people on the grass relaxing, eating, or sleeping. we stayed there for quite a long time talking about life. fran and i had some nice, honest and serious conversations about brazil, europe, family, longing, and the gains and loss we are faced with every time we make choices in life.

but fran had to go to work and martina come to meet up with us. again martina showed me other parts of geneva and we ended up going to her apt. martina is fran's 22-year-old daughter. he is a law student in geneva and a very kind and responsible girl. when we got to her place i took a shower, which made me feel renovated for the many hours of fun yet to come still on friday.

martina and i left her apt and stopped by manor again to buy some food for me and for fran. she then took me to the bus stop and told me exactly where i show get off on my way to fran's job, where she'd be waiting for me by the gas station. i was at first scared and feared i wasn't going to be able to go on my own, but i took careful note of all the stops the bus had until my own. i entered the bus from the front door and spoke with the bus driver and asked him to help me out with this. he said 'fine' (in french). i started checking the stops' names and felt calm as everything was very clear and organised. half way through we had fiscalization in the bus. you don't show anybody that you have paid to ride the bus unless there is the visit of a fiscal. voila! they were five coming all together to the bus. a guy asked me for my ticket, which i showed to him, and i was fine. fran had bought a day rover. i got off at my stop, crossed the road towards the gas station, and before i saw i heard fran's voices calling 'kalina'. yey!!!

back home from switzerland

12 apr 2011

bon jour!
i got back home from Switzerland last night. it was an unforgetable four-day trip to visit my old time dear friend Francinete. yes, it was fantastic! the whole trip was so magic: from the endless and nice and relaxed chats with fran to the visit to the mountains and to some very beautiful cities in switzerland. fran and her husband Didier are great hosts. i had, to say the least, a memorable time with my friends. let's hope my load of work around here this week allows me some time to come post about some of the things we did together in detail. my facebook is already loaded with photos.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

in a summer state of mind

6 apr 2011

park across from civic centre public library - see the ice cream guy!
 i have to say it has been an amazingly beautiful day with temperature between 15 and 18 degrees celsius. it is spring, but quite summerlike today. i am getting ready to go to switzerland for four days this coming friday 8 april and walked uptown this afternoon to sort out some things related to the trip such as getting some swiss money, buying my coach tickets to and from heathrow, and buying the presents to my hosts there.

i left home at about 1:30pm and went straight to have lunch at supreme, the chinese restaurante and had the same old dish: wonton noodle soup. it seems like my eyes only see it iin the menu. i also had a portion of dumplings. they were all really good, but i am thinking of sort of learning to cook the soup because i think i could spend less money then. when i got to supreme it was 2pm. after that i went to the tourism office to get some souvenirs to my friend. then, national express for my coach tickets. after that, i walked up to london road. on my way to london road i passed (walked) by the park across from the civic centre public library (photo above) and saw that some people are today in summerlike mood. so nice! the ice cream guy wastes no time. things are rescheduled here if the day surprises us with a beautiful sunshine, which should always be appreciated. i love it, too.

at highfield campus, between the staff club and hartley library
 happy happy me stopped by the post office at london road to get some swiss francs. i had a plan to go to uni to buy some uni coffee mugs for my friend but was not so sure i was doing it today. however :-) , as i left the post office there comes the U1A bus. i had no doubt and went to highfield. bought what i wanted from the shop, including some bottle water to refresh from the heat, and found these people, probably students and staff, by the grass. it is so relaxing, because it is a beautiful day, the sun is out there, but it is not super hot. i saw many other people sitting and eating outside and under the sun in some restaurants and cafes while walking in town. so summerlike! time has come for pimms, the english summer drink. i'll have one tonight. cheers!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

six plus two

5 apr 2011

and listening to radio 6 and eating salmon with roast potatoes and drinking south african wine followed by sticky toffee pudding with double cream for dessert they celebrated, at his place, eight (six plus two, or six plus one plus one) months together.

very interesting that the guy from radio six tells stories about manchester and the pubs all that coincide with the pubs mike used to frequent during his uni years there. they both went to uni at the same time.

note: the real day is the 3rd, but he was away for the weekend in wales.

Monday, 4 April 2011

getting things done

4 apr 2011
the common - photo taken yesterday 3 apr 2011 - the joyful first days of spring
sometimes i think a situation is so difficult i need much time to prepare myself before i face it, in a way that i will, yes, succeed. today was the day to turn last weeks’ plans into practice. i thought i would feel fear and really have the hardest time even getting to the place, and doubted my skills to express myself although i was so certain of what i want to say. i considered postponing it, as i have done to a good amount of difficult situations in my life, and wait for some confidence to come to me from elsewhere. i even tried the pottery painting course to spend the next hours and therefore be distracted from thinking about the issue of the day, but they close on mondays. was it another sign that i was meant to face the music? yes, today was definitely the day and i looked in the very inside of myself and saw a determined woman, with nothing to fear and a decision which had no reason to be put on hold. it was I who did everything, with the priceless help of my cousin Eduardo, with whom i talked for over two hours last night. i am the woman who today took a very significant towards freedom, the freedom of my soul.