Friday, May 22, 2009


That's Portuguese for Storks! And as much as we Americans hear about them in the very misleading tale of "How Babies Are Made" when we are children, I don't think any of us have actually ever seen one in person! That is, until I came to Portugal and was out driving through the southern regions of Ribatejo and Alentejo and spotted these giant nests on the huge power lines! I asked Miguel, "What dumb bird decided to build a nest on these??" And he replied "Those would be the Cegonhas Andrea, or you may know them as Storks." Wow....glad they really don't deliver babies if they like to live on power lines!! But he explained that the nests that I see around there now are actually made on non-electrical perches that the government decided to add on after they kept having the Storks dying while trying to make their nests on there. So apparently before that, they would find tons of barbecued Storks on the side of the road.....geezus those birds sound pretty retarded!

But of course they don't know any better, you see because storks like to make their nests on really high perches to protect their young from predators. They do find sometimes find other less dangerous places to nest but unfortunately the power lines are usually the highest they can find here. So the government also built some of their own high perch towers for them, along with adding them to the power lines so if they did still end up coming there, they would hopefully reduce the risk of them electrocuting themselves! Poor guys hahahaha, thankfully though you can enjoy seeing these magnificent looking birds safe in their nests now all throughout the area :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Writings On The Wall"- Lisbon Graffiti In Style

When I first came to this country, I was surprised at how much graffiti there is around Lisbon and most cities. To most people who aren't affiliated with graffiti in some way, it usually is a symbol of a poor or rough neighborhood and shameful that they are vandalizing and defacing public or private property. But as I've passed by a lot of graffiti here many times and began to look at it more closely, there is a significant amount that is not bad at all and actually quite artistic. When you think about it, there are so many extremely old buildings and walls here that are brown and gray and disgusting with age that they really could benefit from some color!

Take this one long wall near my neighborhood in Lisbon, that starts right after Amoreiras Mall and winds up into Campolide; this wall is where it seems the "Style Wars" take place. Or at least that's what I've come to conclude from what I've observed over time. Every year the wall is painted over and various graffiti artists or groups come and take a large section of the wall which they do up an impressive work to "represent" their people. Each one is like a puzzle, trying to figure out the hidden message or symbol of their words and illustrations with what is going on in their world. Some seem to have references to world issues while others represent loved ones that were lost or something completely abstract in itself. As I strolled down the sidewalk along the wall checking out each section and taking photos of some of my faves, it was like walking through an art gallery....with the best part of it being free! Below are some of the most memorable from this year's wall, some are a bit silly while others are quite moving:

Cool Dragon

Not sure what these little guys represent but I found it funny that the railing hit just the right spot from where I was standing to take the photo to censor a certain part on one :p
Somehow I believe they meant "humor", which is common to find misspellings here when people try to write in English..... though I could be wrong since the face does resemble a bit of a known Simpsons character (but with 3 eyes?)

The Shell gasoline sign caught my eye in this one
I like the bright colors and the shininess of this one.

"Poison" This was the largest mural on the wall, an obvious memorial to a member of this team who died....

“Even far away, you continue to be present, you woke up who was sleeping, to see the future that was in front. You drank from your own name and raised it so high that you have become impossible to reach….”

“Down here we continue to wait, we scream really loud that I wish you could be here! But what is time after all? Small fragments of life, at any moment everything could end. You lived it well, to everyone you touched, your magic lasts, your voice won’t shut up!! Thank you Miguel”

Well done and well written guys.