Thursday, 22 September 2011

Brave Athletes

2 days without talking about sports is too much.

This video says it all: athletes in every sport are courageous and determined to suffer, fear, dream, fight.

All for the win!

 (I don't have any kind of relation with Eurosport)

Tomorrow I come to talk about Politics and the crisis in Europe.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

News Shows

Related to the last post I come today to talk about the news on the Portuguese TV.

I have lived in countries (Belgium and UK) where the news shows or programs (just the shows on prime-time not on the news channels with news every hour) had 30 minutes. These had an order where first the news of the country were shown, then the international news and the sports news and lastly the so-called odd news or some curiosities.

In Portugal, people spend too much time watching the TV news shows. These programs last about 1h and some even 1h and 30 minutes.
And for me what's most funny is the order of the news: start with the most important news about Portugal, then sports(just football) followed by international news or odd news (some TV channels put the odd news before international ones).
There is no news introduction: journalists don't say "now we are going to talk about football". They usually pass from one report to the other just by beginning that message.

1) People only watch what TV channels say them to watch. Thus a 30 or even a 20 minute news show would be more than sufficient to make a summary of the everyday news.
2) Prioritize the news where international news appear after the country news and sports come after in a separated introduction talking about different sports and not only football.
3) Cut the odd news to one or two more important and not show news about common and less important situations like cats trapped on trees and burglary.

Monday, 19 September 2011


People always ask me how it was in the UK compared to Portugal. 

Most of the people in Portugal tend to be little confident about our country and most of the time think outside the country everything is above and much better.

Everything was way better, no? That's the common question people ask me. My answer is: "you have to live outside the country to see" and not just visit a city. That's the way I've learnt that everything outside Portugal isn't roses.

It's a trend: people visit a country's capital and think they've seen the whole thing. They go to London, Paris, NY and everything is magical. They don't walk on the pathways in Portugal and even sometimes park their cars on them but can walk miles and respect everyone when they are outside the country. Others only see what movies or TV show them how other countries are.

So today I bring some differences (just a summary of some things I've seen) from my life in the UK and my life in Portugal.

First, there is no doubt we have an amazing weather. I guess other countries would like to have summer time from June to almost October and even go to the beach early April. I was getting depressed with the grey time in the UK. 

Second, the food. We have an amazing variety of delicious dishes from starters to desserts.
In the UK I've always asked myself why there are 3 cooking shows on the British TV prime-time. And although I could find a bigger variety of products in the supermarkets (quinoa or buckwheat in the smaller supermarkets) and some nice food in restaurants the British continue to eat badly. Take-away restaurants are like mushrooms and those don't have good quality.

Third, the crisis. It's not only in Portugal that we suffer from the consequences of the subprime crisis in 2008.   Even though the British have other problems like the money they have spent on wars they are in (including Lybia) people are also concerned about cuts and government debt. I know our way of living and the impact of our austerity measures it's affecting us way more. However, it's not easier to find a job in the UK than in Portugal. It's true people have a bigger salary in the UK than in Portugal but the prices are also more expensive and they have to pay more taxes (even a tax for a TV license: no one can have a TV without paying it even if they watch TV via a computer they have to pay it and it costs about 200Euros)

Fourth, the media. That's something I want to talk in a next post but just to say that there are also controversial TV shows and tabloids in the UK. One thing that I like is that in the UK the newspapers are identified by their political view (the conservative and the labour papers) and not ambiguous news and opinions we see in the Portuguese newspapers. Other thing is they talk about other sports other than Football (soccer). They talk about cricket, athletics, rugby, golf, triathlon...

Fifth, I don't see any difference in the education between Portugal and the UK. I can only talk about the Universities but in both places teachers are demanding and in the UK universities are way more expensive. There are no canteens like in Portugal and everything in the universities from bars to shops are ran by private owners so the prices are expensive.

Two big problems that surprised me a lot in the UK and we don't see in Portugal: the amount of young ladies with children and the people with alcoholic problems.
Girls with 16 to 20 carrying their children to school and most of them are unemployed or work in the supermarkets. Alcohol is everywhere and it's something that affect not only younger but also older people. On my way to the University I used to see boxes of empty bottles (not only beer) outside the houses.

It's true there is more respect for cycling than in Portugal. People horn way less in the UK and wait behind the riders but there are also some drivers who shout and are not careful with riders.

Some things were better some don't. "If I lived outside Portugal things were different" and "go live outside the country, things are really bad here" are also common phrases I hear a lot.

We should be more confident on our country and our values. We must be original and don't copy the bad habits from other countries.

Why with all the conditions to succeed the Portuguese keep waiting for something big to happen (like the discovery of oil or gold in our country) and with the use of little everyday actions don't make the country better to live?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Life is Life

I should have posted something awhile ago. But since the last time I've posted I've been Really busy. And today I'm going to talk about what happened since then.

I had one month in Portugal from June to July but I had to go back to the UK because of meetings with my dissertation supervisor.

However, the month of August was the worst month to be in Norwich. I was writing my dissertation but no one was there (people I knew) and I felt a bit lonely. My training levels went way down because I had to read and write a lot in order to finish my dissertation on the deadline.

On the last week of August, I had my flight booked to Portugal. So 2 days earlier I had to put my whole room in three bags and sent these via an express parcel. I also had to pack my bike and the last little things (cables, some last clothes, etc.) in my bike bag.
This was my flight back to Lisbon. But I am definitely going to miss Norwich, the lifestyle I had there, the people I met and the places to ride and run.

Then since the time I arrived here until last Friday, apart from being with family and friends and one or two days at the beach, I could not think of anything else than finishing my dissertation.

Now finally it's done. I've handed it in last Friday and since then I'm on holiday! I'm back training and in shape. I'll also enjoy the good weather and the next days I'm going to the beach.

And from today on I'm officially looking for a job.

(I have many topics to write about and these are coming in the next days.)