Saturday, May 30, 2009

20 years old

Someone has recently emailed me the above video and I can' t help watching it again and again.. This video is an irresistible combination of dramatic song, great performer, and smart staging.

The song is well-known both in its original french form ("Hier encore , j'avais vingt ans") and in the english version ("Yesterday, when I was young") and deeply touches every listener that was once 20 years old.

The 85 years old singer, Charles Aznavour, dressed in black - sharp contrast to his white hair - mourns the foolish waste of his young years. Helping him with this are two tall beauties on high heels and in mini dresses who, I guess, are a symbol of youth with all its vanity and carelessness . The stage background looks vivid and cheerful as opposed to the sad words of the song . The moist eyes of the two boys in the audience, and the... moaning of Aznavour make it all very emotional. The bottom line of the song is "Je gache ma vie" meaning I wasted my life. (Aznavour, BTW did very well in his life).

Here are a few 'pearls" from the song (free translation) :

"I played with my life as one plays with Love", " The projects I planned were built on air",' "My eyes were looking for the sky, but my heart missed the earth", "Every conversation concerned itself with me, not beyond that","I wasted my time on follies that left me with nothing but a few wrinkles and fear of boredom", "My loves were dead even before they existed, my friends are gone and will not return", "I've created a void around me", ' I wasted my life and my young years".

"Where are they now my twenty years?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A smile on your face (e-mail sent by a friend)

Can't eat pork
Swine flu...

Can't eat chicken,

Bird Flu..

Can't eat beef
Mad cow..

Can't eat eggs

Can't eat fish
Heavy metal poisons in the water

Can't eat fruits and veggies,
Insecticides and herbicides.


I believe that leaves Chocolate and Ice -cream !!!

Remember....'STRESSED' spelled backwards is 'DESSERTS'

(Send this to four people and you will loose 2 pounds. Delete it and you will gain 10 pounds immediately!)

That's why I had to pass this on... didn't want to risk it...
And I wanted to put a smile on your face."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The leaning Tower , the ailing Economy

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), the famous physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher - was born in Pisa, Italy.

(The term 'physicist' BTW makes me sometimes smile . There's a young physicist in our family and people always ask his mother the same old question. Why not doctor or lawyer, why did he 'waste' his talents on this stuff, physics? His mother fights back trying to justify her son's choice of profession by telling those people that her son the physicist is... A b o v e doctors and lawyers, he's a S c i e n t i s t and their question is a stupid, primitive question...,OH, WELL).

entrance to the Tower

Pisa. This town became worldwide known not through Galileo Galilei, not even through the young, blind lyrical tenor Andrea Bocelli who was born in the region and studied Law and Music in Pisa, but through its leaning Tower. The Tower is a major tourist attraction, and rightlly so.. Once you got to the top of it, you're rewarded with a splendid panoramic view of Pisa and its surroundings (weather depending of course).

the leaning Tower of Pisa

When I look now at the tower in the picture, I see... the american Economy ( no offence intended. After all, we are all in the same boat) . There's much talk about 'crisis', 'slow down', 'recession'. Well, I think none of these terms is correct. The correct term, I believe, should be Decline. It's a natural Decline occurring after long decades of living much ,much beyond means. Next phase (if nothing is done about Decline), could be, God Forbid, Collapse.

at the top of the Tower

In 2001, something was done to prevent the further leaning of the Tower of Pisa and, as far as I know, it ended up quite successfully. There's only one thing that can be done to prevent further decline of America's economy - and that's a process of re-education of the nation in the spirit of' 'live within your means'. But, unfortunately, this is something almost impossible for any government to carry out. So, our american friends shoud better adopt the attitude of those living under the active Vesuvium volcano. The people in those flourishing villages & towns under the volcano, know that it could errupt any moment and bring about Collapse of the whole region, and yet they believe, this moment will never come. It is this Belief that helps them carry on quite well with their lives.
Think positive.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"La Dolce Vita" with David, Mona.. & Anita

Anita Ekberg in the 'Trevi Fountain' scene

I've recently come across some online jokes with the following title: 'King David after a stay in America' , 'MonaLisa after a year in USA'. The joke shows the 'before' and 'after' pictures, and that makes us smile for a second. King David (Michelangelo's superb marble statue) with his youthful manly body is transformed into an obese person. MonaLisa (Da Vinci's painting) in her 'after' picture, has the looks of a definitely non-classy woman with dyed blonde hair, a very deep decoltee putting her feminine assets on display. And her original angelic smile? after being in America for a year or so, the smile takes the shape of a twisted grin.
Well, those openly blamed for the 'dolce vita' (the good, sweet life) of Michelangelo's and Da Vinci's creations in America, are the Mc Donald, KFC, Burger chains, and other goodies' providers.

These jokes are not intended to make fun of the italian masterpieces but rather to laugh at certain aspects of the american way of life such as sedentarism and overeating.

In fact, people all over the world have great admiration , love and respect for Michelangelo's works of art as well as for many other works that have to do with ancient Rome. Year after year, Rome is packed with tourists who would not miss the painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum (that huge theatre were masses of citizens were entertained and distracted from the woes of life). the ruins of the Foro Romano (the center of ancient Rome's public life), the city-state of the Vatican with its art galleries, St. Peter's cathedral , the Castel of San Angelo (mausoleum, fortress, and now museum) , the well-preserved Pantheon where kings were burried, the Trevi Fountain, surrounded by crowds taking photos and throwing coins into the waters to ensure return to the city of Rome..and many , many other hisorical and artistic gems.

If you have a pair of good, sturdy legs, than it's a real "dolce vita", a life of of sheer pleasure and enjoyment to go visit the above landmarks with all their visible and hidden beauties.. That's how I felt at the time.

The Colosseum

Castel of San Angelo along the Tiber river

The Basilica of San Pietro

stairs leading to the entrance of the Basilica

Fontana di Trevi

"La Dolce Vita" ( The Sweet Life) is the name of a classic movie directed by the italian Federico Fellini. depicting a life of corruption and decadence. Its female star, the blonde Anita Ekberg ,made the Fontana di Trevi famous all over the world by plunging ,during one of the scenes, in its waters , wearing ...a strapless black dress. A young journalist played by Marcello Mastroiani joined her in the dip. By the way, it was in this famous movie that the notorious concept of "paparrazzi' made its way to public awareness.

Marcello Mastroiani & Anita Ekberg at the fountain

Not far from the Trevi fountain, one can buy the best ice cream in Rome. The aromatic ice-cream at the nearby 'gelateria' gives one a taste of real 'dolce vita'.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Daniel and Juliano

At the time of my brief visit in Naples, I noticed flattering posters of the musical conductor of the city's 'San Carlo' theater, Daniel Oren. D.O. was born in Jaffa, Israel, son to an arab father and a jewish mother. He was lucky. He had great talent for music (both vocal & instrumental) and a very ambitious mother who had decided to invest a lot in her dream of having her son become a top musician.

At a certain stage, Daniel Oren went abroad to perfect his musical studies, away from an hostile environment that called people like him "stinking arab" and "dirty Jew". He developed an international brilliant career as a musical conductor, with Italy being the country that opened all possible doors for him.

As for his identity, it appeared he didn't have any dilemma about that. He chose his mother's orthodox jewish one (he wears a skullcap, as all jewish male observants do).

Maestro Daniel Oren

At the other end, is the story of Juliano (name sounds italian , but he's not) . Juliano Mer Hamis, a gifted, charismatic actor was born in Nazareth, Israel ,also to an arab father and a jewish mother. He grew up in a heavy political atmosphere, his parents being prominent members of the arab-israeli communist party.

Music has beneficial influence: it conveys messages of peace and tolerance, it calms , soothes and unites the spirits. Politics, on the other hand, stirs up negative emotions, feeds conflicts and frustrations. arouses violence.

From the newspapers I learnt that Juliano, the actor, gave his employers a hard time. Once , he slapped the face of a young actress, on another occasion he peed in the office of his boss, the director of the theater where he performed. At a certain point, he started to give interviews in which he claimed openly he feels alien in the jewish society. His parallel /next step was to join his mother in her political and human rights activity for palestinians . He directed some films on these issues . fully identifying himself with his palestinian movie heroes.

Actor and political activist Juliano Mer Hamis

Daniel, and Juliano - two people with one similar complex background - that of parents belonging to a different religion and ethnicity, in a region of interminable wars and conflicts. Their talents and their dominant jewish mothers helped shape the thorny path into something that ,more or less, suited their personal character and vocation.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Capri, c'est fini

The Marina Grande (the big harbour)

"Capri c'est fini
Et dire que c'etait la ville
De mon premier amour
Capri c'est fini
Je ne crois pas
Que j'y returna un jour"

The above is the refrain of a famous lovely french song which refers to Capri , the city of the singer's first love , to where, he believes, he won't return anymore. This city is the main center of the Capri island which lies in the south of Italy, a short sail from Naples.

[ The song is a sweet, quiet song, but there are also some 'disco' versions of it heard at weddings, and dancing halls. I've recently been to a wedding, and when this music was on, a young girl approached her grandfather who was sitting next to me, and asked him to come dance with her, as she knew it was one of his favorites. I watched the two of them , they were dancing like there was no tommorrow. I looked at the grandmother, she seemed rather worried. I told her I was impressed with her husband's dancing performance, considering his age. His age, she said, and what about his pacemaker (device for regulating heartbeats)? ]

I like to visit islands like any other tourist does, but I don't think I could live on one for long. There are , however, people like artists or scientists that find great inspiration for their work on these islands, and make their home on the island of their choice for long periods of time.

Such was the swedish physician and writer Axel Munthe who built the splendid 'villa San Michele' on the Capri island. at the turn of the 20th century. It is a 'museum-home' with magnificient gardens and adorned with many works of art . Big tourist attraction.

Apart from the villa San Michelle, people take great pleasure in visiting the Marina Grande (big harbor), the Marina Piccola (small harbor), the Annacapri commune high on the hills with its mountain Solaro, many caves ( the Blue Grotte being the most famous of them), the 'Faraglioni' (three sea rocks that stand out of the sea) and more..

The Faraglioni

"Capri c'est fini"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So beautiful, So destructive

Been there! on the Vesuvium top

Enjoying the views

It is responsible for the destruction in the past of towns and villages, and it is an all time threat to its surroundings.
Its activity is closely watched and supervised by many expert factors.
Emergency plans are constantly evaluated and re-evaluated by the proper authorities.
On-going efforts are being made to reduce as much as possible population in the area so that evacuation, in case of emergency, can be carried out in a very short time. (Yet people in this area named "the red zone", continue to live in a 'que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be' style).

The Bay of Naples in the background

A bit scary on the edge of the summit

VESUVIO ( in italian) - Vesuvius (in latin), mountain Vesuvium, the volcano overlooking the superb landscape of the Bay of Naples in the south of Italy. This is one of those places that haunts one's memory forever, both because of its beauty and of its potential danger. Just to think of it that I was actually on top of an active volcano and peered into its crater ! Wow!

Il Cratero - The Crater

Emission of hot vapors/fumes from the crater

I read somewhere that an italian writer described the wine produced from the grapes cultivated on the fertile soil of the Vesuvium slopes, as having the properties of the volcano's eruption: " the color of infernal fire, the taste of lava and ash that burried the cities of Ercolano and Pompeii.."

Red ,volcanic soil

And, I heard about a cosmetician telling a young female client that" her acne eruption was of Vesuvium proportion". How about that?!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Leather Jacket

Palacio Real (Royal Palace)

Majestic - that's the term I would use to describe Madrid, the heart and soul of Spain. Everything about this city looked majestic to me: its avenues, its buildings, its gardens,
the Royal Palace, the Prado museum ( known as the largest art gallery in the world). Madrid has many plazas (plaza = square, a place where people gather to have a chat ,stroll, relax) : Plaza Mayor, Plaza Castilla, Plaza de la Villa (City Hall Square) ,Plaza de toros de las Ventas - to name only a few.

I was having a cold drink in Plaza de Oriente (East Square, on the eastern side of the Royal Palace), when I noticed a familiar face . The man was standing on the pavement and looked as if he was waiting for someone. I decided to be cheeky, go to him and find out who he was. It appeared we had both attended once a beginners' course in the German language .

He told me he was waiting for his wife who went shopping for a leather jacket as she had heard from friends that leather goods in Madrid were of good quality and not expensive.
Since his wife had also attended that particular German course, and there was a chance we remembered each other, he suggested we all three plan together something nice for the evening. I responded with enthusiasm to my compatriot's suggestion.

In the meantime I told him about my personal 'leather jacket' story. I once bought a leather jacket for its bright color (not the usual brown or black, but yellowish), its softness, and its cute , casual cut. Soon after I started wearing it, I noticed some tiny pattern on the leather that made me suspect it was of pigskin origin. I looked up the label, and indeed the 'microscopic' writing on it confirmed my suspicion .

In my religion , one is not allowed to raise pigs or eat their meat . I suppose wearing leather made of their skin is not encouraged either, so the revelation 'killed my enthusiasm ' for the jacket. I didn't say a word to anyone about my discovery, as I felt uncomfortable with it.

On hearing the story, my acquaintance seemed a bit worried. He mumbled something about going to find his wife to see if she had bought any leather jacket, and left me with the name of the hotel they were staying at. When he departed, I was able to see clearly he had a 'kippa' (small, round crocheted skullcap), meaning he was a traditionally religious person.

So, it was for the second time that my cute leather jacket 'killed my enthusiasm'- only this time, it happened in the center of majestic Madrid.

Plaza de Oriente with statue of Felipe4 on horse

Monday, April 13, 2009

The City and the Song

GRANADA is the name of the City in the south of Spain lying at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and also the name of the well-known Song about this city's land full of beautiful women, flowers, blood and sunshine - favorite song of famous singers , among them Frank Sinatra and the three tenors: Pavarotti, Carreras, Domingo ( the last two - spanish born artists).

What struck me first in Granada was the spectacular contrast between the warm, sunny climate of the city and the white snow on the mountains above it. I happened to be on a main street in the city's center, and I could see from there the snowy Sierra Nevada range overlooking the city of Granada . It was sort of a surrealistic view.

The second thing that struck me was of course the Generalife (high Paradise) complex : The Alhambra palaces , the fort of Alcazaba, and especially the superb Generalife Gardens that had served as a retreat for the Moorish Kings of Granada.

The Generalife Gardens have stunning flower beds, bushes, pastures, orchards, and a clever water running system. One could notice a certain symmetry in shapes all over the gardens.

The Generalife Gardens

View of the city from the Alcazaba fort

Apropo the tenors Placido Domingo (in the video below) and Jose Carreras that are among the best performers of the 'Granada" song. There is this story about the later being diagnosed in the past (he's now about 62 of age) with an agressive form of leukemia. The disease and the hard treatments he had to undergo, caused substantial damage to both his flourishing career and his financial situation. Placido Domingo who was considered his very bitter stage rival , set up a fund under an anonymous name to help him. Only after he won the battle against the leukemia, did Carreras receive information on the man behind the fund. Needless to say, he was deeply touched by Domingo's gesture. and they became the best of friends since (according to the Media).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cordoba's Maimonides & Rabbi's Blessings

The interior of the Jewish Synagogue in Cordoba

Being of jewish faith it was only natural that when in Cordoba I should want to visit the old jewish synagogue built in 1350 .

But first I went "to pay tribute" to the two famous impressive sites of the city: La Mezquita ( The Mosque which is now Cordoba's Cathedral and has huge arches and about 1000 pillars) and The Alcazar ( the fortress with three towers, inside - mosaics , sarcophagi, Moorish baths, outside- surrounded by magnificient gardens) .

View from La Mezquita. Quadelquivir river.

At The Alcazar

And now back to Cordoba's old Jewish Synagogue. It is located on a small street and it has a tiny courtyard which houses the monument of Maimonides (Moses Ben Maimon). Inside the small , modest synagogue there are some carvings and decorations with Biblical texts in Hebrew.

The statue of Maimonides

Maimonides ('Harambam' in Hebrew) was a preeminent rabbi, physician, and philosopher who was born in Cordova in the 12th century. His main contribution to Judaism was the composing of the Code of Jewish law.

Rabbi Abraham Yechiel Fish

I'd like to mention here another rabbi , one that I had the highest luck and privilege to meet in person , and even though he has been dead for almost ten years I still turn to Him in my thoughts and ask for his Blessing . He was neither a physician nor a philosopher like Maimonides, and yet he cured people and guided them through life. His name - Abraham Yechiel Fish זצ"ל

Rabbi Fish lived in the city of Tel Aviv, near my place of work. My office was relatively new in that neighborhood, so I knew nothing about the rabbi . Soon enough I noticed that when I'm out of the office I'm often approached by people, especially women , who ask me to direct them to a certain nearby street and a certain number.

One day , I decided to find out what was that address about. I entered a tiny courtyard much like the one of Cordoba's synagogue, climbed up some narrow stairs leading to a long hall at the end of which there was an open door to the room where the rabbi was sitting at a table, and receiving the people waiting in line in the entrance hall.

The Rabbi and his wife lived in great modesty, on the verge of poverty. That's because they gave away their money to charity. They didn't have any children, and yet He became famous for his successful blessing given to women who had difficulty in becoming pregnant. This taught me a big lesson: even if you cannot help yourself with the gift you have, you can still help others with that gift.

At that time, I was recovering from a rare disease for which there was no specific treatment. The doctor gave me a certain medicine to take ,but didn't hide his hesitation about it. I told the Rabbi of my fears concerning the medicine. He just kept saying "don't worry".

The next time I went to see the doctor, while still at the door, I heard him saying to me in a very strange voice "I want you to stop taking the medicine". Just like that, without any explanation.

Well, if I am alive and well today it's due to the Rabbi's Blessing for Good

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Birthplace of Myths

Plazza d'Espana

No wonder Seville is the birthplace of well knowm myths such as Don Juan, Carmen, Figaro (the Barber from Seville). There's something in the lively atmosphere of this vibrant city in the South of Spain that inspires writers, composers, musicians, dancers. It is a city that never sleeps, a late night city.People all over it look cheerful and with a big lust for life. It is said that
the sevillians are accomplished actors, and that this talent is displayed especially at times of festivals. And ,of course, the Flamenco has its origin in Seville.

The red cut bricks of the La Giralda

The town of Seville which is one of the oldest in Spain and the largest in the southern Andalucia region of Spain, has several attractive sites: The Cathedral, one of he biggest in the world, which houses the tomb of Cristhopher Columbus ; The Giralda (the bell tower of the Cathedral), the Alcazar , a palace with spectacular gardens; Plaza d'Espana - a semi circle with buildings that have tiled alcoves on the walls, some beautiful bridges, and a fountain in the center.

pony ride at the Amusement Park

With all the beauty around, what I recall best from Seville, is a small, trivial incident : I entered an amusement park and stopped at the site where children of various ages were riding a pony. Cute kids and cute ponnies as well. It was a lovely scene to look at. The loveliness was interrupted by the screaming of one of the younger kids who refused to get off the pony and demanded another round; his mother was against.

I remembered I had something in my bag that could perhaps solve the crisis . It was a small colorful ball that I had found earlier on the ground near the entrance to the park. I opened my bag, took out the ball and handed it to the screaming child. At that moment, the screaming of another child was heard. It was the child who recognized his lost ball, called his father and pointed in mine direction and in the direction of the ball, now in the hands of the first screaming kid.

I was standing helpless because of language barrier. I turned around and left the spot like a coward leaving the two parents and the two kids to solve the mess. I felt a total Failure.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Espagna- Spain, the craddle of Flamenco dancing and guitar playing, Corrida (bullfighting), the inspiring figures of the libertine Don Juan (play) and the gipsy Carmen (opera) , the divine voices of Victoria de Los Angeles and Jose Carreras, unforgettable Eurovision spanish songs, attractive cities and amazing landscapes.

(The title of the post QUE VIVA ESPANA is the name of a spanish Hit song in passadobles rhytm).

When I was a school girl in a little town in north-east Roumania, I knew a very musical family of gipsy descent. All the members of this family could sing, dance, and play the violin and/or the accordion. None of them had any formal musical education, except one of the daughters , Maria, who had won a scholarship to study at the conservatory in the county town, afterwhich she went on to study vocal music at the Music Academy in the capital city, where she eventually graduated as an opera singer.

Needless to say she was the Gem of her family and the pride of her little native town.

As an opera performer, Maria was a constant choice and favourite for the part of Carmen ( the protagonist of Bizet's famous opera) due to her mezzosoprano voice , her looks (dark hair, dark eyes. olive skin), and her flexible and sensuous body. She was a great success in the role of Carmen ( the gipsy from Sevilla) and appeared on stage in many world opera houses.

Well, the trouble with her, was that she could not draw the line between her personal life and her role on the stage.. While on a tour in Spain, performing in the role of Carmen, she decided to stay there and not return to Roumania. She fell in love with a bullfighter (like in the opera's plot) and neglected her career.

After a few years, she came back home, ill and with no money. Her elder and married sister persuaded her to come and stay with her and family in the county town for as long as she needed. I didn't see her anymore, but I heard things about her spanish affair. It appeared that the bullfighter had dumped her and got custody of their child. She tried to fight back, but with no success as the bullfighter had friends in high position. This destroyed her completely. At a certain phase, she felt threatened, wanted to leave Spain and return to her country of origin, but she had trouble with the roumanian communist authorities as she was considered a deserter artist.

The story doesn't have a very happy end , but it ended not so badly considering the circumstances. Maria recovered from her illness, and got a job as a choir girl at the Opera . Moreover , with help and good will from various factors, she succeeded in establishing some connection with her child in Spain.

[My Mom used to say to me and my brother:" Don't go too far from your source". Maria got carried away ,went perhaps too far - away from her family, her country, her career- and she was forced by Fate to learn her lesson the hard way].

Sunday, March 22, 2009

..where the earth ends and the sea begins..

This place is called Cabo da Roca ( Cape Roca) - and it's the very westernmost point of mainland Europe. It's located 18 Km west of the beautiful portuguese region of Sintra , a region with castles and palaces ,wooden hills and vast parks which has won UNESCO heritage status.

Cabo da Roca is a cliff standing out from the Atlantic Ocean. It has a lighthouse, a cafe with a gift shop where one can get an attractive certificate to mark his visit on the rock, and a monument with a plaque bearing the following inscription in portuguese :

"Here..where the land ends and the sea begins (Camoes). Westernmost Point of the European Continent".

It was very windy up there on the day of my visit , and despite the dramatic beauty of the place, I was eager to buy the certificate as a memento and leave as soon as possble, especially as the topic of 'suicide' was brought up by someone among the visitors, and I felt quite bad about it. It was the edge of the cliff , the raging waves of the Atlantic ocean, and the isolation of the place , that triggered the discussion .

My thoughts in those moments, led me to a nurse at our public family clinic in my hometown - a skillful nurse and a kind , smiling person. I was shocked one day to hear the news of her death. It appeared that after being at her husband's grave, she drove her car over a nearby cliff facing the Mediterranean Sea - and that was the end of her.

She was not the depressed sort of woman and she had a lot what to live for. She was blessed with children and grandchildren , and was very appreciated at the clinic where she worked. And yet she felt she could not face life without her husband (a note in her handwriting was found , and that's what it said).

I read somewhere on the Web that suicide occurs when there is "imbalance of pain versus coping resources". Well it seemed indeed that her Pain was much greater than her abilities to cope with it. How tragic !!!

Palace of Pena

The extravagant palace, one of the main landmarks of Sintra municipality, was built on a rock ridge overlooking the town of Sintra. It used to be summer home of portuguese monarchs. The exterior is colorful and has a cyllindric bastion, a clock tower, arches, two gates - a blend of european and arabic style. The view from the palace and its gardens is stunning.

The impressive Palacio da Pena

romantic view of the palace

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Zigzag on the way up

panoramic view from Sao Jorge Castle

I like autumn , but with all its grace and pleasantness it nevertheless has days with grey, cloudy skies which are bad for our mood, bad for panoramic views, and bad for photography ( especially when one uses a very basic camera as I did). Such was my main Sightseeing Day in Lisbon.

Like any other big city , Lisboa has several high places that offer a good panoramic view of the city . The most recommended is the St. George Castle which is on top of the highest of the city's seven hills . The historical castle and its gardens could be reached by bus or tram , but I decided to climb up the hill ,which was no light matter at all.

On the morning of my heading for the castle, I noticed at some point on my track, a young woman walking unsteadily, as in a zigzag . Her shoes appeared to be of a good quality ,with a good solid shape and flat heels, so I suspected she was either under the influence of alcohol, or she had some neurological problem affecting her legs , in which case she should have taken a cane with her for support, or even better, taken the bus. But ,what do I know .

I felt the urge to approach her and give her a hand but something stopped me from doing that; perhaps it was my shyness with strangers or some unpleasant inner feeling about her. Anyway, I walked slowly behind so that I could keep an eye on her in case she stumbled . When we finally reached the top, I addressed her with a smile and said something like "We did it, maybe we should rest for a while " She returned me a smile and said in a somewhat broken English , that she was not tired at all , on the contrary, she felt full of energy ,and ...having said that she just vanished from my sight.

I had a 'crowded' agenda for that day which included visiting places on foot, by bus and by tram, and so I entirely forgot about the lady. In the late afternoon hours, tired and hungry, I entered an eatery and ordered a portion of grilled sardines and a glass of beer. ('Grilled sardines' is a very popular dish in Portugal during the summer months , till the end of October. These are not the canned variety sardines but freshly caught ones, cleaned, brushed with olive oil and grilled on a small charcoal fire for only several minutes each side. It's delicious. One serving has about six sardines and it comes with a small salad and bread, or with some other additions}.

When I lifted my head from the plate, I saw her. What a coincidence, I thought. She was sitting at a table not far from mine. I couldn't see what was on her plate, but I definitely could see a....large bottle of wine near it. And yet, even after this revelation, I was not sure alcohol was behind her zigzag walking that I witnessed in the morning of that day.

on the bus in Lisbon

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Young Girl Putting On The Stocking"

'Young girl putting on the stocking'- that's the name of a fine stone sculpture in the greenhouse of Estufa Fria located in Park Eduardo VII in the heart of the city of Lisbon. Estufa Fria is a botanical garden which houses vegetable species from all over the world, a fish pool, waterfalls, creeks, statues, ponds, exotic plants etc.. It has three main areas (three greenhouses: the hot, the cold and the sweet).

The garden of Estufa Fria
A great attraction in Lisboa:
The nude, the stork , the trees
Exotic plants, shrubs and seeds.

young girl putting on the stocking

Stork in the Estufa Fria

Various plants in the greenhouse

In Portuguese , the name of the naked young woman statue is: 'Menina Calcando a Meia' -'menina' -meaning "girl'. Well, she seemed rather a big girl , in a very sexy posture. Anyway, the statue looked beautiful , and so did the contrast between its light color and the lively color of the greenery around.

The Park , inclusive the greenhouses, is visited by many children. When I was there I scarcely saw any, as it was school hours time. It would have interested me to see their reaction to the nude. And this reminded me of an episode in my hometown - a visit to the house of an acquaintance of mine, a school teacher whose hobby was painting. When I entered the living-room, my eyes caught a painting on the wall representing a woman in nude. "Who painted this"? asked I politely. "Me", came the reply from the school teacher "and if you look closer, you''ll notice that it's Me in the picture. I'm not ashamed to tell you that I like my face, I like my body, and that's the result".

Well, I liked her attitude, and so asked no further questions, although I was curious as to how her two boys and their friends reacted to Mom's nude.