terça-feira, 29 de novembro de 2011


Há uma rua em Riga dedicada a Merkel. O facto de a farmácia se chamar "Drogas" é, acreditem, apenas uma coincidência.

segunda-feira, 28 de novembro de 2011

Estonia and Portugal: what brings our countries together and apart

By João Lopes Marques (Eesti keeles)

When Urmas Vaino asked me, more than a year ago in ETV, what were the main differences and similarities between Estonia and Portugal I froze...

Without acknowleding it, he had just made the most difficult question of my life. We were live in Terevisioon and I was just able to scatter something like “It’s... it´s... Huh, it´s as if we belonged to two different continents...”

Sometimes it seems to me that Portugal and Estonia are more than two countries in Europe’s far edges: a strange magnet brings us together; a ruthless determinism separates us.

Otherwise, it wouldn’t have taken me so long time to identify them...

1. Kaamos & saudade

Similarities first. Not many countries in the world have a specific word for a even more concrete kind of sadness. It’s quite surprising for me that youngest Estonians tend to overlook such an endemic concept.

In fact, I’ve been asking it and just people over 35, or even older, have the ability to define it. “Kaamos? It’s more like a mental stage... It’s between Autumn and Winter, it’s about darkness, Summer is over and Christmas madness (or joy) hasn’t started yet.

Some enjoy it, others just feel sad and lonely”, explained me my friend Rauni. “For me it’s more like nostalgic time when I just want to read and be alone...”

Well, this is the most similar explanation to Portuguese saudade I’ve heard. Yet make no mistake: the concept is still rather different from saudade, although to sense a sharp consciousness of a peculiar sadness is rare.

Most European nations I know opt for straight words like “nostalgy”, “melancholy” or “depression”. Or simply “sadness”. Like the Portuguese, it seems to me Estonians have the power to enjoy this temporary darkness of the soul, the moment a negative euphoria takes us over with our rational consent.

It’s the lovely power to pushing something heavy into the most poetic zone of the spirit.

I guess this is why Estonians understand so well our most important poet, Fernando Pessoa. Morevoer, I believe it’s not a coincidence kaamus is ethymologicaly so close to kaemus, “to think about world and yourself in it”, as Kairi put it.

And what’s exactly Portuguese saudade? A state of mind that makes us grieve the absence of somebody or something. A concrete person, our distant home, a time that has already past. A palliative remembering technique against deep spiritual pain.

The hope that counters fado, more than our national song, a heavy karma Portuguese love to self-inflict in themselves: fado is a synonym of fate...

2. Adeus vs. nägemist

Yes, at the very same time there is an tension between us. Invisible. It is much less obvious than the dichotomy to-kiss-or-not-to-kiss. In fact, the difference between an Estonian nägemist and a Portuguese adeus beats the 4,000 kilometers that separate us.

It’s nothing minor: a farewell phrase, whatever it can be, is one of the most important in every culture. Unlike the Portuguese, Estonian people can show an unbearable sharp goodbye. Words are irrelevant here: nägemist, head aega, tšau... Locals pronounce it in a dry and pragmatic way, with plenty of conviction.

They seldom feel the need to repeat it while looking back. Or coming back. Or hugging three times while saying “Hey, we really have to keep in touch!” before they are convinced it´s a normal goodbye.

Another one, as usual.

An Estonian nägemist is rather different. It hints that to see that person again is everything but essential. That's understated if you meet, you meet. If you don´t, you don't. Life. From my experience, homesickness is also possible in an Estonian mind — but far from being a daily tragedy. 

Honestly, I don´t remember hearing the word “hüvasti”. Or “Jumalaga”. For some reaons, both are a very rare event. And that´s exactly what “adeus” means: “God be with you!” Yet what could be an extraordinary gap is nothing but another Estonian singularity. Even English “Goodbye!” means it.

Yes, Atheists don´t think too much about The Creator. Him, Himself. Of course, we can always pretend the Venice dialect import ciao — “tšau” in Estonia, “tchau” in Portugal — can solve most situations.

Paradoxically, it unites us since the 1980´s or so. The phonetics is nice and it´s like shaking hands halfway. “A contemporary colloquial farewell is polylinguistic”, assured me Mihkel: “Okey, ciao, paka ja nägemist..." It´s pretty cool, although it sounds slightly artificial to me. Too modern, maybe.

Deep in our souls we keep our own traditional way to say goodbye. Identity. A neutral and God-free nägemist will hardly have any relation to a painful Christian-rooted adeus.

The ultimate consequence?

We go opposite directions: Estonians prefer silent emotions and hide; we tend to play a small theatre. Perhaps due to our poetic introspection styles — kaamos or saudade, kaemos or fado — we both think a lot about those farewell moments that...


Oops, turn out to be radically different. Never mind, it could be much worse: hopefully, we are not that antagonic. On contrary: I still believe a metaphysical force connects these two distant edges of Europe.

Lucky us.


Vicente vem grogue: apesar de ser mais Botero, diagnosticaram-lhe uma magrite.

sexta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2011

Por água abaixo

A boca encontra-se na boca do Metro dos Restauradores. Fica o registo enviado por Filipe Araújo, o nosso dispendioso correspondente em Lisboa. Porque restaurar algo é urgente e o Salmão também nada, aliás, anda muito preocupado.

quarta-feira, 23 de novembro de 2011

sábado, 19 de novembro de 2011


Entusiasmado, e ainda mais ofegante, Maurício surgiu-nos com uma bela novidade. É isso mesmo em que estão a pensar: agora tinha uma nova idade.

quarta-feira, 16 de novembro de 2011

Melaka? Maybe "Malaika"...

Desculpa, Jeanette

Finns and Estonians, two very different ways of wife-carrying

By João Lopes Marques (Eesti keeles)

It’s an usual remark. “I bet in Estonian there is a huge rivalry between locals and Russian girls”, always hint my foreign friends after a couple of days in Tallinn. “Not really...”, I reply. Of course, I could add Russians believe Estonians are not hot enough and Estonians mock Russians because they dress like a Christmas Tree.

However, all in all, fair-play and respect prevails. And that’s an admirable achievement in this society. Somehow, Estonians and Russian sense they are not direct competitors: nowadays, Estonian men very seldom favour Russian girls and I have known very few local Russian men who end up with an Estonian partner.

For the worse and for the better: one country, two systems. Full integration is still a mirage. Actually, when it comes to competition — really serious and stiff competition — Estonians love to challenge the Finns. It seems to me that harmony in the Gulf of Finland is not a project for tomorrow. For the distant alien it can even turn into a soap-opera-like discussion.

Indeed, the silliest arguments can pop up as early October mushrooms.

From the Finnish side, three top sentences:

● “Estonian girls love to steal Finnish men...”
● “They look nice, but you don’t want to end up with a stripper;
● “Would you want to be with someone like Anu Saagim?”;
● “It’s a pity Estonian girls are not independent...”

From the Estonian side I’ve heard a slightly wider range:

● “Finnish girls? OK, but be prepared for some kilos here and there...”
● “Huh, those girls are just spoilt by money...”
● “Nothing against, but why do they insist in drinking and smoke like men?”
● “They should improve their taste and think twice about their haircuts...”
● “Even if they have H&M and can afford good clothes, they still don’t care about what they wear...” 

Prejudice and stereotypes abound in large amounts. “Remember that close relatives can be the cruelest between themselves”, I try explain my guests. “Bear in mind there are nearly 40,000 Estonians living in Finland and something like 7,000 or 8,000 Finns here... Moreover, Helsinki lies 62 miles from Tallinn...”

Paradoxically, History determined that two countries that share the same romantic anthem, plus founding Kalev, belong to two very different cosmogonies. Somehow, Finland represents what Estonia could had been without Soviet occupation. It’s not easy to digest such a gap, but I guess lately I’ve discovered the perfect metaphor.

Wife-carrying championships, of course. I start believing alll Finnish-Estonian problematics is enclosed there:

● The original course is a rough and rocky terrain with fences and brooks, a perfect analogy of the über-Nordic harsh geography;
● The competition takes after a 19th century Finnish thief called Rosvo-Ronkainen, whose accomplices specialized in the fine art of stealing women;
● There is some romance in the air: in wife-carrying races husband and wife are teammates;
● Intuitive understanding of the signals sent by the partner are absolutely essential to win;
● Despite the fact there are every year a dozen of countries represented, just Estonians can compete and fully understand the meaning of this Finnish-born competition;
● Being five times smaller than its inventors, Estonians have won it more times in the last decade;
● Even the Finns are giving up their two original styles (piggyback and fireman’s carry) to embrace the Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist).

This said, I must underline the last champions were a Finnish couple again, the ultimate proof there isn’t still a clear conclusion about the ultimate model. If, on one hand, living in a perfect Welfare State (Finland) can push people towards a dangerous comfort zone, on the other hand, present-day social wilderness (Estonia) is pushing lots of youngster overseas. Needless to say, I’m crossing my fingers for the Estonian-style to win. It’s bolder and riskier. Sharper and sexier. Feminine.

However, it’s far from being clear who’s going to be the victor. This specific competition takes more than 250 meters: the answer to this tension will come just in one generation or two. In the meantime, plenty of time for Gulf of Finland girls to distillate creative jokes about each others.

terça-feira, 15 de novembro de 2011


Suzanne preferia os homens maduros. Verdes, bom, verdes só os olhos.

O vídeo vermelhucho que nos faltava

Cortesia de Askur Alas. Uma Kalinka destemida fica sempre bem. Faltava-nos e o Salmão agradece.

Quem sabre, sabre

"Inglés, no prometas nunca lo que no puedas cumplir."

Da generosidade

Bilhetes de avião para o mundo inteiro ou bilhetes de avião para todos nós? Mas não cavalguemos mais na dúvida: embarquemos!

Obrigado, C. Silva

domingo, 13 de novembro de 2011

domingo, 6 de novembro de 2011

sábado, 5 de novembro de 2011

A moda dos calendários

É um clássico da camionagem. Mas, Pirelli ou não, encontramo-los hoje até na mais insuspeita retrete. Ou "WC", que é muito mais elegante. Bem-hajam.

sexta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2011


Zé Maria era um tipo assertivo: com um simples machete ainda fez uma dúzia de manchetes.


Muita razão tem Manfred. Esta paranóia dos alemães vem de longe: "Há 500 anos andávamos obcecados com a reforma, agora só pensamos na conta-reforma..."

quinta-feira, 3 de novembro de 2011

Sinhozinho Ma(l)ta?

Lima Duarte
Duarte Lima


Wolfgang desculpava-se sempre com os lás. Ainda piores do que as garotas, muitíssimo piores, asseverava. Na pauta, naquelas cinco estúpidas linhitas da pauta, nunca percebia bem se eram maiores ou menores. 

Olha que três...

Às vezes, só às vezes, o Salmão até acredita que Zlatan é a figura mais romanesca do futebol. A seguir a Mourinho, claro. Há fotos maravilhosas (nem é preciso meter dedos nos olhos).

Cachorro VIP

Por que será que na Sardenha todos querem ser estrelas?

Santa Polónia

Apesar de alguns assomos ultracatólicos, parte do folclore afinal, nas ruas da polaca Gdansk vive-se hoje uma saudável atmosfera de tolerância. É bonito de se ver. Estacionemos o preconceito. 


Tinha aveia para o negócio.