World Travel Awards in St Petersburg. Portugal gets ‘Oscar’ for best destination in Europe

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Downtown Lisbon with Cacilhas across the river

You see the brightly lit port across the river  (in the left of the picture) ? That’s where I live. Not right in the port of course but just ten minutes walk from the riverside.  Can you see the huge shining white statue near the beautiful red bridge ? That is the famous Cristo Rei statue from where we can have the best views in the Lisbon area.

So in the prestigious World Travel awards in Leningrad, Portugal has won the title of Best European Destination. I guess it’s because I live here. But people just love this country and I’m no exception. The people, the food, the culture, the cost of living; it is a terrific country. It’s a shame they put onions in everything though.

The days are zooming past and I’m really busy almost all the time.  I don’t know where my time goes. Our business is incredible and I had no idea we would be so successful. I’m trying to repaint the entrance hall but each time I start, something happens and I have to stop my work. Maybe I will try again tomorrow when Kumar will be home all day to cook lunch and help me out generally.

I hope all my readers will have a pleasant weekend.


Greetings from sundrenched Lisbon. A blog specially for Mariza Dos Santos in Sao Paulo.

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Leo & Celia at Cristo Rei (near my home)

Pooja, I’m not trying to make you jealous with my subject line. But we really are sundrenched.

In this picture you can see two of my friends from Brazil, Leo and Celia. They are staying in my home for a few days and I think they are enjoying Lisbon. That place is called Cristo Rei (Christ The King). It’s a thirty minute walk from my home and offers some magnificent views of Lisbon, The bridge and the estuary where it opens into The Atlantic Ocean.

Here they are again in the city centre, across the river.  I want to send this blog to their Mum in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  I hope Google does the correct translation.

Leo & Celia in Lisboa

Everybody is welcome to visit us here in Lisbon but only two people maximum at a time, please. Lisbon is now the ‘in’ city of Europe and everybody seems to have a wonderful time here.

My four lottery tickets


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So in my previous blog I wrote that I no longer try the lottery. Well four days ago I, on impulse, bought four tickets as I was walking back from the local supermercado. About ten minutes ago I checked all four tickets and I didn’t even get a minor prize. I’m disappointed. I was fully expecting to win, at least something. Should I try again or not bother ?

People are not spending so much time in social and blogging sites. I guess that like almost everything before, the novelty has worn off and people are looking for new things.  I’ve noticed this in WordPress, Blogger and in facebook.  I definitely shouldn’t be spending my time here today because I have so much to do. Business is booming and I’ve been working since 5 am, answering enquiries and emails from our customers. I rarely get any free time. In case I also decide to quit these social sites, I have the email addresses of my best contacts. I mean the people who I want to remain in contact with permanently. Friends like Pooja from Kathmandu and Lodz.

I’m taking a lot of care of my eyes after my red eye problems earlier this year. I’m trying to limit my online time and spend most time online for essential reasons only.

Do any of my Portuguese friends know where I can buy an oil filled room heater here in Lisbon ?  I know I can find them late December in Worten and Jumbo Box etc but I want to buy two of them right now and nobody knows where there are any.


20 more questions copied from Pedro

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Computer desk in twin bedded room

This picture was taken after I had cleaned the windows. They are not always that clean.

These questions are by courtesy of Pedro Fernandes. Some of them are only for Portuguese people but I will answer what I can.

01.   Have you ever gone on a diet ?

Yes I have, three times I think. The first two were successful but short lasting. The third one is long lasting and I’ve lost 16 kilos in the past year. It’s horribly difficult but I’m good at it now, I think.

02.    Name three of your successes in life.

I have always been successful with business, including our present business which has gone up like a rocket.  Now we must work hard on a new venture of Kumar’s. Fingers crossed. When Luma and other family members get here, they will all be assigned jobs hahaha.

03.     Porto or Lisboa ?

I can’t answer this one except to say that I live in Lisboa and I’ve not yet been up to Porto.

04.    Name three of my failures.

Oh wow this is difficult and I’d need to search my memory banks because I can’t think of much. I don’t think I’ll answer this one.

05.    Do  you recycle your waste ?

I recycle everything I can. Scrupulously.

06.   Right or left handed ?

I’m right handed but my handwriting is disgusting these days due to so many years of using keyboards.

07.    Name three of your favourite movies.

God’s Army 2

A Good Year

The Holiday

Well I have so many favourite movies in addition to these.

08.    Are you 100% honest with these answers ?

Well very few people are 100% honest but yes, all these answers are 100% honest

09.    Do you have the latest iphone ?

No, and I’ve no intention of buying one. I am not a mobile phone person but I am totally addicted to my laptop.

10.    Name three of your biggest disappointments in life

There have been several but the three which come to my mind first are :-

a.  Many years ago I gave a ‘friend’ a lot of help over a two year period to get to the UK and start a new life in Bournemouth, only to later discover that the person was a total fake, using me to the full.  I was quickly cast aside when the person achieved his ambitions. I haven’t heard from the person in years and that says it all.

b.   I failed my GCE O level in Art after I thought I had done brilliantly in that exam. I still can’t understand it.

c.    I was bitterly disappointed many years ago when I discovered that a business partner was stealing money. That was the beginning of the end of an otherwise great business relationship. I won’t go into names because there are still relatives to consider.

11.    Do you try the lottery ?

Not these days. I’ve so many things to do and to think about. I used to buy tickets regularly and won dozens of minor prizes that weren’t worth the bother.

12.    What news has shocked you recently ?

a.  North Korea playing incredibly dangerous games and risking a nuclear war.

b.  A Nepalese man stabbed another Nepali to death in the city centre a few days ago. He also injured another Nepali with his knife.

13.    What about Madonna living in Lisbon ?

Uh ? I hadn’t heard. Everybody seems to be moving to Lisbon these days. Everybody loves Lisbon. And Portuguese people are super nice. I wish people were as nice in the UK.

14.    Do you support bullfighting ?

I am disgusted by it.  I am disgusted by anybody who kills or hunts for pleasure. Many say they are hunting for food but I think we all know that they get a big kick out of killing animals.

15.    What about Antonio Costa ?

I don’t have an opinion and I wouldn’t write it anyway. I don’t get involved at all with politics here in Portugal.

16.    Have you ever stolen anything ?

Yes I have when I was young. Now I wouldn’t consider it.

17.    Name three things which traumatized you as a child.

a.   My mother died when I was 15 and at a time when I had very bad relations with my father.  I left home and went to live with my grandparents.

b.   My father once hit me on the head so hard that I saw stars and almost passed out on the shed floor. He had given me something far too heavy for me to carry and I spilled the kerosene on the floor. It wasn’t my fault. There seemed nobody to turn to at the time. Later in life I had excellent relations with my Dad who seemed to have changed completely.

c.  I was in an accident where somebody got killed. It’s a bit hard to talk about this one.

18.  Should Portugal remain in the EU ?

I’ve no idea. Would it be called Prexit ?

19.    Do you give your seat to elderly people or people with disabilities ?

Hahaha, people give their seats to me all the time here because I am elderly and I have a disability. Portuguese people are wonderful in this respect. The way it used to be in the UK.  This has to be one of the best places to live in the world. Except for the heat.

20.   Are you proud to be Portuguese ?

Maybe one day but right now I’m still a British citizen. Yes I would be proud to be a Portuguese. A lot of really great people in this country.

I don’t have time to edit this for mistakes. I’ll try to do it in the coming days/

It’s a champagne Sunday, amazing kindness from Portuguese.

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Steps over in Alfama

It’s 1:23 pm on Sunday here and I’m feeling a bit too stoned to type hahahaha.  I’m not really much of a drinker as my friends will know, but I do have my moments and today is one of them.  We opened a bottle of magnificent champagne at 11:40 am and now we’re on a bottle of excellent Portuguese vinho verde and I feel like I’m floating on air right now. Kumar is cooking a fish lunch (red fish) and I came to my room to check my messages and suddenly I decided to write a short article in WordPress. Kumar will be back to work tomorrow so back to cooking for me.

Last week we received the most amazing kindness from a Portuguese man who appeared from nowhere in the checkout queue in Lidl Supermarket, Pragal. We had a very heavy load to carry home and the man saw me struggling with all the shopping and suddenly announced that he would take us home in his car. He had a huge new airconditioned car and we were home ten minutes later. I’ve never been more grateful in my life. We often come across amazing spontaneous kindness here in Portugal. Of course, just like anywhere else, not everybody is good and I’ve met a few nasty characters here but in general, Portuguese people are incredibly helpful and kind and I feel totally at home here in Cacilhas. My neighbours here are also generally very kind although the people upstairs are pretty anti social and I wish they’d move somewhere else.

I have loved living here in the Lisbon area for the past 2.1/2 years and also loved all the stupidly cheap prices of wine hahaha. We get a lot of visitors here for most of the year, even though this apartment is much too small. We just take two visitors maximum at one time. The weather is a bit too hot for me here and we have no airconditioning here. I wouldn’t mind moving to Austria or Germany where summers would be more bearable.

I haven’t edited this post because I am seeing double right now. I’ll correct any mistakes tomorrow.

Den and Jiem

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A corner of my house

Memories came flooding back to me this morning when I met an old Thai friend online here. Long ago I lived for a few years in the far north of Thailand, in a place called Chiang Rai.  That’s a picture of a corner of my home (above). On that wonderful, shady patio a group of us friends would often gather in the evenings to drink ice cold beer, sparkling white wine and even stronger drinks sometimes.

One of my bedroom walls had turned black because of  a serious damp problem caused by leakage up on the roof. It took us a while to realize that the problem was up on the roof and not with the wall itself.  Everybody tried but nobody could pinpoint the problem. Even my friend Darunee had a go and her builders did some operation to the level of the roof floor but the dampness continued. It went on for about a year or more and we had many almighty rain storms in Chiang Rai so the problem got worse and worse.

One day two of my friends came around,  Jiem and Den. We got a ladder and went up to the roof to try to pinpoint the source of the leak. It didn’t take me long to see the cause. The topmost brick of the wall was cracked and during rain storms the water was leaking from this broken brick and finding its way down to my bedroom wall.

Den and Jiem immediately jumped into action and went on their motorcycles to bring some sand and cement and whatever waterproofing material they needed. Within fifteen minutes they had cemented over that broken brick and the surrounding area and the problem was solved. A major problem for me was finished and my bedroom wall eventually dried out so that I could sand and repaint it.

Jiem married an English girl and now lives in Chelmsford, Essex, England.  Den still lives in Chiang Rai Province and is a musician, teaching the piano. I interact with Den quite often but with Jiem, rarely, because he doesn’t bother too much with the internet. I wonder if you will ever read this, Den.


























Know me with these 20 questions

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I got these questions from Pedro’s blog this morning and I thought I would fill in my own answers.  You might know me better after reading this.

01   Name three things which you loved as a child.

When the ice cream van came to our street and I had enough pennies to buy myself an ice cream.

Cycling to Heathrow Airport to watch the planes

Going to stay for my summer holidays down in Dover with my three cousins.

02.   Is there something which scares you ?

Yes some things. Going to bed in Kathmandu and waking up in an earthquake.

Treading on a snake in the darkness

Flying through heavy turbulence

03.   Do you have a recurring dream ?

Yes but it has changed over the years. These days I am in an old, dark hut, in the Himalayas and there are many snakes in the darkness. There is usually a river flowing through the sitting room. Yes I know that’s strange.

04.   Which movie star influences you most ?

Nobody. I am not easily influenced. I do enjoy watching Julia Roberts movies though.

05.   Do you have a favourite colour ?

Blood red. Purple. I tend to dislike orange and brown unless they are in nature.

06.   Do you have secrets ?

I think everybody does. I’m very deep in some ways but very open in other ways.

07.   Tea or coffee?

I’m totally addicted to tea. I have an occasional cup of coffee.

08.   Wine or beer?

Both. Wine in winter. Beer in summer. I dislike spirits

09.   Do you enjoy being alone?

Yes, sometimes I need to be alone but not for too long. I like having my own space but with family/friends nearby

10. What time do you normally sleep ?

No fixed time but early. I wake up early too. Normally before dawn.

11. Your favourite food?

Many. Nepalese dalbhat, cheese fondue, fish & chips, chicken cordon bleu.

12. Do you have an ambition ?

It’s too late in life for ambitions. I want to live away from a city, in the countryside, and see only nature from my home.  I want space for my dog to run around and I would like to grow organic fruit and vegetables.

13.   What things annoy you?

Inconsiderate people. Thoughtless people. Greed. Change for the sake of change. Mobile phones everywhere. Unruly kids with oblivious parents.

14.   Do you believe in God ?

I don’t believe there’s a man in the sky. There could be something which we don’t understand. I believe in nature. Maybe God and nature are one.

15.  Football or tennis ?

Definitely not tennis. I sometimes relax in my reclining chair with a glass of very cold beer and watch a good football match.

16.   Do you have a sweet tooth ?

Yes but I am very good at controlling myself and these days avoid anything with sugar.

17.   What is your favourite country ?

I haven’t seen them all but so far it must be Switzerland or Japan.

18.   Dogs or cats ?

I’m a German Shepherd person. I’ve never had a cat but they seem a bit impersonal for me

19   Do you like crowds ?

Not unless it’s family. Two or three friends is good for me.

20.   Do you have a favourite TV programme ?

It has to be Air Crash Investigation on National Geographic