Portugal the man – Colors

shoe-tagging on dundas st

shoe-tagging on dundas st

Five million people could not be wrong, Canada’s largest city has everything an urban person could hope for. I fell for the city right after leaving the airplane as I waited in the customs line, which was composed of hundreds of people from all over the world, speaking different languages and wearing unique outfits. This extraordinary blend of cultures, which some of them I had never even heard of, builds this welcoming city where prejudice seems to have been reduced to a minimum.

Cinco milhões de pessoas não poderiam estar enganadas. A maior cidade do Canadá possui tudo que uma pessoa urbana poderia desejar. Eu me apaixonei pela cidade assim que deixei o avião, na fila para cruzar a fronteira; a qual era composta por centenas de pessoas dos quatro cantos do mundo, falando línguas diferentes e vestidas de acordo com sua cultura. Esta mistura extraordinária de culturas, algumas das quais eu ainda nem havia ouvido falar, constrói esta cidade acolhedora, na qual o preconceito parece ter sido reduzido a um mínimo.
solar panels are a sign of a pro-active city

Solar panels are a good sign of a pro-active city

In spite of criticism and gossip from a few outsiders, Toronto is definitely the place to be in Canada. A city where 49% of its population immigrated from other countries and brought their customs, colors and lifestyle; creating this cosmopolitan and universal centre in the world. This land of opportunities, is made of hundreds distinctives neighbourhoods, and has something to offer to everyone who has an open-mind.

Apesar do criticismo e da fofoca de algumas pessoas de outros lugares, Toronto é definitivamente o lugar para estar no Canadá. Uma cidade onde 49% de seus habitantes imigraram de outros países e trouxeram com eles seus costumes, cores e estilos de vida; criando este centro cosmopolita e universal. Esta terra de oportunidades é composta por centenas de bairros característicos e possui algo para oferecer para qualquer pessoa com uma cabeça aberta.
Chinatown

Chinatown

I started exploring the city in downtown, which is filled with skyscrapers and serves as base for the country’s financial district. Street blocks are packed with people, bicycles, cars, street cars, buses and more people. One of its main streets reminded me a lot of Times Square in New York City, where people gathered for whatever reasons and were surrounded by lights, signs and information. The idea of walking around the city along with thousands of people, traffic on the streets, and a little bit of pollution was inexplicable; it just felt like home for me. The act of sharing a subway ride with a person to whom you would probably never be exposed to makes me feel alive and hopeful for the future.

Eu comecei a explorar a cidade em sua área central, a qual é cercada de arranha-céus e serve de base para o centro financeiro do país. As ruas da cidade são repletas de pessoas, bicicletas, carros, trens elétricos, ônibus e mais pessoas. Uma de suas ruas principais me lembrou muito da Times Square em Nova York, onde as pessoas reúnem-se por diversos motivos e são rodeados por luzes, inúmeros outdoors e muita informação. A idéia de caminhar pela cidade lado a lado com milhares de pessoas, engarrafamentos e uma dose moderada de poluição é inexplicável; me fez sentir em casa. O ato de compartilhar uma viagem de metrô com uma pessoa a qual você provavelmente nunca entraria em contato na vida me fez sentir vivo e esperançoso a respeito do futuro.
Ontario College of Arts and Design

Ontario College of Arts and Design

Downtown has a lot to offer, nonetheless, the real Toronto adventure starts as you walk away from the centre towards its neighbourhoods. It doesn’t take long for the tall buildings to become unique townhouses, and for each area’s characteristics starting to appear. You can walk for 5 miles on a straight line and cross over a dozen environs marked by various nations and cultures. Block after block, the sense of community and multinationalism fills the street blocks and creates this amazing city.

O centro da cidade tem muito a oferecer, no entando, a verdadeira aventura em Toronto começa a partir do momento em que você se dirige em direção aos bairros. Não demora muito para que os grandes edíficios comecem a se transformar em casas de dois ou três andares, e para que as características de cada  bairro comecem a serem notadas. Você pode andar por mais de 7 quilômetros numa linha reta e passar por mais de uma dúzia de vizinhaças claramente marcadas por nações e culturas diferentes. Quadra após quadra, a sensação de comunidade e diversidade preenche as ruas; criando esta cidade maravilhosa. 
Subway station

Subway station

Considered one of the world’s most livable cities, Toronto occupies a special place in my top 5 favorite spots. From an artist’s perspective, the city is heaven. Art galleries, museums, theatres and cinemas are plentiful across town. For the food savvy, the city offers cuisines from every possible nation, from inexpensive authentic homestyle food to the finest dining experience. Toronto is a mix of everything good from New York, São Paulo and Melbourne, and I am proud to announce that it will soon be considered the centre of my world. I promise to keep you posted with weekly entries about this outstanding place.

Considerada uma das cidades com melhor nível de vida no mundo, Toronto já ocupa um lugar especial entre as minhas cinco cidades favoritas. No ponto de vista de um artista, a cidade é o paraíso. Galerias de arte, museus, teatros e cinemas existem em excesso por todo lado. Para aqueles com um paladar afiado, a cidade oferece cozinhas de cada nação possível no mundo – de restaurantes autênticos com comida caseira aos mais contemporâneos e requintados. Toronto é uma mistura de tudo de bom de Nova York, São Paulo e Melbourne; e eu estou orgulhoso de anunciar que muito em breve a cidade será considerada o novo centro do meu mundo. Eu prometo manter-lhes informados a respeito deste lugar incrível com postagens semanais a respeito de suas peculiaridades.
Shop at Kensington Market

Shop at Kensington Market

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Probably one of the coolest features I have noticed in Texas are the old-fashioned signs. They are everywhere representing an incredible variety of businesses, and are made mostly from aluminum, lights and neon. I am fascinated by the signs and how much they have influenced my artwork since I moved here. 

Provavelmente uma das características mais marcantes do Texas são as antigas placas. Elas estão por toda parte representando uma grande variedade de estabelecimentos, sendo feitas principalmente de alumínio, luzes e neon. Devido a minha fascinação pela estética destas placas e o quando elas têm influênciado o meu trabalho desde que eu mudei para cá, resolvi escrever este artigo expondo ao mundo o meu ponto de vista.
austin

Ice cream shop in Austin

This ice cream shop is a good example of Austin’s aesthetic, and the sign on the ground could be a good example of the easygoing lifestyle there. The vibrant city energy can be felt anywhere, with its abundant cafes, bars and music venues. Home of two major music festivals in the USA – Austin City Limits and South by Southwest – the city is known as the cultural capital of the south; and its alternative and liberal customs make it such a special place in Texas. 

A sorveteria mostrada na fotografia é um ótimo exemplo da estética em Austin. A placa derrubada na calçada pode servir como exemplo do estilo de vida descontraído da cidade. A energia vibrante é sentida em todos os lugares; representada por seus inúmeros cafés, bares a casas de espetáculo. A cidade é palco de dois dos maiores festivais de música dos EUA – Austin City Limits e South by Southwest – e seus costumes liberalistas e alternativos fazem deste um lugar muito especial aqui no Texas.
austin

The Yard Dog in Austin

These shops are located on South Congress Avenue, and they remind me a lot of Silverlake, in Los Angeles; and Haight Street, in San Francisco. The street is home to a remarkable collection of vintage shops, independent designer boutiques and family-owned restaurants; which are beautifully represented by these unique signs. The same way NYC has its famous I Love NY t-shirts, Austin has the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” as its trademark. The slogan can be found on innumerable souvenirs as well as tagged around different parts of the city.

As lojas localizadas na South Congress Avenue lembram-me muito de Silverlake, em Los Angeles; e Haight Street em São Francisco. A rua é marcada por uma coleção renomada de brechós, boutiques de estilistas independentes e restaurantes familiares; os quais são bem representados por estas incríveis placas. Da mesma maneira que Nova York possui sua famosa marca com suas camisetas “Eu amo NY”, Austin é dona do slogan “Mantenha Austin Estranha”. O mesmo pode ser encontrado em inúmeros produtos de recordação, bem como marcados nas paredes em diversas partes da cidade.
austin

Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds in Austin

A collection of international pop culture icons from across the universe was used on this store’s layout creating a vintage look, and making reference to the Beatles. The highlight is the Austin version of the Portuguese-born Brazilian Muse from the 40s “Carmen Miranda”. Carmen Miranda was a samba singer and actress who represented Brazil world wide, after becoming a Broadway star and not only the highest paid artist in Hollywood; but also the highest paid woman in the United States. In Brazil she is considered the precursor of the “Tropicalismo” movement. 

Uma coleção de ícones internacionais da cultura pop ao redor do universo foi utilizada na fachada da loja “Lucy in Disguise”, criando um visual antigo e descolado; fazendo referência aos Beatles. Mas o destaque da fachada é a versão de Austin da musa brasileira dos anos quarenta, Carmen Miranda. Nascida em Portugal, a cantora de samba e atriz imigrou ao Brasil representando o país mundo afora. Sua fama transformou-a em estrela da Boradway e não apenas a mais bem paga atriz de Hollywood; mas também na mulher com o maior salário no mundo do entertenimento, nos Estados Unidos. No Brasil, ela é considerada uma das precusoras da Tropicalia.
fort worth

Leddy Boots in Fortworth

Fort Worth is the next big city near Dallas, and is part of the Metroplex. The city is also the place where tourists go to experience the country culture. It is typical for someone who doesn’t know Dallas, to imagine the city as a cowboy’s paradise; but in reality, this misperception couldn’t be further from the truth.  Although Dallas is strongly influenced by the country culture, Fort Worth is the place where one would go to experience that.

Fort Worth é o grande centro urbano vizinho de Dallas, fazendo parte do Metroplex. A cidade é o lugar procurado pelos turistas interessados na cultura sertaneja. É bastante comum para quem não conhece Dallas imaginar a cidade como o paraíso sertanejo. Entretando, na realidade esta idéia fica longe da realidade. Embora Dallas tenha sido fortemente influênciada por esta cultura, Fort Worth é o lugar ideal se você está em busca desta experiência.
fort worth

Riscky's Stakehouse in Fort Worth

Main Street in Fort Worth is home to most of its tourist attractions, such as bars, restaurants, boot shops and souvenirs in general. For the meat savvy, the street may be the right spot to try that authentic Southern BBQ. The street also holds the twice-daily Longhorn parade, which should not be missed.

A rua principal Main Street, localizada no centro de Forth Worth é o local onde encontram-se a maioria das atrações turísticas, bem como seus bares, restaurantes, lojas de botas e lembranças em geral. Para os amantes de uma boa carne assada, a rua é o lugar ideal para experimentar o autêntico churrasco texano. Lá você também vai presenciar a Parada do Gado (Longhorn Parade), a qual acontece duas vezes ao dia e é imperdível. 
fort worth

Hunter Brother's Ranch in Fort Worth

The bar below may not have the trendiest sign, but they guarantee “Cold Beer” and “Hot Women”. What else could one wish for? Though low on design appeal, I figured it deserved mention in this entry.

O bar abaixo pode não apresentar a placa mais hype, mas eles garantem “Cerveja Gelada” e “Mulher Gostosa”. O que mais alguém poderia desejar? Mesmo que não tenha um grande apêlo visual, eu pensei que merecesse uma menção nesta entrada.
fort worth

PR's in Fort Worth

Dallas has so many distinctive signs, and here I am highlighting one single corner on Oak Lawn Ave at Bowser. The corner is in my opinion, considered Lucas’ hood. The best sign belongs to a no longer existing bed and breakfast called “Lucas”. The current business belongs to the Seafood Restaurant Chain “Pappadeaux”. 

Dallas possui uma variedade imensa de placas estilizadas, e neste artigo eu estarei focalizando em um único cruzamento entre as ruas Oak Lawn e Bowser. O melhor luminoso pertence a um antigo hotel chamado Lucas B&B, o qual atualmente cede lugar ao novo restaurante de frutos-do-mar Pappadeux, Devido a sua estética estabelecida na região, o novo estabelecimento manteve a sinalização original. 
dallas

Lucas Bed and Breakfast in Dallas

The neighborhood diner Luckys Cafe is located just across the Street, and its Sunday Brunch is part of my weekly agenda. The food is as good as any other good diner, but where it truly shines is its extremely friendly and helpful staff. On the opposite side of the street is located Luke’s Locker, which is not shown here, but deserves some credit. They are the best sports shop in the area, focusing on running and triathlon. That’s where a big chunk of my paycheck goes.

O modesto restaurante Luckys Café fica localizado do outro lado da rua, e seu famoso Brunch de domingo é parte da minha agenda semanal. A comida é típica de restaurantes da mesma categoria, mas o grande destaque vai para o atendimento amigável e altamente eficiente. No lado oposto da rua fica localizado a loja esportiva Luke’s Locker, a qual não está sendo mostrada aqui mas deserve algum crédito. Sendo a melhor loja do gênero na área, especializada em corrida e triatlon, este é o lugar onde eu gasto uma grande parcela do meu pagamento.
dallas

Luckys Cafe in Dallas

Snookie’s Bar & Grill is located on the other corner of the intersection.  I haven’t tried yet, but their sign is very interesting and it appears to be busy most of the time.

Snookie’s Bar & Grill fica localizado na outra esquina do cruzamento. Eu ainda não experimentei, entretando, sua sinalização é interessante e o lugar está cheio na maioria das vezes.
dallas

Snookie's Bar & Grill

Among all these signs, Lucas B&B is my favorite. There are several other signs I have seen but haven’t been able to photograph yet. A good friend of mine told me about some pretty unique ones in Arlington, which I should be checking out soon. Slowly, I am discovering some unique characteristics in Texas, which I am going to take with me for the rest of my life.

Dentre todos estes luminosos, Lucas B&B é o meu predileto. Existem várias outras placas as quais eu avistei, porém ainda não tive a oportunidade de fotografá-las.  Aos poucos eu vou descobrindo estas características peculiares do Texas, as quais influenciarão meus passos por onde for, pelo resto de minha vida.
dallas

Lucas Bed and Breakfast in Dallas

 

running for life

December 17, 2008

 

Dallas White Rock Marathon 2008 by Ricky Moon / DMN Contributor

It’s been exactly 16 months since I ran my first race. I ran the “America’s Finest City Half Marathon” in August of 2007, in San Diego, California. That race had a major effect in my life, changing myself and the way I see and interact with the world.

My first half-marathon marked a new beginning in my life, it was the moment I realized that a new version of me was possible. A better version, stronger and faster, healthier and responsible. I remember how much I trained for that race; I had to give up on drinking, smoking and most important, had to leave behind a person that I loved, but I had to let go in order to change. It was more than a race, I found myself in some spiritual state of mind that is hard to describe. I’m not a religious person but I can say that was the day I met my God for the first time. I cried and smiled for 13.1 miles, as I watched the movie of my life playing in my mind step after step. That day I said good bye to the old me, and gave birth to that new person who was growing inside of me.

During the past year I ran several races in North America and Australia, and since I moved to Dallas I started taking my training more seriously. I found my happiness in this city through running. After a couple races I had already dropped 1 hour from the mark of my first race, only a year ago; and race after race I get closer and closer to the top finalists.

The main goal of all my training was to run my first full-length marathon, which I decided it was going to be the Dallas White Rock Lake. My training was going extremely well until I injured myself running the DRC Half-marathon six weeks before the big day. The 42nd overall position ended up resulting in 5 weeks off-training, and consequently a lot of pain, stress, fear and the beginning of a depressive state. Thanks to the support, patience and dedication of my partner I was almost 100% recovered one week before the race.

The Dallas White Rock Lake Marathon happened last Sunday, December 14th. I joined over 17,000 people, which had their individual reasons and goals for the event. The weather conditions were extremely rough with strong winds of up to 30mph, and temperature above 50 degrees. My right foot hurt me for about 16 of the 26 miles and at several moments I thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish it. It was without a doubt the biggest achievement in my life so far, as I realized that not even 1% of the world’s population have tried such thing. By being injured and not had been able to finish my training program, I ended up having to slow my pace down to 9 miles/hour in order to complete the race. The support of the crowd, and the one I love right next to me was fundamental to get me to the finish line, and I did it in 3:59 min, coming in 912 place. 

After the holidays I am going to re-start my training and run another marathon in the spring, in an attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon. My first marathon reinforced the possibilities I saw when I ran my first race in 2007. Today I know exactly who I am, where I am, what I am here for and where I am going to be. Today, I run for life, run through life, and run to give a better life to others.

The photograph used in this entry belongs to Ricky Moon and you can purchase it by clicking here.

 

a little bit of joy…

December 4, 2008

 

little joy by autumn de wilde, extracted from band's myspace page

little joy by autumn de wilde, extracted from band's myspace page


Little joy – Brand new start 

It’s been long since I last posted here. I’m sorry for disappearing, but the changes in my life in the last few months have made me hide inside my own skin. For a long time I haven’t felt like talking, haven’t felt like letting the world know what is going on with me.

I’m living in a new city, a place where I don’t and never will fit in. I have a new job, which I am no longer happy with. I have met some people, but very few have had the appeal for a possible friendship. This is the first time in 8 years that I am living away from the ocean, which appears to be irreplaceable. I feel that part of me has died and I just can’t move on. I see myself in my dreams, I imagine the near future and I work hard so the time goes by quickly. I know better days will come, and that hope and an also irreplaceable love gets me out of bed every morning.

After several attempts to get back to my blog, I got home after a typical average day at work to find a message from a loved one from LA sitting on my instant messenger. It was telling me about nothing less than the band of the year. The band which brought me joy and made me stop all my projects to announce them to the world. I’m talking about “Little Joy”, formed by The Strokes’ brazilian drummer Fabrizio Moretti, Los Hermanos’ brazilian singer/guitarist Rodrigo Amarante, and the american musician Binki Shapiro. The trio has just released its self-titled debut album, which for me was just like love at first sight.  The album brings all the romance from Los Hermanos and the swing from The Strokes, translating into high quality indie rock with a good taste of the new bossa nova.  The project is named after Echo Park’s dive bar “Little Joy”, located on West Sunset Boulevard; place where I have spent several nights of my life.

During my last trip to Brazil two years ago, I found Los Hermanos’ latest album “4”. I brought it back to North America and played it to as many people as I could, and I’ve always wished they had at least one song written in english; so my friends could feel what I feel when I listen to their music. Los Hermanos has always been one of my favorite brazilian bands, it is something that makes me proud of being Brazilian. Now, three weeks before I head back to the tropical country, I bring with me a fresh pearl from North America made by brazilians for the world. If you haven’t bought their album yet, you are missing out. Buy it and spread the word!

As for now I guess I am going to take advantage of the season and make this a brand new start…

Little Joy’s Myspace

source: cibele bossi, echo park – los angeles.

 Midnight Juggernauts – Road to Recovery

Sunshine, californian blue sky. It’s just another beautiful day in southern california. I’m sitting on a train leaving San Diego on my way to Los Angeles. On my left side, the blue pacific ocean which I’m so familiar with; to the right, a city that for many years I called home; behind me, a past filled with memories, experiences, relationships, lessons. Looking at the surfers riding the waves as californian pelicans fly by, my brain instantaneously starts playing the movie of my life. I see scenes of love and hate, hope and self-destruction; I see motion, I feel emotional. Nostalgia fills my eyes with proud tears as it puts a clever smile on my lips. I easily identify the light path which I took, leaving the darkness behind. 

For a while I had forgotten how It feels to be with an old friend, to be loved by an old friend. I had forgotten the feeling of returning to a place where you feel like home. Warmth, receptivity, tenderness, devotion are only words compared to what I’m feeling. Things don’t seem to have changed much since I left, however I see all my friends making progress in their lives. Despite the fact I have been exposed to a whole new world and have been living a completely new lifestyle, I had the feeling that I fitted straight in. It felt like I had been away for a weekend or so, which only proves me that San Diego will always be a city with its arms wide open waiting for me. 

My californian chapter has probably been the most important of my life so far. A period marked by self-discovery, life learning experience, affection, and overall my road to recovery. In California, I found love for the first time. I loved like there was no tomorrow. I also loved drugs, alcohol and rock’n’roll like there was no tomorrow. It was a fun long party that appeared to be endless, nonetheless It ended at the age of 23. Furthermore, I have always believed that the after-party is much more fun than the party itself! It’s been a year since I decided to stay away from any sort of mind altering substances, over and above that It’s also been a year since my life has started making sense. Today I look back and smile for having gone through what I have. I smile for having loved and being loved, therefore I smile for having survived and learned my lessons

At this point of my life I am complete. I’ve found what I was looking for, I’ve found who I was looking for, thus I’ve found myself. Nowadays when I close my eyes, I clearly see the edge of my body, I see my role in this world, I have control of my actions, and consequently most of the reactions. And at last, but not least, once again I love and I feel loved. Although this time in a clear and true way like I have never felt before.

thecity2.jpg 

 

I wake up a little after six. 

I drink my coffee, while I photograph the sunrise from my window. 

I run to the gym. I work out. I run back home. 

Within thirty minutes I’ve showered. I’ve eaten breakfast. I’ve gotten dressed and ready for the day.

I check my email. 

I walk to work; music pleases my ears. 

I see traffic, I walk. I see squeezed people inside the trams, I keep walking. 

I get to work on time. I have a good time. 

In thirty minutes I eat lunch. 

I then, hurry to school. 

I listen and speak. I write and read. It’s almost six, I have to leave. 

I’m on the streets, I’m one in millions. 

We walk, we run, we line up, we have fun. 

Patiently, we wait. We all have a place to be. 

Together, we face traffic. Together, we become the traffic. 

We breath. We inhale polluted air. We exhale stress. We no longer care. 

We absorb information. We live in the city. We are the city. We are the chaos.

 

hydepark.jpg

It’s been eight years since I left my family’s house, and along these years my family has been the friends I’ve chosen along the way. My parents and sibling will never be replaced in my heart. They are in the place they’ve always been, waiting for me to go back, and share my tears and happiness; things I’ve noticed and learned around this world. My friends are everywhere I’ve been, and everywhere I go I leave a piece of me with them, but always bringing something from them with me. Sometimes you need to feel lonely to realize how important friends are in your life. 

 

Sometimes I see a group of friends having dinner together and I wish they were my friends, or that I could be with my loved ones at that same table, sharing laughs and joy. I remember when I first moved to California. The first friend I made took me to a really special place, It was a humble family-owned restaurant. There were only a few little tables, but there was this special one, in a separate room. That table was only used for groups of six or more. I remember every time I went there, I would stare at that table and wish that one day I would have enough friends in that city, so we could sit there, and share that magical feeling I always saw expressed on other people’s face. I slowly started making friends, one by one, and when I had finally made a handful of them, enough to sit at that special table, I took them there to have that always dreamt dinner. However, they were all there to say good bye.

 

I’ve seen that scene many times in life, and I’ve always wondered if all the adventure and knowledge is worth the pain of missing friends and family. Sometimes I wish I was less adventurous, being able to settle in one place. It’s so painful leaving friends behind. It feels like your heart is being broken in pieces, and distributed between those who stay. Every time I move somewhere new, It always takes me a while to be ready to meet new people. It’s a mixed feeling of wanting to have someone to hang out, but wanting that person to know you like a friend would. I often find really hard to cross the first stages of a friendship. I find It hard to let people know me, part of this is due to the fear of the unknown, but It is also an unconscious fear of becoming good friends, and soon having to say good bye. I guess this is the meaning of life, my life. Making friends, traveling, exploring, loving, missing, learning, teaching, and the most important, keeping the love received from your good friends in your heart, wherever you go.

 

The picture used for this post was taken my best-friend Mauricio Medeiros. It’s been over two years the world hasn’t put us in the same place at the same time. Mauricio is a living legend of the brazilian design living in London. He’s working towards his master’s degree. He’s one of those friends that keep me moving, and make me smile when I see something that makes me think of him. Always followed by the thought: “God, I wish you were here…”

 

shoes, interrupted.

February 24, 2008

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How many times have you walked on a random street; anywhere around the world, looked at the sky and found that lovely pair of shoes laced together bouncing over the power lines? How many times after spotting those shoes have you asked yourself, what are the possible reasons why those shoes are hanging there? If you have found yourself in that situation; and had no answers for the questions, don’t worry. You are not alone!

 

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After having photographed a few hanging shoes around Melbourne, I decided to speculate possibilities that could possibly explain the case. Do people have their shoes stolen on the streets and thrown over the power lines? If so, do the thieves have emotional reasons for doing it this way, instead of taking the shoes with them? Do kids in high school or college do that to their frosh during their o-week? Maybe someone’s shoes were hurting their feet and the person decided to take them off, and throw them away? Could that possibly be the end of the line for those shoes; and instead of throwing them away in the rubbish can, the individual decided to interact with the environment, adding an element to the city’s landscape? Someone once told me It had something to do with marking the spot where a ‘narc’ got beat up (by ‘narc’ the person meant someone that ‘rats’ on their friends). What have you heard about it?

 

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With all that cogitation added to the considerable amount of shoes I’ve seen hanging over the power lines in Melbourne, my questions are: Is this act becoming more common nowadays, and possibly turning into a new trend? Will this be an old form of expression/attitude becoming a movement? Are we witnessing the beginning of a new artistic interaction, possibly soon to be called shoe-tagging? Living in the post-modern world, where almost everything is acceptable, I wouldn’t be impressed if that is the answer for the case. Whatever It is, whatever you have heard or imagined about it, I want to hear your thoughts! In the meantime all we can do is contemplate the interventions on our streets, while asking ourselves: why? Why? WHY?

 

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Melbourne, VIC. Australia

 

A week after arriving in Australia, after spending my days walking around and exploring Melbourne, receiving a significant amount of information, processing, and digesting it, I can finally have my first conclusions. 

 

Australia is a great mix of Brazil and North America. It mixes the southern warmth with the northern economy and education.

 

Public toilet on Elizabeth Street

 

The time for arrival couldn’t be better. Mid summer, during the Australian Open and three days away from the Australian day. In addition to that: shows, concerts, music festivals, art performances and exhibitions, incredible architecture, thousands of amazing cafes, bars and restaurants; people, people, and more people… energizing this city which, in my mind, used to be called “Utopia”.

 

Australian day parade

 

Melbourne has a bit of everything, a mix of all the good places I’ve been around the world. A diverse city with many cultures and languages, separated by the Yarra River, which literally divides the city in two: north and south. This division is easily and quickly identified just walking in certain areas. The older city is located north of the river, where downtown is, in addition to many adorable neighborhoods like Carlton, Fitzroy, and Collingwood. These are the hip, alternative, and more underground parts of town. South of the river is the new city, easily identified in its architecture, yet mixed with some old buildings in certain areas. The most famous neighborhoods in the south side are the trendy, yet pretentious South Yarra, Prahran, and St Kilda, having the last one by the ocean. It’s clear that most people don’t cross the River for cultural/local reasons, creating an unfortunate atmosphere of rivalry and social separatism. 

 

Rubber Duck Race at the Yarra River

 

The architecture in Melbourne is an amazing mix of old and new. Old victorian terraces and buildings are side by side with brand new sky scrapers, where architects have no fear of thinking and “designing” outside the box. Massive architectural installations can be found along the freeways, bridges and different areas around town. Art installations are everywhere, mostly common found as sculptures on the streets and amazing graffiti in the hundreds of small alleys between the buildings. There are hundreds of art galleries and museums in town. Plays, musicals, opera, and dance can be seen day and night in several different venues. The music scene has infinite possibilities no matter genre or style. International and local attractions, mainstream or underground, can be enjoyed on a daily basis, most of the time having more than one event that fits your needs and taste to choose from.

 

Old building on Elizabeth st 

Melbourne has a strong asian influence combined to the old British values. The several nationalities here found can preserve their own language and culture, just like in other countries, yet adding a lot to the country’s culture, especially to the culinary. 

 

Degraves st

 

The first contacts with locals were very positive. Melburnians are friendly, outgoing, helpful, and generous. Everyone I met here so far has shown to be well travelled, educated, polite, and somehow artistic. A few exceptions were found when heading south of the river, where some people, just like anywhere else around the world, think that money and status are the most common denominator of culture and society. Overall, following the local division, I’m proud of being a north sider. 

 

 Federation Square during a tennis match

land of freedom

January, 22nd 2008. End of chapter. Last day of North America after three years for now. Resuming the past three years in one sentence:

 

New country, language, america, culture, lifestyle, food, friends, relationship, degree, skills, understanding of life.

 

North America, divided by 3 countries, even though sometimes refusing one of them, due to its development character. A country that commands, a country that follow the commands, and a country that appears to be neutral to this hierarchy, yet recognizing its place in the world and society. A continent where things can be divided between east and west, and of course, the most of the times unattractive “between”. 

 

America, land of opportunities, desires and dreams. Most of the time dreamed by foreign eyes. A land of diversity, land of hate and love, a land where poor people watch their favorite shows in their flat screen TV, “super-sizing” themselves with fat, yet food. A place where misery is associated with mental Illness, and most of homeless people have no need to kill to survive. A place where I wish more people would leave their own bubble, at least once in their lives…

 

Southern North America, land of wishes, natural beauty, preserved culture. A place where people are raised dreaming, most of the times about america. Drawing maps, planning and executing, most of the times, failing when trying to cross what can be called the “new Berlin wall”. For those who cross it: a new life, full of challenges. Invisible, undesirable, yet essential people.

 

Northern North America, land of tolerance, natural beauty, and cold weather. A place that reminds me of home. A better developed version of home. Warmth and kindness, yet sometimes with a bit of cold and dryness, maybe for the fact of still being part of… America. 

 

North America, Central America, South America. All the differences found in the similarity of a word. Different wars, different classes, different war of classes. 

 

Afterwards… Proud for being… American.