b3ta.com user Mikash
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» Scary Neighbours

Wanna live in a fancy neighbourhood?
I live in a complicated neighbourhood. Why? Because not that long ago it turned from one of the cheapest and seediest places to live in, into the zone where every high-profiled businessman, politician and high-society moron wants to have a home. This means the neighbourhood has ‘improved’ (sort of…) but it also means there’s a great deal of residents from the old days still stubbornly dwelling here.
What is so wrong with my neighbours? Well, let’s see:

- Multiple murders have occurred in the last years (specifically I remember one about a gay popular-song preformer being axed to death by his lover and a man who used a shotgun to kill his wife, daughter and cat, shooting himself immediately after);
- Several suicide attempts (one very notorious amongst the neighbourhood in which the man in question didn’t actually die the first three times he tried because he couldn’t quite get himself killed by jumping from his 4th floor apartment or the one about the girl who slashed her wrists twice or the guy who was found by his 12 year old daughter hung by the neck in his bathroom);
- We’re ‘protected’ by a guild of drug dealers who roam the streets but at the same time make sure no other ‘gang’ gets in their turf, so we even feel safe because of this (go figure);
- There’s a huge amount of immigrants living in bunches of up to 20 per apartment (imagine the noise) because the rents are astronomical and only gathering up can they actually pay. Among them there are Ukrainians who get drunk on Sundays and sing all day long at the top of their lungs, Brazilians who sit on the windowsills (legs on the outside) speaking on their mobiles with their families back home, local and foreign students (German, English, Brazilian and …whatever) having parties till 5 am (and they don’t even INVITE me), an African couple who have arguments so severe in the middle of the street that one day I saw the woman throw a pan of boiling water on her husband’s arm while their kids were screaming in panic zealously protected by a very young girl (I think she’s their aunt) who was trying to get them out of the way- of course, police and paramedics were involved;
- The owner of the market downstairs constantly arrases my mother (because apparently she’s one of the only women in the neighbourhood whom he hasn’t bagged (she’s 59 and he’s about 45);
- There’s an opera singer who rehearses on Sunday mornings, a cello player, a piano player and a saxophone player who practice with their windows wide open;
- It’s one of the few streets in the vicinity in which the traffic goes ‘up’ and so there’s dozens of cars going by all day and all night. Of course, this is an excellent excuse for fights among taxi drivers, lorry drivers and regular Joes (let me just mention one time I saw a man trying to defend his right to park in that extremely busy street with a HAMMER while his entire family – including baby- waited in the car, or the taxi diver running up the street crying for help while he was being chased by another driver after being punched in the face);

*Sigh* I could go on, because there’s a lot more (the pantless drug addict, the old ladies picking up fleas from each other’s legs during a freak infestation, the drunk who hid in your stairs and pissed in a plastic bag – which sometimes ruptured…

And why do the rich and glamorous want a home in this neighbourhood, you ask? I can’t tell you. Maybe it’s because you can see the river.
But I will say this: my house is worth a lot more now than it was when I was a child.
Which is good, I guess.
(Mon 29th Aug 2005, 11:37, More)

» Cross Dressing

Those fucking bitches...
I was about 8 or so when during the Carnival season (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras - celebrated in some countries in merry old Europe and during which people dress up just like it’s Halloween) it was decided that the best costume I could wear that year was an antique children’s uniform from a highly reputed military school – simply because the uniform was genuine and I was small enough to wear it.
Now, that school was for boys only and it happens that I am not a boy. More even, I was a girl at the age when all children are mean and cruel. So when I was proudly joining my playmates bearing my very smart uniform and my very smart cap, the girls (probably envious of my super cool costume) decided I looked very silly and said I could not play with them unless I wore a different costume.
Immediately I ran home and grabbed the flashiest dress I could find, quickly ditching the uniform and cap and replacing it with pink frills and pigtails.
When I got near the girls again I noticed some weird snickers but none of them said a word and I was ignorant of the collective joke until I got home and looked in the mirror. Looking back at me I saw a rosy cheeked girl in pigtails and pink frills still wearing a curly brown moustache my sister had drawn on my upper lip with a felt pen for my role of a dashing young officer…
(Wed 21st Mar 2007, 12:55, More)

» Airport Stories

The first time I went to the UK...
...I was already alerted to the fact that my travelling companions weren’t exactly a model of responsibility or even remotely mentally sane.
Our first ‘adventure’ was at the airport at home: we were practically accused of kidnapping my friend’s kid because his dad wasn’t coming with us and she’s too stubborn to explain to people he’s not even married to her – she thinks it’s no one’s business and doesn’t understand the reason why the people at the airport asked (duh).
The trip turned out to be a disappointment because we had no money at all to see the sights (apparently, our ‘pal’ who invited us and was going to save us some money by letting us sleepover suddenly decided her landlord wouldn’t find it acceptable to have three people sleeping in her tiny rented bedroom so we ended up spending our first night at a taxi driver’s house who was gracious enough to offer it as a temporary hotel). I was truly sorry I didn’t get to enjoy my first real tourist experience, but it’s my own fault (I live in a Mediterranean country with miles of beaches; why should I even bother to go anywhere else?).
So after a not-so-pleasant 10 days in London eating Tesco-based meals and walking until we couldn’t stand anymore (no money for bus fares), I decided it was time to go home. Also, my mother was scheduled to have a cancer related emergency surgery and I guessed I was better off heading back home as soon as possible.
The three of us (me, a friend and her, at the time, 8 year old son) leave the Hostel two hours past check-out time because we couldn’t pay for another night and it’s constantly raining, cold and we don’t find the idea of spending the next 12 hours hanging around a central station very appealing. Our flight is at 9 a.m. the next morning and we have to kill time.
We drag our huge bags across the city to Stanstead Airport and nest there for the night.
All was going as planned when suddenly my friend’s 8 year old kid, who was playing football with some other children, appears to us with his head and face covered in blood.
We nearly freak out until the boy says he split his head open by smashing it into a security barrier when trying to catch the ball. His mother doesn’t speak a word of English so I stay with him while he gets patched up by a paramedic. At this time, I’m very nervous – my mother’s having life threatening surgery a million miles away, I have no money left to get this kid to a hospital and I start feeling very, very sick. While the paramedic is explaining to me what he can do so the kid can have his head in one peace until we get home I start seeing him divide into three equal people at the same time the floor decides its going to aerobicize under me.
The paramedic asks me if its because of the blood and I say no (which was true), but I need to get to a bathroom as soon as possible.
In the small stall I calm down and when I get out of the bathroom the kid’s ready to go (btw, thanks to that super nice paramedic – you saved what was left of my sanity, guy). We’re back on track. Now if only the people around me at the airport didn’t look so strange I could actually get some sleep until check-in time. Except I don’t. While my friend and her kid sleep like the dead, I stay awake and guard the luggage, us and the last two pounds we have in our pockets.
After checking in, I get a weird look from the people x-raying our bags because I have a foldable umbrella in my back-pack and they think it looks like a bomb. I also have a small office knife in there, but this was before 9/11 so no one notices that.
By the time I’m on the plane, I’m so stressed and tired I fall asleep even before the damn thing takes off.
I wake up in my radically warmer home town and run to the hospital so see my mother, only to get criticized because I was having my fun in London instead of being at her bedside.
(Mon 6th Mar 2006, 11:14, More)

» Urban Legends

I'll have to wear a brown paper bag over my head after confesing to this...
The first time anyone told me about the Blair Witch Project, they didn't tell me it was a movie, so I went to the site... and bought it!
*sigh*... THE SHAME...!
(Fri 6th Jan 2006, 9:19, More)

» Stupid Tourists

It's long, I know...
I was born and live in Lisbon, a small, pretty simple city where you can find tourists all times of the year, but since Spain is right next to Portugal, we don’t really get that many Americans - the ‘usuals’ are mostly British or Dutch, ‘cause they know they’ll get just as much sun over here as in “Aye-bee-tha!” (slaps forehead)
The Americans we DO get seem to be completely baffled and behave like they just landed on Pluto.
This story isn’t really funny, but it’s just a testimony of how annoying it can be when people don’t even make an effort to remember they’re the ones visiting a foreign country...
I was waiting for the bus on one of our very busy squares at about 7h30 pm, which means there are LOADS of people still trying to get home (many of them students and businessmen/women; how is this relevant? …Read on).
A very loud, very pale-skinned and quite large American family are trying to catch some sort of transportation to a landmark by the river.
Well, if you’re in a country where the language is as unknown to you as the reason why people carry chiuauas as purses is to me, you try and find someone who will at least LOOK like they speak a foreign language (there’s plenty to chose from since it’s the financial district).
No, not this family. Because like so many other tourists (disregard nationality, because this seems to be a common problem for any tourist here), they decide to ask the simplest looking old lady or the man most likely to win the ‘I’m-so-dumb-I-forgot-to-close-my-mouth-and-now-I’m-standing-on-a-pool-of-my-own-drool’ award of the year.
So after a few failed attempts at raising their voice and slowing down speech for better communication, I step up and say in my pretty reasonable English “Excuse me, maybe I can help…”
The father raises his arms in the air like I’m bringing him redemption and screams out ‘FINALLY!!!’, showing himself extremely vexed at the old lady he was talking to earlier, like every Portuguese person has the duty to know how to speak in his mother tongue. Promptly, the about 50 people waiting at the surrounding bus stops turn their eyes to ME, as I try to excuse his rudeness with apologetic looks of helplessness.
I simply explain that they have to catch a trolley, number so-and-so, and now, since he has no idea what a trolley is, looks at me like I’m not speaking English anymore, almost angrily so! Fortunately a trolley goes by, I point it out to him and simply say “One of those…”.
He still looks repeatedly at his guide and at me, doubting, but as he sees everyone else get on it, he follows, shouting out to his family -standing two feet away- “Come on! We have to catch this one over here!!!”
Not a thanks, not a nod. Too bad I didn’t give them the wrong directions.
(Mon 11th Jul 2005, 14:16, More)
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