Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pleased to Meet You

Scared to be alone
Frightened of the dark
Everything’s too much for a boy out of touch with his feelings
I must be to blame
I must be at fault
I believe I’m never good enough to shine a light that lingers
I have witnessed starbursts in your coal black eyes
I am what I try to deny
I have seen the serpent coiling set to strike
And love is your usual disguise

Never came alive
Never cut the cord
Nothing is too much for a boy out of touch with his feelings
Worshipping the moonshine
Skinning up the grapevine
I don’t have a plan where I’m going, I just follow my fingers
I will be the burning man to grace these times
I am what I try to deny
I reflect the same eyes looking back at me
And love is the only reply

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The other face of Football

Believe it or not, this girl is an Assistant Referee in Brazil's main football league... in my humble opinion, she is also the perfect woman: beautiful, clever and knows everything about football! 27 years-old, single and available... Isn't football full of nice surprises?

You reckon this guy still remembers the 7-1 defeat?

The Russian referee Valentin Ivanov said the stormy World Cup match between Portugal and Holland was the most difficult of his professional career. Ivanov has been criticised for his performance in Sunday's secondround clash, won 1-0 by Portugal, which saw a World Cup record four red cards shown. Eight other players were cautioned.
"Probably, from the point of view of rudeness, it was the worst match I ever had," the 45-yearold referee was quoted as saying by the Russian daily Izvestia yesterday. Ivanov said the rough tactics of Dutch players took him by surprise. "You would expect some dirty tricks from the Portuguese. They are known for time-wasting or hitting from behind," he said. "But I was unpleasantly surprised by seeing such things from the Dutch. What's more, they were the instigators."


I got used to live with a not-so-flattering image of Portuguese, but there was always a quality accepted by everyone and reinforced by tourists going to the country: Portuguese are nice people!

In this World Cup, suddenly I was shocked to see that suddenly we are not nice anymore and further to that, after the match with Holland, we are said to be violent!

Portuguese violent?

Up to know (or the Euro 2004), in competitions like the World Cup we were the nice guys, playing a pleasant football - the European version of Brazil they say - but always loosing in the decisive moment. We were cool, with entertaining football, able to make the others look good in their wins...

Last two years have been different, specially this World Cup. Not playing such a fancy football (also because we are not allowed to), we are scoring when we have to and winning the matches, like Brazil or England.

So we are not nice anymore, we are violent!

I just don't go around beating up everyone that calls us violent because I close my eyes, breathe deeply and shout:


PS: The end of a myth - since I remember football, Van Basten has been a reference to me. But after the match on Sunday and specially the bad intentioned tackles in the first minutes against C. Ronaldo (that managed to injure him), he lost my respect. That was not my image of Holland or Van Basten, especially him who had to finish his career at the age of 29 due to injuries... Gullit, that was the man!

Adiós hermanos!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

FIFA World Cup - Paul Hymans 2006

Portugal progressed to the quarter-finals after eliminating the Netherlands through a first-half goal from Maniche, which was the high point of a match tarnished by sixteen yellow and four red cards. Next match will be against England next Saturday in Gelsenkirchen, and Portugal will try to repeat the success achieved when the teams met in the UEFA EURO 2004. Go Portugal!

Friday, June 23, 2006

[ToF] The other face of the metro...

Metro Station: Stokkel

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Personality Test

"You're a classic - powerful, athletic, and competitive. You're all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do."
Is it my impression or these personality tests are programmed to please us?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

FIFA World Cup - Belgium 2006

I finally managed to watch one Portugal’s match at the FIFA World Cup in Brussels! I had to escape the office for around two hours to see Portugal making it three wins out of three as we defeated Mexico 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen, FC Porto’s field of dreams. Goals from Maniche and Simão Sabrosa still in the first half proved enough for Portugal to advance to the second round in style and claiming all points. This evening, Argentina and the Netherlands will try to avoid playing against us on the round of 16. On Sunday we will see… Go Portugal!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Murena, la déesse noire

- Comme tu condamnes tous ceux que tu aimes! À quelques exceptions près, cependant…
- Tu penses à qui?... À ta propre personne?
Oh moi!... Je suis à l’abri de tes colères divines… Tu ne m’aimes pas… Tu me désires… Et cela m’arrange. Se faire aimer est une faiblesse. Se faire désirer est un art.
Un art que tu domines parfaitement, je le reconnais.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I have first been to Prague in 1992. I was doing an inter-rail with some friends and visited a lot of European cities over the month of August. Prague was the one that impressed me the most and I always wanted to go back. I had to wait almost 14 years until I did so… I’ve spent the weekend there, attending another meeting of the European Youth Forum. In the same way I changed, Prague has also changed over these 14 years. I don’t know who changed the most, if me or Prague, but the result of the combination is anyway different. I still enjoyed it a lot, especially the Old Town, the Charles Bridge, the Lesser Quarter and the Castle with its Cathedral, but it didn’t impress me as much as it did when I was there for the first time. Even though I haven’t been back to Prague over these last 14 years, I kept my interest and read a lot (both fiction and reality) about the city and its history. The most interesting aspect of Prague is that for most of its history, it has been a multiethnic city with important Czech, German and Jewish populations. In the 17th century, the Jewish community of Prague numbered some 15,000 souls, making it, at that time, the largest Ashkenazic community in the world and the second largest Jewish community in Europe, after Thessaloniki. This flourishing community suffered a severe blow when Maria Theresa of Austria decided the expulsion of Jews from Prague in 1745 and, an even more important one, from 1939, when Czechoslovakia was occupied by Nazi Germany. During World War II, most Jews either fled the city or were killed in the Holocaust. Most of the survivors emigrated in the years of Communism, particularly after the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the Soviet invasion twenty years after. In the early 1990s, the Jewish community in Prague numbered only 800 people compared to nearly 50,000 before the World War II. Equally, the German population, which had formed the majority of the city’s inhabitants until the 19th century, was expelled or fled in the aftermath of the war. Today, Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic and it is home to approximately 1.2 million people. Since 1992, its historic centre has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and Prague has become one of Europe’s (and the world’s) most popular tourist destinations. For many people, the city is impossible to separate from Kafka, who was born there in 1883, from a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family. For me, it is much more related to the Golem, who, according to many people, still lies in the attic where the genizah of the Old-New Synagogue in Prague is kept.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

FIFA World Cup - Czech Republic 2006

As the 2006 FIFA World Cup goes by, I keep moving around Europe and I watched the second match of Portugal, against Iran, in Prague. With this second victory, Portugal became the sixth team assuring a place in the Round of 16, after second-half goals from Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Last time we did it was 40 years ago, in England, and we went all the way until the semi-finals… Will Figo and his team mates imitate Eusébio’s glorious team? The whole nation will keep dreaming! Go Portugal!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The winner

She looked up at him and her lips parted slightly. Their eyes did not budge from each other as their fingers exchanged touches that were suddenly electrifying both their bodies. The spontaneity of the sensation absolutely immobilized them. But not for long. He swallowed hard, dropped his hands to her bottom, and abruptly pulled her against him. The warmth and softness of her breasts burned invisible holes through his thick shirt. Their mouths erupted against each other as he yanked the robe free and it fell to the floor. She moaned and closed her eyes, her head swaying drunkenly from side to side as he attacked her neck. She pulled at his hair and then wrapped her arms around his head as he hoisted her up in the air, his face buried in her chest. She wrapped her legs around his torso. Following her frantic, whispered directions, he lunged blindly along the hallway to the small guest bedroom. He pushed open the door. She jerked away from him and sprawled flat on her back on the bed, the muscles in her long legs tensing in anticipation. She reached up and pulled at him. “Dammit! Hurry!”

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Four Seasons

When I went to the airport on Friday morning to go to Vilnius, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and temperature was around 23°C. I thought to myself that spring had finally come. When I came back yesterday, the sky was still blue, the sun was still shining and the temperature was of 27°C. This morning when I arrived at the office, the thermometer showed a figure beginning with a three: 31°C! I couldn’t help thinking to myself that summer had started! Now, the temperature is back to 23°C and I can see and hear thunders in the vicinity… I checked the weather forecast and found out that tomorrow will be rainy and windy, with temperatures up to 18°C… It makes sense: winter, spring, summer and... back to Autumn!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Defining Moments

As I said, I’ve been in Vilnius for the last few days, participating at one Bureau meeting of the European Youth Forum. I don’t normally write about this kind of meetings because they’re very likely to be absolutely uninteresting to the vast majority of my readers. This time I will make an exception because it was a special meeting. First of all, because it went very well and therefore we managed to combine hard work and enjoying the hospitality of our Lithuanian friends – especially our President, who put a big effort in making everyone enjoy our time there, including a sauna/jacuzzi session after the meeting was over; but also because the Bureau took unanimously the decision to acknowledge my work by inviting me to think of prolonging my contract with the European Youth Forum. This decision makes me very happy! Not only because it is nice to see my effort being acknowledged, but especially because it means that my colleagues are happy with its results. I am totally aware that this unprecedented decision is also recognition of the work of my Secretariat colleagues, as I believe that the success of a manager always relies on his/her team, and in that sense I also feel proud and happy for them. However, I don’t know if they will all share my happiness… Those who know me also know that I’m not the popular kind of manager… but even if some of them don’t share my happiness, I will still be happy for them! Now, I will have until the end of August to make a decision… a difficult decision… In one hand, I feel very tempted to stay, as I enjoy a lot my work and the people whom I work with. I also have to confess that the vanity of being the first person to do two terms as Secretary General of the European Youth Forum and the possibility to definitely put behind my back the events that surrounded my first appointment contribute a great deal to this temptation. And, last but not the least, I also feel that I owe something to the people who trusted and supported me and I know that I would deceive some of them if I would step back and decided to leave now. And I hate to deceive the people who like me. But, on the other hand, I’m also afraid… afraid of keep missing my son, his growing process, his conquests and problems… afraid of somehow losing him forever… I’m also afraid of not being able to cope with the expectations of people who trust me, both personally and professionally… afraid of disappointing them… afraid of not enjoying the second term as much as I’ve been enjoying the first one so far… and afraid of continuity being the easiest choice… afraid of while taking the easiest way, finding out that it leads only to postpone, for two more years, the big question: what do I want to do afterwards?
I’ve promised both to myself and to my beloved ones that I will take my time to think as deeply and seriously as I can; to get the closest possible to the right choice; and to reach a decision based on a consensus amongst my cold rational brain and my confused and emotional heart. Whatever decision I take, it will anyway take into consideration, apart from my deep will, the opinions and advices and also the feelings of others. Because if there’s something I’ve learned throughout my life is that the others are the ones who make us meaningful.

FIFA World Cup - Lithuania 2006

The 2006 FIFA World Cup started and I’ve been watching the matches here in Vilnius, where I’ve arrived on Friday. Yesterday, Portugal beat Angola in their first ever World Cup match. I watched it surrounded by good friends from different nationalities and by a bunch of Portuguese people living in Lithuania (we're everywhere!). Pauleta’s fourth-minute goal proved enough to overcome the challenge and start the World Cup with a victory. And, as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said, “Any victory is good, no matter how you get it”. Go Portugal!

Monday, June 05, 2006


I just added to the links’ list the blog of one of the most fascinating persons I’ve ever met. I found it by chance and due to the fact that I’m enjoying another day of dolce fare niente. She’s experiencing the loss of someone who was very dear to her. And as I don’t know what to say in these occasions, I decided to celebrate her by sharing her blog and by saying what I was never able to do before.

Indepedent Countries...

We have witnessed, over the last years, several changes in the map of Europe.

The map below shows the changes since 1990.

But how could the European map look like in 2020?

Obviously this map has some mistakes. The most obvious is confusing Flanders with Wallonia. But there are some potential independent countries forgotten, like Skåne (southern Swedish province) or Madeira (a Portuguese Autonomous Region composed of two islands).

You can help these regions to become independent by signing the petitions in the links below.

- Skåne

- Madeira

But, above all, you can help Swedish and Portuguese to get rid of them…

Sunday, June 04, 2006

( )

This is the first fully free weekend I have had since Easter, six weeks ago. And it’s a long one, since tomorrow it’s a holiday. It feels good and it feels different. Yesterday I finally washed the dishes, cleaned-up the mess and went to the supermarket. I also watched some DVDs (“The Forgotten”, “Ocean’s Twelve” and “The Last Samurai”) and the football match between Luxembourg and Portugal that Portuguese team won 3-0. All at a very slow speed. Today will be another slow day… I just woke-up, had breakfast and am now listening to Sigur Ros music, the closest thing to stay in bed – and I mean it in a positive way! Outside the mood seems to be the same: the sky is mostly cloudy and the temperature around 13C… Summertime is approaching fast, but Brussels seems to be immune to that – and I mean it quite negatively! Before summer, in less than one week, it will be the turn for the FIFA World Cup to start. One entire month of football, the sport that unites the world and provides millions of people with a national identity. This is true, at least, for Portuguese… For some days, as long as the football team manages to stay in the World Cup, Portugal will be again, for the vast majority of Portuguese people, a collective project, a community which prosperity is the source of the welfare of each of its members, a chain of affections, a space of shared heritage and culture. This football team is the only entity capable of mobilizing the crowd, giving a meaning to the national colors, causing collective pain… In five days, the world will see the birth of a new country; let’s hope it lasts long!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The rain has gone!

And, as the song says, I can see clearly now! False alarm: my landlord doesn’t want me to leave, even though he really wants to sell the apartment… At least until he sells it, I will be able to stay; and, even if the new owner wants me to leave, he/she will have to give me a 3-months notice. This means that I can stay, at least, until the end of the year and, hopefully, until the end of my contract (May 2007). I cannot escape, however, from the fact that I will have to make the apartment available for visits of potential buyers, which, taking into consideration that I’m very often away, will be a real challenge… Anyway, I feel much better now that I have been reassured and that I know that I won’t need to leave this nice apartment and this nice neighborhood in a rush! And, of course, that I won’t have to change the name of this blog!

[the other face] Paul Hymans...

satellite perspective
(avenue Paul Hymans - Brussels)

[the other face] of Brussels...

view of the park in front of the YFJ office
(rue Joseph II - Brussels)

I (we) have been complaining a lot about Brussels. But the truth is that I enjoy living here (yes, in spite of the weather, the taxes, the Belgian administration …).

That’s why I thought of writing about the other face of the city. The funny, the interesting, the enjoyable. The nice one…