One good thing about travelling is the chance to vary our food routines. We learn about different dishes, tastes and savoir faire. I found myself thinking about such things because my “chef” Tieta is trying to get a new ID card, something quite painful around here, and I was standing for her in the kitchen.
My lunch included:
. red beans soup with squash and spinach;
. tomato and lettuce salad;
. cod croquettes (pastéis de bacalhau);
. patatas bravas.
In short, it’s all about Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, places where I’ve been recently. I just wonder: if I had visited Thailand, would I be cooking tom kha instead?
Have you ever felt like every thing is against you and, when you should feel bad (really bad), you feel calm and happy instead? This is how I describe the last week.
The bad is beyond my own control. This country faces a very difficult debt crisis. The authorities had promised that the sectors of health and education would be spared. However, some health workers and the university staff has not been paid for September. It’s nearly two months without salary. In a certain way, even my home has been affected by the dishonesty of a few.
Yet, hard times are making us feel even closer. That’s how human beings are designed to be. Difficulties seem to bring out the best in us.
We live strange times.
We live strange challenges.
We live strange weather conditions.
Who cares if we are strange?
Yesterday I’ve done one of those silly mistakes: I handled the chilliest peppers in the world without gloves. The burn lasted for hours. Instinctively, I felt like washing my hands and trying to ease the pain with any cold liquid available. The Google and having a doctor boyfriend helped a lot.
A local restaurant gave me this recipe of piri-piri sauce: soak it over-night, blend it with a bit of vinegar and finally olive oil. I wasn’t happy with the result. The original sauce was red. Mine was whitish. The reason could only be the white seeds. I used my naked hands to remove part of them. I was right. Yet, the result was excruciating pain.
The idea of cold milk came to my mind, but it took a while before I actually applied it. At first I rushed to almost everything I had, from three different kinds of aloe gels to a local anesthetic. In the end, what really worked was washing the hands repeatedly and soaking them in cold milk. Three hours later, when I went to bed, I was still in pain. The left hand was okay, but the right one hurt like hell. I closed it tightly around a baby wipe and, even though I couldn’t believe it to be possible, I went to sleep. The next morning, the pain was gone and the wipe lay on the floor. This was my first severe chilly burn. I just hope it’s the last one as well.
Crossing the Bridge
This weekend we crossed the new bridge to Macaneta. Before, we had to use this ferryboat to cross the river. It was a frightening experience.
After lunch we returned to Maputo through the same bridge. Even though the job is almost done, it’s still possible to see many Chinese, probably linked with the construction, enjoying the beach. I talked with local people walking across the bridge. At least for now, they are happy with it. If it works for them, it works for us.
One year ago I was happy. Then happiness faded away. I am happy again. A different kind of happiness. There’s a tricky difference between happiness one and happiness two. I have the sensation that one of them was a kind of numbness. Probably, both of them are.
Happiness is always relative. There are moments I fear that this happiness could be seasonal. I am afraid of losing it again. I am afraid of losing it forever.
One year ago I was trying very hard. Now I am not trying at all. Happiness can be explained outside and inside. When people around us are not supportive, it feels like everything is against us. I don’t feel that sort of pressure any longer.
Almost every Thursday morning I sit to write this weekly post. I wish I could tell you the secret of happiness. I just know that you have to feel comfortable with the body and mind of someone. If you don’t, you are losing your time. Once you like him and he also likes you, the rest depends on expressing yourself how often and how clearly you can. After all, I like words of love but only trust in actions. And I am not the only one:
“Un homme n’est pas ce qu’il cache. Un homme est ce qu’il fait, car, au fond de nos âmes, nous sommes tous un peu les mêmes.” André Malraux
It’s three weeks since I was back from Europe and I’m not yet entirely settled. What I crave more is one morning without having to remember some obligation to fulfill before 9am. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Holidays exist for sleeping, relaxing and partying.
Probably, it was the flights and airports. My first time as a lonely traveller! I am proud of myself for crossing Europe, Middle East and Africa, all by myself. As I watched 30 movies at least, now I still have some sleep to catch up.
My liver is also unfit. I don’t think it’s the 2 or 3 small glasses of red wine I drink strictly over lunch. I cannot stand any other kind of alcoholic drink. In my way back, I killed almost 6 hours at the Frankfurt airport by munching all kind of sandwiches and red wine. I got drunk, literally, and had strange and dangerous thoughts during the never-ending flight to Doha. Once arrived, I was sober and stayed sober. Wine wasn’t easy to find. I was sober before Frankfurt and I’ve been sober since Frankfurt. Still, my sleep and liver need some sort of special holidays…