Tadaaa! Finally, a FAQ-like humourous-o-satire-ish blog about Portuguese daily life, written by native Portuguese. Please do not take me seriously, in my posts, as I intend to do the same to myself. Have fun, send hate-mail, and ask questions. And laugh, damn it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Question #7: How do Portuguese people pay their debts?

Well, let's for instance read this letter, that was published in a Portuguese newspaper. It says this:

"The Client is always right!"

"This letter was sent by a client of a famous mobile operator. This letter is not an hoax, and was sent by a guy with debts to one of the credit companies (as he tells in his letter)."

"Dear readers,

This is the 8th juridical letter to pay my debts that I receive from you Sirs...

I know that I do not have my payrolls updated. It happens that I am owning also to other shops, and all of them expect me to pay. Meanwhile, my monthly wage only allows me to pay two installments per month. the others are for the following month. I am not being unfair, the kind of guy that prefers to pay to that one or that other shop, forgetting the others. No! In every month, when I receive my wage, I write the names of my creditors in small pieces of paper, that I roll and put in a box. Looking to the side, I select two of them, that are the "Lucky" ones that will get my dear money. The others, too bad luck. Maybe next month.

I tell you Sirs, I assure that your company is on my box every month. If I haven't payed yet, it is because you Sirs are in a bad luck.

Finally, I warn you: if you Sirs keep with that foolishness of sending me threatening letters to pay my debts, like that last one, I will be forced to EXCLUDE the name of your company on the mext monthly lotteries..."

Friday, March 9, 2007

Question #6: How are the Portuguese politicians on the EU?

Portuguese politicians are amongst the most cunning and hard-working men from all Europe. they care about Portuguese's worries, and they are always active to defend our concerns.

See, for example, EU parliament member José Maia, who is waiting patiently the moment to speak to the EU parliament about important matters... music is from Romana, a Portuguese female singer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Question #5: What is Desenrascanço?

Desenrascanço is one of the features that Portuguese people are famous for. The Wikipedia page of Desenrascanço, unfortunately was ripped off, but miraculously I managed to recover parts of them, even the picture that illustrated the Desenrascanço. Here it goes:

Desenrascanço (loosely translatable as "disentanglement") is a Portuguese word used, in common language, to express an ability to solve a problem without having the knowledge or the adequate tools to do so, by use of imaginative resources or by applying knowledge to new situations. Achieved when resulting in a hypothetical good-enough solution. When that good solution doesn't occur we got a failure (enrascanço - entanglement). It is taught, more or less, informally in some Portuguese institutions, such as universities, navy or army. Portuguese people, strongly believe it to be one of the their most valued virtues and a living part of their culture. Desenrascanço, in fact, is the opposite of planning, but managing for the problem not becoming completely out of control and without solution.

However, some critics disagree with the association of the concept of desenrascanço with the mainstream Portuguese culture. They argue that desenrascanço is just a minor feature of some portuguese subcultures confined to some non-representative groups and to the end of the 20th century. Critics point out that in the last 30 years the education and culture of the portuguese people improved considerably and that the importance of desenrascanço is declining. Sometimes, the concept is related by some to the discoveries period or to student activities in the 15th century. But sceptics doubt there is any substantial prove of that relation. Critics also argue that there are other sub-cultures in other countries with equivalent concepts and that desenrascanço is not an exclusive of the Portuguese culture.


Desenrascanço has a role in the academic juvenile sub-culture in most educational institutions. In Lisbon it is a losing ground tradition, while Coimbra and Oporto maintain their traditions now followed, in some degree, by the new universities (created less than 30 years ago) in the rest of the country. Sometime earlier, some of these traditions, were also exported to some universities in France, Spain, Brazil, UK (and USA, by influence of the UK).

The older students at universities and politechnical institutes known as doutores (Eng. doctors) teach Desenrascanço to freshmen (Port. Caloiros) in a ritual, well known as Praxe (or Praxis) in Portugal. It is alleged that this skill is taught (informally) in the Portuguese universities since the 14th or 15th century. The freshmen are ordered to do the most impossible things. They must comply or they will be punished. To solve the problems (desenrascar-se) they must be really inventive and/or have a very convincing reason when they cannot do it. Normally, if they cannot or if they are not smart enough, punishment is done. The punishment is supposedly done under the Praxis rules (Port. Código de Praxe) and aleggedly no harm can be done to the student. But they can get dirty, do a lot of exercise, and do embarrassing things in public or nothing for an hour. Freshmen do this ritual because they want to be part of academic groups to have fun, contin
uous parties and lots of helping friends. In the rituals, the doutores must be dressed in black (in 19th century traditional clothes) and freshmen dressed in white (normally a shirt and blue jeans).

Normal academic activities are also seen as a way to teach desenrascanço. For example, when the teacher does not disclose any suggestions to solve a problem, and the student must search for his own. But some of the best teachers disagree with this association since they believe that desenrascanço culture is precisely the oposite of a good universitary education.

«Siemens, a well known German company, has development and engineering offices in Portugal partly due to this Portuguese characteristic, employing hundreds of Portuguese staff. They say "when a German gives up when encountering a difficulty, a Portuguese will work until it is solved." They also argue that is "due to the quality of Portuguese state-run universities and institutes". Desenrascanço is the finding of a solution for a given problem.»

Desenrascanço in the Discoveries Era

In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was very common for other exploring nations to bring a Portuguese national along during the voyages, for two reasons, 1) the Portuguese were skilled by previous knowledge and 2) for handling emergencies well (what is also known among the Portuguese as "desenrascanço"). Of course, serious historians would disagree with the association between a 20th century idea and 17th century events.

Some groups from Portugal believe that they still have this characteristic, that, theoricaly speaking, make them the best people to handle emergencies, and the worst for situations where planning is needed. There is no impartial verification of those claims..

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Question #4: How fearful is the Portuguese Army?

We have the finest military army of all the World, maybe from all the Europe! We have lots of military bases, full of strong and smart soldiers, ready to invade Spain if they beat us at a soccer game.

Just see for yourself: this is an exercise of the Portuguese army at Lisbon, on the shores of the Tagus river, in the city of Seixal. Just look how cunning are our men. Be our allies or be afraid! Be very afraid!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Question #3: Are Portuguese people talented?

Yes. We have a show, called "Aqui há talento" (something like "Here we have talent"), where talented people from all over the country show their talents in a live audience, and are evaluated by 3 rough judges. Many thanks to sUPERgAIOLAS for sharing this.

This buddy imitated:

- An old train
- A sheep
- A "graniza" (a kind of bird)
- A bull
- A pig
- A pig (on the death row)
- A cat
- A dog

This show is fertile with talented people like this guy. I guess I'll post more of them later.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Question #2: Do Portuguese people like fashion?

We LOVE fashion. We are just like sheeps, always following the other sheeps, and eating the available grass. Our shopping centers always have tons of stores with the latest fashion trends. And, when we talk about jeans, we are simply the best!

It's pretty common to see jeans with that "used", "patched", "ripped", "holed" "weared", "spent" or just "dumped in a bucket of bleach" look. It's so in, so trendy. Just take a look at this photos I shot in a store, for instance. This is what I call the "trolha" look!


"Trolha" it's a portuguese word for a man who works in the building construction. Normally, he is african or ucranian, he goes to the construction in the back of a shitty truck, drink beer and harass all women in the sidewalk. They normally wear old and rotten clothes, normally with cement or paint splatters all over their clothes, but they don't mind. It's cool. Trendy.


Now, anyone can be a trendy "trolha" easily! Just buy this fabulous trousers by 25 euros, you don't even have to make cement!! Genius! Yes, Portuguese people are genious when it comes to fashion.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Question #1: Do portuguese people have a sense of humour?

Well, of course! We never miss an opportunity to make everyone smile and laugh. Take, for instance, this poster inside a big Portuguese supermarket, "Continente". The poster advertises Portuguese fruit, and features a nice guy with nice lemons (yes, he is a little chubby, and I bet that he doesn't eat fruit THAT much).

Well, somebody took some stickers from those apples and placed them in strategic places, so that the chubby guy looks now very menacing and funny. See? Portuguese people can be humorous even with a couple of fruit stickers, and while they are bored inside a supermarket, they make everyone laugh. That classical hole-in-the-teeth is always a guaranteed laugh.