[ Jocelyn Ireson-Paine's Home Page | Publications | Enterro Da Gata' 98 | Images of Braga | Document in Word format | Contact ]
You see that everybody around you is wearing silly black hats and long black robes.
You don't know the way to call for drinks in the local bars.
You buy a connector for your TV and have to look up the words "coaxial
you return some food to the supermarket and have to look up the word "mould";
you visit the toilet on your floor and have to look up the phrase "out of order";
you complain to the Porter about something essential missing from your windows and have to look up the word "curtain",
then you wonder how soon is "soon" in this country you are in, and how fast do workmen "work".
Oblivious to linguistic discomfort,
the Porter chats at you for hours on end,
three times too fast for you to follow,
about personalities of whom you have never heard.
understand the local bus service,
And none of the people you ask in the street do either.
You don't know whether the best vegetables are to be bought from the big supermarket or the tiny corner shops.
You don't know whether it's cool to wear a University T-shirt, or something only tourists do.
On asking the size of a pastry in the sandwich shop, you use the wrong word, and it comes out sounding like "What is the girth of this sausage roll?".
The letters on the computer keyboards are in the wrong order.
All the bars in town stay open until 2 in the morning
been talking about England?)
except the Student Union bar which stays open until 4
but you need your ID to get in, because outside the front door last month,
somebody was shot,
probably with a gun from the gun shop three doors down the street.
To get you a card key for the hall of residence, the Porter asks for your
reads the magic number off it with a machine he keeps in a drawer,
(can this really be legal?),
and codes the number into the door locks.
Everyone eats their soup after their main course
as is traditional in the region
but the only Indian restaurant in town expired last year for lack of custom
and the Chinese does a nice line in sweet and sour salt cod.
The most popular University societies are
playing the guitar whilst dressed in black three-cornered hats and long black cloaks worn slung over one shoulder, minstrel-style;
and making carnival giants.
The computer keyboards are spattered with accents you never expected to need.
Week, the 2nd years torture the 1st
by making them do naked press-ups in the quad,
bow down before the computer lab whilst wearing necklaces of floppy discs,
and clean the bandstand in the city square with toothbrushes,
while shoppers look on and applaud.
On the national holiday, everyone takes the train to the nearest big
in the next country
because it has bigger shops than anywhere in this one.
You see a language course advertised by the town council. The only
participants are a French Professor of French History,
and ten gypsies who cannot read or write,
whose children jump round the room and play all the time with the teacher's guitars,
so she asks whether you can cope with this
(she knows the English are so repressed).
Rag Week begins with a candle-light procession through the
followed by a midnight serenade,
and when you get back to the hall of residence, a girl gives you a love poem,
because she couldn't find her boyfriend in the crowd,
and thinks he has stood her up.
Rag Week ends in a wrestling competition,
And the Rag Week parade had displays protesting against University
no Government money for education,
the food in the canteen,
and the number of bugs in Windows 98;
drink during the afternoon as though it were at night!
(some things don't change).
Bebe à tarde como se fosse à noite!University of Minho, Braga, Portugal