24.9.04

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The women who work as security guards at the National Library are very friendly and chatty. Every day they search my laptop case in order to prevent me smuggling in the day's newspaper... and every day they take the newspaper out and let me on my way. Hey, they don't make the rules, and they even laugh at the ridiculous nature of this task with which they are charged. During the past couple of days we have got to chatting about news stories, and especially the particularly horrible story of little Joana, who was murdered by her mother and uncle, apparently for the 12 euros that the little girl's grandmother had given her to spend on food for herself. The two security guards were very angry about it... "Monstros. Verdadeiros monstros" was their conclusion. As a parent myself, I can only agree. How can anyone deliberately harm a child, not least their own child. It is beyond my comprehension. On a lighter note, I spent my lunch break reading the newspaper from 7 October 1972 - the first day I spent in Portugal. As I expected, there was nothing about this momentous event printed. Instead, we were told that the Prime Minister had published a book of his speeches (yes, that was the headline!) and the Foreign Minister had told the United Nations General Assembly that the wars in Africa were internal Portuguese matters that were none of the international community's concern. There was an advert for an 8 bedroomed mansion with sea views and double garage in Cascais, all for £5,500, or, if you preferred, you could buy a 4 bedroom flat in the centre of Lisbon for £2,500. Someone was selling a one-year old Alfa Romeo Spider for a phenomenal £92, and a Triumph Spitfire for £102. After work I went to Belém, where I saw these colourful buildings. I overdid the photos of the Torre de Belém, so please look at them and tell me which two I should keep. Have a nice weekend.

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