Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dia -692

Umas pérolas aqui, umas pérolas ali*

«There is only one [television] network in Norway and it is stupefyingly bad. It's not just that the programmes are dull, though in this respect they could win awards, but that the whole thing is so wondrously unpolished. Films finish and you get thirty seconds of scratchy white circles like you used to get when your home movies ran out and your dad didn't get to the projector fast enough, and then suddenly the lights come up on the day's host, looking faintly startled, as if he had been just about to do something that he wouldn't want the nation to see. [...] The best that can be said for Norwegian television is that it gives you the sensation of a coma without the worry and inconvenience.»

(Capítulo 2 - Hammerfest)

«By half-past eight Paris is a terrible place for walking. There's too much traffic. A blue haze of uncombusted diesel hangs over every boulevard. I know Baron Haussmann made Paris a grand place to look at, but the man had no concept of traffic flow. At the Arc de Triomphe alone thirteen roads come together. Can you imagine that? I mean to say, here you have a city with the world's most pathologically aggressive drivers - drivers who in other circumstances would be given injections of thorazine from syringes the size of bicycle pumps and confined to their beds with leather straps - and you give them an open space where they can all try to go in any of thirteen directions at once. Is that asking for trouble or what?
It's interesting to note that the French have had this reputation for bad driving since long before the invention of the internal combustion engine. Even in the eighteenth century British travellers to Paris were remarking on what lunatic drivers the French were, on "the astonishing speed with which the carriages and people moved through the streets ... It was not an uncommon sight to see a child run over and probably killed." I quote from The Grand Tour by Christopher Hibbert, a book whose great virtue is in pointing out that the peoples of Europe have for at least 300 years been living up to their stereotypes. [...]»

(Capítulo 4 - Paris)

«The brochures [in the town of Spa] were all for places with non-nonsense names like The Professor Henrijean Hydrology Institute and The Spa Therm Institution's Department of Radiology and Gastro-Enterology. Between them they offered a bewildering array of treatments that ran from immersion in 'natural carbogazeous baths' and slathering in hot and gooey mudpacks, to being connected to a free-standing electrical sub-station and briskly electrocuted, or so it looked from the photograph. These treatments were guaranteed to do a number of things I didn't realize it was desirable to do - "dilate the dermal vessels", "further the repose of the thermoregulatory centres" and "ease periarticular contractures", to name but three.
I decided without hesistation that my thermoregulatory centres were reposed enough, if not actually deceased, and although I do have the occasional periarticular contracture and pitch forward into my spaghetti, I decided I could live with this after seeing what the muscular, white-coated ladies of the Spa institutes do to you if they detect so much as a twinge in your particulars or suspect any backsliding among the dermals. The photographs showed a frankly worried-looking female patient being variously covered in tar, blown around a shower stall with a high-pressure hose, forced to recline in bubbling copper vats and otherwise subjected to a regimen that in other circumstances would bring ineluctably to mind the expression "war crimes". [...]»

(Capítulo 6 - Bélgica)

«It should have been written into the armistice treaty at the end of the [second world] war that the Germans would be required to lay down their accordians along with their arms.»

(Capítulo 9 - Aachen e Colónia)

«I love the way Italians park. You turn any street corner in Rome and it looks as though you've just missed a parking competition for blind people. [...] Romans park their cars the way I would park if I had just spilled a beaker of hydrochloric acid on my lap. [...]
Italians will park anywhere. All over the city you will see them bullying their cars into spaces about the size of a sofa cushion, holding up traffic and prompting every driver within three miles to lean on his horn and give a passable imitation of a man in an electric chair. If the opening is too small for a car, Italians will decorate it with litter [...]
Italians are entirely without any commitment to order. They live their lives in a kind of pandemonium, which I find very attractive. They don't queue, they don't pay their taxes, they don't turn up for appointments on time, they don't undertake any sort of labour without a small bribe, they don't believe in rules at all. [...]»

(Capítulo 13 - Roma)

«Still the [hotel] elevator didn't come. I decided to take the fire stairs. I bounded down them two at a time, the whole of my existence dedicated to the idea of a beer and a sandwich, and at the bottom found a padlocked door and a sign in Italian that said "If there is ever a fire here, this is where the bodies will pile up".»

(Capítulo 15 - Florença)

«The people of McDonald's need guidance. They need to be told that Europe is not Disneyland. They need to be instructed to take suitable premises on a side street and given, without option, a shop design that is recognizable, appropriate to its function and yet reasonably subdued. It should look like a normal European bistro, with perhaps little red curtains and a decorative aquarium and nothing to tell you from the outside that this is a McDonald's except for a discrete golden-arches transfer on each window and steady stream of people with enormous asses going in and out of the door. While we're at it, they should be told that they will no longer be allowed to provide each customer with his own weight in styrofoam boxes and waste paper. And finally they have to promise to shoot Ronald. When these conditions are met, McDonald's should be allowed to operate in Europe, but not until.»

(Capítulo 19 - Áustria)

*mais vale ler na língua original, sem qualquer dúvida, estas e outras pérolas de Bill Bryson em Neither Here Nor There, ou seja em Nem aqui, nem ali,
o livro que ontem (hoje) às 6 e meia da manhã acabei de ler,
no meio de sonoras gargalhadas.
Estas pérolas na língua em que foram escritas foram retiradas daqui.
Bom proveito

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