Casinos: do glamour à loucura

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Casinos: da loucura ao glamour

Inúmeras são as histórias que se ouvem dos efeitos do jogo compulsivo, desde a loucura ao suicídio. Esta é a história de Regina, uma mulher que jogou durante anos consecutivos e esteve muito perto da loucura. Em três anos, Regina, gastou o dinheiro que acumulou durante uma vida inteira, as poupanças para a escola dos filhos e as heranças de família. Toda a sua energia era simplesmente canalizada para o Jogo. Tudo começou quando o seu marido decidiu divorciar-se e o jogo funcionou como uma anestesia mental. A sorte de principiante foi o princípio do fim. “Quanto mais se ganha, mais se quer ganhar e quanto mais se perde, mais se quer recuperar o dinheiro perdido.  A sensação de ganhar é muito parecida com a sensação de se estar quase a ganhar”. Na maioria das noites, saia do casino sem dinheiro nos bolsos e as promessas de nunca mais entrar nas salas eram imensas, embora só durassem poucas horas, pois a necessidade de entrar novamente no casino era enorme. Perdeu tudo, perdeu os filhos, perdeu o emprego, perdeu a casa, entregou-se à loucura até uma certa manhã que uma amiga a levou a um dos encontros dos jogadores anónimos onde começou a sua recuperação.

Como é que esta história se reflecte na minha experiência?

Na primeira vez que entrei num casino, não tive sorte de principiante. Perdi pouco dinheiro, mas que rapidamente assumi que poderia ter usado em algo mais útil. Fiquei surpreendida como não vi o tempo passar, passei quase duas horas dentro do casino, passeando pelas várias máquinas a ver qual delas me dava um sorriso. Quando perdi o dinheiro, percebi que os casinos estavam engendrados de tal forma que os jogadores que ali se encontravam sentiam-se confortáveis e na maior parte das vezes optimistas.

Comigo estavam várias pessoas animadas com o ambiente do casino, e portanto aí começou a minha análise crítica, aliada alguma pesquisa para escrever este artigo, de como é que as pessoas se sentem atraídas pelo casino. Se pensarmos bem, o design dos casinos por dentro e por fora é bastante apelativo, o visual sempre com luzes a piscar, o som das moedas das máquinas, as sirenes e as campainhas tem uma função estimulante e fascinante ao mesmo tempo. O sentimento de euforia é interessante, porque mesmo tendo perdido o meu dinheiro, olhando a volta e vendo a cara e a reacção de satisfação das pessoas por terem ganho algum dinheiro, faz com que as pessoas à volta insistam mais uma vez de modo a fazerem parte do sentimento de vitória. Lembrou-me do filme Percy Jackson, quando lhes são oferecidas as flores de lótus que faziam com que as pessoas se esquecessem da realidade e do propósito de ali estarem. Certas zonas do casino, tem uma iluminação especial, não tão forte com a zona das máquinas, mas baixa e suave, especialmente à volta da roleta. Isto faz com que as pessoas se sintam bem, num ambiente tranquilo e cómodo, propício para se fazer algo que dá prazer como o jogo. Aliado a isso, o álcool é geralmente mais barato ou grátis. Este é normalmente servido em bandejas, trazidas por meninas com muito boa aparência. Portanto, mesmo os muito bons jogadores, sob o efeito do álcool, acabam por ter diminuído a sua capacidade de raciocinar rápida e portanto de tomar as decisões mais adequadas. Para quem alguma vez já passou do seu limite no álcool, de certeza que se lembra, de como foi rapidamente se fica liberal com o dinheiro.

O Glamour do Casino

Para quem gosta de glamour, os casinos são na sua grande maioria locais bastante apelativos. Para além do ambiente que é “fashion”, as pessoas vão geralmente muito bem vestidas, as meninas (quase modelos) passeando-se pelos corredores, as salas de jogos privadas que criam um ambiente misterioso, para além de outras características mais simples ou talvez mais complexas como a própria arquitectura do casino.

Um dos casinos que mais me fascinou foi o Casino Lisboa em Macau. Este casino foi construído no fim dos anos 60 e na década seguinte foi construído o hotel à volta do casino, que foi aumentando com o passar dos anos. Quem passa em frente ao Casino Lisboa, tem vontade de entrar pois o som das moedas, das campainhas e das sirenes é incessante. Existe um total de 2632 quartos anexados ao casino. Para além do hotel, existe um restaurante francês chamado Robuchon á Galera, que em 2008 recebeu 3 estrelas Michelin. Simplesmente Fascinante!

SeaShell 

Lazy Beggars in Lisbon

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Lazy Beggers in Lisbon

I came across one of the Lazy Beggars in Lisbon. So many times, i have given money to people that instead of feeding their families, they were spending money in alcohol and drugs. So I though to myself, why not? A coin in one of the buckets and I got a big smile from this kind man.

They are the 21st century beggers. Yap, they have a website 🙂

http://lazybeggers.net23.net/en/index.html

They ask for money for Beer, Wine, Whisky and the Hangover!

Have a nice weekend!

SeaShell 🙂

Great Expectations: Oppikoppi, here we go again!

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We stood in front of hundreds – perhaps one of the biggest crowds that we would see in our time together, and it both excited and terrified me. I can only imagine what the rest of my brothers in arms experienced, but my feelings were profound. I can still see that crowd, that stage, and hear the surprising roar that welcomed us song after song, and although I would never describe myself as a musician in search of recognition, for a brief moment there, I belonged.

Five years ago, my band at the time, played at one of the greatest music festivals in the Southern Hemisphere, South Africa’s Oppikoppi. It was a festival of music, different blends, types, varieties, from all corners of the world, local, regional, international, it was a true testament of how a festival should be done. I remember it took us forever to drive there, riding in a faulty bus with only expectations of what awaited us at our destination. There were cold nights, celebrated in the warmth of friends and fellow artists jamming around the fire. I have never been one for camping, but I set up my tent, or watched as it was set up for me, and proceeded to live the festival life.

Of course this meant ingesting dust, sharing questionable public bathrooms, getting mud on my shoes, clothes and pretty much everywhere, and standing in crowds of drunk/high/sweaty people – perhaps this was the birth of my temporary mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yet there were no barriers to pure unadulterated fun. I was no different from those same people with whom everything was shared and we were a community of sorts living in this global village sans borders or inhibitions. I was artist and I was fan. I was young and adventurous. And I was in love – with music and also a boy. Only one of those love affairs still breathes today. But there in that very vast spot I left a piece of my soul, in the same way that we leave little marks of ourselves in every place we hold in our hearts, in hope that someday we will make our way back.

In less than ten days I will return to that very same farm. Once again I will be fan and artist, eagerly awaiting my time on stage, while taking in the wonders that will inspire me to give it my all. I hope I am still young at heart, but I suspect the experience will be rejuvenating. My band of brothers is no longer the same as certain phenomena are only seasonal, but the memory will always remain. As I move forward knowing full well the mixture of excitement and terror that awaits me when I step on stage, I am taken back to that moment and all I can do is hope, and perhaps even pray, that once again I will belong.

The Oppikoppi experience: to be tried at least once in your lifetime (whether artist or fan).

The prodigal artist

O Cacto da Lua – “Moon Cactus”

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Foi num dia cheio de sol, que andando por uma loja de flores, encontrei dos cactos mais bonitos do mundo, o cacto da Lua. O nome deste cacto é Gymnocalycium mihanovichii friedrichii. Com esse nome até dá vontade de se chamar Sua Majestade Friedrichii! Decidi imediatamente que comprava dois, um para mim e um para alguém especial.

                   Cacto da Lua Laranja

O cacto da lua é especial pelo facto da planta em si, não conter clorofila, e portanto a cor do seu corpo manifesta-se de maneira diferente, portanto ao invés de verde, apresenta-se rosa, laranja, amarelo ou vermelho. Descobriu-se que esta planta não consegue sobreviver sozinha de modo a fazer as alterações químicas necessárias para a fotossíntese. Alguém muito brilhante experimentou o enxerto usando plantas de crescimento rápido para a base de modo a fornecer a produção do “alimento” que é essencial para a planta crescer e deste modo fornecendo as condições necessárias para o desenvolvimento da planta no topo que é neste caso a Sua Majestade Friedrichii!

Como cuidar:

Rega-se somente quando se sentir que o substrato está seco, portanto quando é necessário regar, tem que fazer-se abundantemente. Verifica-se se o substrato está seco através do peso do pote. Nunca deixar este cacto sentado numa “piscina de água”.

Simplesmente Magnífico

Falar com eles todos os dias é essencial!

Au revoir,

SeaShell =)

Tourism: Lisbon Calling & The Room Next Door

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Hello everyone,

If you want to find out more information about the Lisbon Calling Hostel, please go to the Tourism & Travelling Section. For those that are not very comfortable with backpacking, the owners of the Lisbon Calling Hostel developed the Room Next Door, a huge 18th century apartment next to the hostel that has been renovated.  The decoration of the hotel is very original, and if you are a fan of trendy places inspired by fusion of art, this is perfect for you. There are four beautiful private rooms, so if you are interested in a unique experience, this is it.

The room I slept in was really neat, comfy and bright. It was really nicely decorated and as a nature lover, I was surprised to see what the theme was on the wall:

Decor in my Room @Room Next Door

This was a perfect experience! Excellent highly trained and friendly staff, helpful and polite.  I really enjoyed my stay!

Place to drop the keys

You can get more information on:

http://roomnextdoor.wordpress.com/

Room I stayed in:

Once again,

SeaShell =)

Tourism: Lisbon Calling Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal

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Lisbon Calling is one of the best affordable places I have ever slept on my entire life. It has been described as a “stylish hostel“, but it is so much more. It is beautifully designed and offers a blend of charm and sophistication. This hostel is located in the heart of Lisbon, therefore giving the opportunity to appreciate the city during the day and to enjoy the bohemian nights at Bairro Alto.

"Very Hip"

Living Room @ Lisbon Calling – “Very Hip”

The rooms are very bright and spacious, bringing together an artistic sense and sensitivity.   Interestingly enough, the sleeping platforms and bunk beds are all custom-made.

Rooms @ Lisbon Calling – “bright and airy”

Lisbon Calling is being ran by a number of people who share their positive thinking mixed with an open-minded attitude. It is culturally diverse and provides an extremely comfortable and familiar environment.

To contact Lisbon Calling Hostel, go to:

http://www.facebook.com/LisbonCallingHostel

http://www.lisboncalling.net/

Price June-July: 20.00  to 22.00 euros depending on the dorm

If you think backpacking is not for you: please visit our next post – Lisbon Calling & The Room Next Door

Yours,

SeaShell

Elephants (Loxodonta africana): World’s Most Magnificent Mammals

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Many regions in Africa make great destinations to meet Elephants  (Loxodonta africana), one of the world’s greatest mammals. Elephants are the largest land animals found on Earth and they can grow up to 3m  in height and to 6,4m in length. Males can weigh up to 5, 000 kg and  females are smaller and can weigh up to 3, 000 kg.

In ancient cultures, elephants have been used as symbols for good luck, prosperity and fertility. In the Cederberg,South Africa, there is amazing rock paintings that portray the existence of elephants between 8 000 years to 100 to 200 years ago.

Rock paintings portraying Elephants

In certain parts of the world, it is possible to come close to this animal in its natural habitat, and this is the case of Kruger Park in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Just by looking at this elephant below, it is possible to see their impressive size and their remarkable intelligence particularly in terms of rituals, communication habits and magnificent sense of family ties have been appreciated by human beings for thousands of years.

In terms of senses, elephants have small eyes and they have limited and poor peripheral vision due to the size and position of their head and neck. Although they have a poor eye-sight, their sense of hearing is excellent and there are estimates that elephants can pick up on some sounds over very long distances. Elephants have a good sense of taste, their tongues are pink and long and they are highly discriminating in terms of what they eat. The elephant’s trunk is known to have many purposes: smelling, eating, picking things, making sounds and self-protection from potential dangers and it is described as an amazing weapon that is capable of killing.

Elephant in Kruger Park – 2012

Elephant populations are almost half of what they were 40 years ago. Although this is a very sensitive matter for conservationists, some parts of Africa have a really high number of elephants than populated areas can support. This is the case of Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are many organizations are involved in research of elephant behaviors, conservation of their habitats and finding sustainable solutions to make sure that human beings and elephants are able to co-exist peacefully in Africa.

Apart from conflicts with humans and habitat loss, ivory poachers are also a main threat to the elephant populations. These animals have been around for a long time and their place on Earth has should be secured.

My name is SeaShell and I am a big fan of elephants. Not so long ago, I touched a baby elephant, the cutest little thing with very tough skin. It was an amazing experience. They are kind animals. Elephant sanctuaries are amazing places anywhere in the world. Some of the elephants in these sanctuaries are very naughty and sometimes when your not looking, they steal a kiss from you. I just described why elephants are one of the world’s magnificent mammals and for all of the above reasons I think we should protect them.

I believe that whether you are a nature enthusiast or a wildlife dreamer, I promise to take you on exciting journeys around the world. Enjoy the little things in life!