Portugal, a place where people drive faster than you. im told Portugal is the poorest country in Europe, but that doesn't show by the cars people drive. new audi's, porsches, and other exotic cars blur the highway. it doesnt take long to notice there are not many SUV's scattering the roads. this is one thing that bothers me about the U.S. people think they need to drive around these huge vehicles. if you're using them for farm work, thats one thing. if you're not, you're likely on the "well, in case of an accident, i want to be in a 'safe' vehicle" bandwagon. my two cents on the issue. i do believe it is an issue that needs rethinking. emissions and gas consumption alone is enough to talk about. the intent of a hummer is to drive through the woods and over trees. if you want a demonstration, i will volunteer to drive your vehicle off road, where SUV's are meant to be driven.
alternative energy is easily noticeable in Portugal by all the wind turbines scattered on the tops of hills. aesthetically 'cool' if you asked me. side note: in Michigan there is currently a proposal (with artist renditions) to place wind turbines in Lake Michigan, 4 miles offshore. this stretch of land along the lake produces some of the strongest and most consistent wind in the United States. why SHOULDNT we be using it for and alternative energy source?! the first people to put up a stink were landowners that think it's aesthetically ugly. give me a break. think outside of your small box you live in for once. just once. this would produce some 1500 jobs locally and that is something our state needs more than any other right now and thats aside from the energy the wind alone would produce.
read story on wind turbines in Michigan here: http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/03/revised_offshore_wind_farm_pro.html
on a tangent there.. back to Portugal.
castles that date back to the 1200's when the Moro's ruled; the walled city of Obidos was one of my favorite stops. a place where you enter through the large 800 year old arched walls and walk through small skinny cobblestone streets. it was here i met Reimer. a man wise in his years stood against a bright yellow wall donning suspenders, a golfers cap and ray ban aviators drawing from a cigar. i already liked him. not knowing if he even spoke english, i asked, "how you doin' ?". a deep foreign voice responded with a puff of smoke; "pretty good, and you?". i learned that Reimer is from the Netherlands. after only a few minutes i was invited to come and stay with he and his family in the his homeland, the Netherlands. for those of you whom are americans, i think you can agree, this is something not really done in our country; inviting strangers to come to our home, stay with us, and show us around. i was taken back. immediately i started trying to figure out in my head how much it would cost to change my air tickets and who was this nice guy? for those of you that dont know me, my ancestors came over to holland, Michigan from the Netherlands many years ago. it has been a goal of mine to "return to the homeland" and see what my roots are really all about. although i didn't have the money to visit Reimer on this trip, ill return. its too good an offer not to and i owe it to my ancestors and my friend Reimer. Reimer, thanks for being a great friend. i will see you someday. you have my word.