Solbit Has Opinons! … on the Street Art & Graffiti of Porto

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

Have you caught up with us yet?  We’re still in Portugal, but not Madeira.  We’re in the old town of Porto.  Porto has already taught me something about myself, something I didn’t know: I have OPINIONS!

Nona and Papa took me for a walk to look at Street Art and Graffiti.  When I saw those red doors with the boats, I said, “Hey, I like that!”  Papa asked, “Are you sure?”  I said, “Yes, I know I like that one.”  He sort of squeezed his face together and said, “Well, that’s one person’s opinion.”   We walked on.

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“Now, that’s a nice piece of Street Art,” Papa said, and he pointed to this.

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I just stared at it, “A mouth gaping open with fingers sticking in it?  Yuck!” Nona jumped in, “Solbit, Papa has his opinion, and you have yours.  They don’t have to be the same.”  “Nona, did you say that I have an opinion?” I asked.  She explained that how I felt about a piece of Street Art is one kind of opinion, and I had one, an opinion, that is.  Wow!  “So, now that I have an opinion, where should I put it, Nona? Also, where is it?”  She advised me to just remember it, and, if I want, I can exchange it for a different opinion sometime later.  Also, she said I don’t have to pay anything for it, and I could have as many opinions as I liked!

So, then I went searching for Street Art and Graffiti to have opinions about them.  I got on a roll.  Look …

In my opinion, these cardboard figures — pretend people — in an empty building are amusing (funny).  I like them.  What’s your opinion?

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When I saw the graffiti scrawled on this art, I just got angry.  In my opinion, its not nice to scribble on someone else’s art.

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I like this art, but, again, why mess it up by scribbling underneath it?  I think someone has a problem, and it’s not the artist.

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Here’s something interesting to me.  Two people can share the same opinion!  Did you know that?  Papa and I shared the opinion that this metal face is appealing, and that the graffiti shouldn’t be put on it.  Hey, we shared two opinions!

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Nona cautioned me, “Solbit, you want to always feel comfortable to express your opinions, but you don’t want to become opinionated.  Don’t assume your opinions should be shared by everyone else.  Give others room to feel comfortable to express their opinions, too.  OK?”

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“OK, but I really, really wish those graffiti scribblers would stop messing up the art. Why can’t they just do their own scribbles someplace else?” I asked Nona.

She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know, Solbit, but you should never scribble on other people’s walls or art.  OK?”  I easily agreed with Nona, but I wondered if it might be ok for me someday to paint art over someone else’s graffiti?  Like this.

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What’s your opinion?

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

September 2014

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Asks for an Exception

*New reader? Get oriented below

Dear Nicalai,

Hi, how are you?  We miss you, but we are having a good time traveling with Solbit in Yangshuo, China.  Can you find that city on a map of China?  As we travel from place to place, we have time to talk, and often Solbit asks us to tell her a story.

Papa told Solbit a true story about a time when travel to Cuba was forbidden by the U.S. government, and he got an exception from the government to travel to Cuba.  He wanted to promote peace between the Cuban people and the American people.

Papa’s Cuban hosts asked him, “Would you like to do anything special?” Papa said, “Yes, I would like to have red beans and rice with a Mojito (a special Cuban drink) at the little cafe where the famous American writer, Ernest Hemingway, wrote his name on the wall.”

The very nice Cuban people knew exactly where to take Papa for supper that night.  When he ate his red beans and rice and drank his Mojito, he saw that all the cafe walls had writing (graffiti) on them.  So many words that he couldn’t find Ernest Hemingway’s name, although it was there somewhere.

The Cuban waiter came to Papa’s table.  He handed Papa a felt tipped pen. Then he told Papa, “Señor, please.  Write your name on our wall.”  So, with his permission, Papa wrote his name on the wall, followed by the year, 1987.

Solbit said, “I wish you would take me to a place where I could write my name on the wall.  You know, if you write on someone’s wall, they usually get quite upset.  You are not supposed to write on walls.”

Nona said, “Solbit, you’re right, never — Never! — write on a wall, but sometimes an exception can be made.”  Solbit asked, “What’s an ‘exception?’” Nona explained, “An exception is something unusual or rarely allowed.”  Solbit said, “So, I can never write on the wall, but, if the owner of the wall tells me it’s ok to write on the wall, then I have an exception?”  Papa said, “Right.”

Solbit excitedly asked, “So, where can I get an exception?”  Nona said, “Solbit, I’ve done my research, and I think you are going to like where we’re going for supper tonight here in Yangshuo.”

We took Solbit to a little cafe on the Food Street in Yangshuo. The cafe’s name is “Lucy’s Place.”  Lucy was there.  Solbit looked around.  She was surprised.  “Nona, Papa, look! All the walls have writing.”  Nona said, “Yes, Solbit, and look at the ceiling.”  Solbit looked up.  “The ceiling has writing on it too?! How can anyone get up there?”  Papa said, “Someone either had a long pen or long legs!”

Lucy asked Solbit, “Would you like to have your name on the wall, too?”  Solbit replied with a question, “Do you mean that you would give me an exception?”  Lucy said, “Yes, Solbit, here’s a felt tipped pen.  You may put your name on my wall.”

Solbit was very happy. “Papa, you’ve done this before.  Will you help me, please?”  Papa said, “Yes.” He picked Solbit up, put her on top of a picture frame on the wall, and, with the pen, he traced Solbit’s silhouette on the wall.  Nona scolded Papa, “Be careful!  You better not get ink on Solbit.” (But he did.)

Solbit said, “Ooo. Yuck.  Papa, don’t ink me!”  Papa said, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, give me a break.  There, now I’m writing your name on the wall and making an arrow from it to your silhouette.”  Nona took this photo, so that Solbit could show you that she got her exception.  Here’s the photo:

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And here’s the wall:

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So, that’s the story how Solbit got an exception.  Please remember to never write on the wall at home, at school, or at a restaurant — unless you get an exception, first.

Love,

Nona & Papa

October 2013

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”