Português of the Week

comemoração - celebration

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slouching São Paulo Steez

The latest in Brazilian
hilarity = incredibly
spacious buses for short trips between cities.

I mean, Bob puts up that chair divider and he’s cuddling with the poor lass. Who knew coach travel could be this comfy, while simultaneously managing to break age barriers.

We marked our two-months in Rio's trenches, with a trek to the state beneath us geographically and in terms of grime —São Paulo. Notorious for makin’ ish and shippin’ ish, it’s not a business state, it’s a business…state.
That was a Jay-Z reference.
I didn’t find Jay-Z down São-th, because he’s touring with Coldplay and prepin’ to perform at the presidential innaguration.

But this wasn't about Jay-Z or the new Kanye jawn that I tried to repeatedly worked to wrap my head around during the two 6-hour maximum-recline rides — it was about seeing things that we would never see while Keepin It so damn Rio.

Drunk buildings.
Every structure has a mercedez-bend to it in the port-city of Santos. I imagine there is an entire well-established industry that specializes in constructing and installing specific furniture leveling equipment. Rio takes pride in it's crooked archetecture (see: favelas), but just blames it on poverty instead of something as trait as shaky soil. Which is a curious scapegoat considering the sand felt more like concrete.

Far from the soft squeeking of the Copacabana sand. Yeah — it's really hard. But it's also difficult to really get any of it on you. Good for games, undesirable for frolicking. Kids kicked the futi around without dune interference. Yet, the usually leisurely afternoon activity of Sand Castling, suddenly turns chore when you have to dig for every grain. São givith and it takith. But it also selleth.

Buttselling. — the nice (?) way to call the prosts.
Ya see, in Rio, them shits is just out there. Like bang. Ready to go, be 'em men, women, or transformers. But the busy state to the São-th, keeps things legit and transparent. Better for biz. This includes card slangin'.

Card Slangin'.
I mean, Jesus. Kids in São Paulo actually have the nerve, to be out in the streets doing something other than begging/looting/huffing chemicals. Instead, these little bastards spend their hours trading absurdly priced pre-printed epileptic seisures back and forth — taking it seriously no less. The little tots pictured above are scene "trading" hologramic hufflepuffs and peekamen in Sao Paulo's Japanese district of Liberdade. Complete with ill graffiti.

Ill Graffiti.
Although Rio has some deceeee murals and jumbles, it's S to the P got that craze spray. When you paint a guy who's paintin next to another guy, who's not even phased by the painting of the first guy— shheeeshh, that's some ill graff.
Peep the green knit sweater. Diamond pattern. Who needs real diamonds when you got the diamond pattern? Who needs small avocados when you got big avocados?

Big & Small Avocados.
It might seem like a blessing to have avocados this big at your disposal. Unfortunately these aren't those kind of avocados — they are sweet. So sweet that some people order avocado and orange juice mixtures at juice bars in Rio. Even if that order was on accident, the fact that they didn't look at me strange when I fumbled my pronunciation, indicates the regularity of the order. In short—the small ones are more near to normal. Unattainable in Rio.

This Dog

Cariocas would give this pup the boot.
Rio's pet population is more well kept than 90% of the population.
They are dressed to for an ideal.
Never to reflect the actual streets they prance on.
Down São-th them shits got Mohawks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


we’d be dancing along the riverbank with Mowgli and Baloo. Or was The Jungle Book about India? Whatever. You know what I mean. Shit’s wild.

You think I’m over exaggerating, don’t you? Well, Doubting Thomas, I would like to introduce you to our neighbor Jesus. Oh, you two have already met? Seriously, though. The famous Christ Redeemer statue is a stone’s throw from our house. And I’d gladly cast that first stone to prove it. I realize this might be difficult to understand, so here’s a diagram that I’ve drawn to help illustrate the whereabouts of our abode.

There aren’t any giant tomatoes or cheese wedges (those are just our magnets) but this is an exact 1:198 scale drawing of our house in relation to Rio de Janeiro. You be the judge.

Also, I’ve recently discovered why they call it the “rain forest”—it rains. In America we say, “when it rains, it pours.” In Brazil they say, “when it rains, it rains.” I like their expression better. When it rains, it rains. It means they weren’t kidding when they said that it rains in the first place. And what happens when it pours in America? When it pours, it pours? So then when it rains or pours, it pours. I don’t understand. Watch this:

After every storm, it is calm again. Some call it “The Calm After the Storm.” I call it “The 2nd Night Out After the Hangover.” The rain forest is no exception. The monkeys come out. The toucans squawk their squawks. The bugs continue biting me. The geckos seek refuge in our house, dodging projectile Tupperware.

Everything goes back to normal—but just a little more beautiful than before.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What the funk?

I bet your thinking, “This music, uploaded for me and now streaming on this blog, doesn’t sound like the funk that I know.”

You’re right. It doesn’t

But this funk is what Rio sounds like. Not everyone likes it, not everyone thinks it's going in the right direction, but it shore is sexy. As sexy as Rio's shores.

Sure the lyrics of this particular song might be “Tonight you can call me a bitch.” But they could also be “Tonight, I am going to do my part to respect myself. I hope that you, in-turn, treat me with respect and we both enjoy ourselves.”

Don’t worry. When you can’t understand a language, the meanings of the lyrics kind of become D.I.Y.

There will certainly be more about funk to come.


I hate travel writing

Sure it might seem ironic. I mean, by most definitions I’m a traveler and by the important definitions, I’m a writer. But travel writing (whether I’m doing the writing or the reading) is superiorly lame.

Most people think they can write, but somehow, even more people think they can travel write. They assume that the moment the ink dries on a fresh passport stamp, they have been transformed into a wordsmith. What’s worse is that these literary mutants heap the heavy, cringe-worthy burden of reading the narcissistic, over-generalized, uninteresting, lengthy garbage on top of their closest allies — friends and family.

Some people still have the decency to use the limited space provided on a postcard. This is advantageous to both the giver and receiver of an out-of-country dispatch. Yet, today much of these feces footnotes fly instantly across the globe, via the borderless medium of e-mail. Even more unfortunately, like everything else known to man, this growing steaming pile has toppled over onto the blog-eh-sphere.

We got how-to-travel-like-me blogs, I-promise-I’m-really-unique travel blogs, aren’t-you-wondering-why-I-have-this-much-time-on-my-hands-being-abroad travel blogs, hurry-look-at-me-I-need-attention-and-ironically-that’s-what-I-left-my-own-country-in-the-first-place travel blogs, and more.

My alphabet-soup vomit contains better writing than travel blogs.

That said, I ain’t here to recommend a damn thang to do in Rio, to paint any pictures of beautiful sunsets, or to make any top-ten lists about what I like about Brazil.

For now though, I am here. Along with Bob, on what will likely prove to be a fruitless attempt to translate our laughter into web noise.

I refuse, to call what I am doing travel writing or travel blogging or any variation of those terms. Instead, I consider this a blog about what goes down in Rio. I could, as easily, write it about what happens to me in traffic.

It just wouldn’t be as hilarious.

Ya dig?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


to Lapa on Friday nights. Sure, you can try not to. But you'll end up there
"I can't handle one more night in Lapa."
"Yea, me neither. Let's go to Copacabana. It's supposed to have the best clubs anyway."
"Sounds good. I just need to meet up with this girl first."
"OK. Where?"
I've learned to just accept Lapa as the inevitable destination on a Friday. It's like a period at the end of a statement: you just expect it. (see, there it is) I suppose the party town has a few drawbacks. Every curb has a constantly flowing stream of human urine, quickly followed by its accompanying stench. Each scan of the crowd is marred by a transvestite prost, somehow looking more naked wearing clothes than if they were actually naked. Dirt. Crime. Sex. Beggars. Fear. Filth. Puke. What's not to love?

What is to love is Noberto. Noberto is the "Caipirinha Guy". He makes the best Caipirinha in Rio. One Lime. Two scoops of sugar. Ice. And a lot of cachaça (Brazilian liquor). A short man. Dark, with a bit of a jerry curl going on. Always smiling and he loves his thumbs-up. I think cutting limes all night helps block out the Amazon River of pee ten feet from his stand. Fortunately, you can hear that one before stepping in it.

If somebody really hates Lapa, I think he or she expects too much from the world. The world is dirty. The world has pee rivers. The world smells like coagulated hooker sweat. But if you take the time, you'll find a lime.


of keeping a written account of my experience in Brazil. I mean I've been here for nearly two months of my six-month fiasco. Why start now? Well, that's a handsome question. I think there are so many things happening that I'm starting to forget some of them (or at least remembering them in hilariously cartoony ways). And hey, why not share some stories with my favorite people at the same time? So yes, I will blog. I will blog my thoughts. I will blog my observations. I will blog blog blog. But wait. This all sounds very unBob. Is it, though? What is Bob anyway? Maybe that's what I'm trying to find out. Or maybe that's what I'm finding to try out. If you are one of the fortunate few that end up reading this: 1. I'm sorry, 2. Why?, 3. Did you vote for Obama?, and 4. I hope my adventures provide some source of entertainment for you. If I could priority ship my love to you, I would. I'd first ask how much. But I'd pay. I would. But then what's the point of even asking the price? I guess it is important to know how much I'm sending my love for. Oop, coffee's ready.