Português of the Week

comemoração - celebration

Friday, April 29, 2011

The New Face of Keepin It Rio

The first picture I took in Rio de Janeiro was of Alex's forehead. He woke up the very first morning with a giant bump that resembled a fat baby hiding under a rosy-pink blanket. The second picture was a dead rat in a deserted downtown street. That rat picture has been the face of Keepin it Rio for over 2 years. It is now time to bury the dead and move on to a fresh, more lively personality.

Meet Lingüinha:

Lingüinha lives in Ilha Grande--the turkey sandwich-island (for those who actually read this blog.) Lingua means tongue in Portuguese, so it's no mystery where this wacky creature gets his name. 

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not a big dog fan, nor any animal for that matter. Nevertheless, I was captivated. He's got these facial expressions that reveal so much more than just a hungry dog. One glance at his wide-eye, puffy-cheek face and it's like you've had a deep conversation with him, like you know what he's been through and what he wants out of life. 

Thiago threw some pork on the ground for the dog. He had some trouble chewing it...I think maybe because he never managed to pull his lingua in. Once he eventually consumed the meat, he looked up and, with his eyes, said something like, "Thank you sir. I hope you live a full life. And remember, you can always anticipate the difficult by managing the easy."

Welcome to the blog, Lingüinha.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Favela Fight

The other day, a violent fight broke out directly outside our apartment. My roommate, Pablo, caught the whole thing from our kitchen window.

I still haven't left my room.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bem-vindo ao Chapéu

Welcome to Chapéu Mangueira.

Or in English, The Mango Tree's Hat.

After months of hostelling, couchsurfing and living with a crazy witch-lady who makes cakes all day I've finally found a house in Rio.

Pablo, my Chilean friend, and I decided to look for a place to split between the two of us. We stumbled upon an online post. A man named Sergio had several rooms available in a house he just bought near Copacabana.

The southernmost part of Copacabana is Leme--a quiet nook extending only two or three streets from the beach. It consists entirely of 10-story apartment buildings, hotels and restaurants. Walking away from the beach, you reach the bottom of the hill. Then you reach steps. These steps make the Santa Monica 4th Street stairs look like...well, they make them look like fewer steps...or maybe the same amount of steps, but it makes them seem fewer...I'm bad at things.

Anyway, here are a few of them:

It suffices to say that my legs and arms will be even more disproportionate after living here.

Chapéu Mangueira is a morro, or favela. During the 80's and 90's, this area had a history of drug violence that has burnt a negative image in the minds of many Cariocas today. Tropa de Elite, one of the most popular Brazilian movies, took place in Chapéu Mangueira's next-door favela, Babilônia.

In 2008 it became one of the first pacified favelas in Rio. That means it is now reincorporated into the city and is patrolled by the UPP (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora). The pacification police just hang out around entrances and pretty much do nothing. Every now and then they'll return a "good morning" or an occasional "hey". But that's about it. Drug trafficking in the community is now nonexistent and it's a safe place to live for a gringo like me.

Everyone in the neighborhood is welcoming and warm-hearted. I've started helping out at the community's main office whenever they need computer help. The first day I walked in, Michelle (the lady that does everything) asked me how to make a new folder on the desktop and add files to it. It's amazing how much simple knowledge I take for granted. Tomorrow morning, I'll be transferring all the community's files to a new computer. I'm the new I.T. guy, I guess. Well, it is the family business.

Here's the three-six from our balcony

Stay tuned for updates. Until then, keep that ish rio!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Você está queimando meu filme!

Last night I was having a few drinks with some Brazilian guys. One dude was checking out a server. His buddies kept laughing at him, mentioning something about a past encounter with a less-than-extraordinary young woman. His response: Você está queimando meu filme!

You are burning my film.

Film is a transparent strip of material used to record photographic images. When it is placed in contact with fire, the images are irreparably destroyed. (SEE photo a.)

photo a.

In the aforementioned situation at the bar, the person was using the analogy of film to refer to his reputation. By "burning" his image, his friends are hindering his chances of successfully achieving his romantic goals with the employee of the establishment.

As demonstrated in Inglorious Basterds, film is heavily flammable.

This phrase could be used in a multitude of situations.

A boy is getting picked up from his mom at the mall. She is honking at waving at him from the car to get his attention. His friends laugh and he melts. She's burning his film.

Lyricist Bun B from the Underground Kings perhaps puts it best:

So when I raise up, you can keep on layin down
I hate to clown, but that's life as I see it
You're lookin for a full-time man, I can't be it
You're cramping my style
-UGK, "Cramping My Style"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kickin it at the Coqueirão

Took this today. Just another beautiful Tuesday in April at Ipanema beach.

Couldn't ask for much more than this.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


There are few things that can smooth out my ruffled feathers better than a good foreign idiom. Ice cream. Ice cream’s one of those things. I'd have to think about the others.

Since my arrival in Rio, my friend Micheline had been talking about taking a trip to Ilha Grande—an island the shape of half of a turkey sandwich after you take little bites all the way around its perimeter. Those nibbles are the endless coves and beaches, each having serious postcard potential.

Initially, the excursion would consist of myself, Micheline, Thiago, and Ellen. A few friends had expressed interest as well.

As the departure date drew nearer, Ellen was having doubts—and justifiably so. She had just gotten back from São Paulo and would be going to Salvador in a few weeks. No one else was able to get off work. It looked like it was going to be the couple and me.

“Você vai segurar a vela,” Leo tells me chuckling to himself as he twirls is curly curls. I’m going to hold the candle? What the hell does that mean? My Portuguese isn’t amazing, but I’m certain I heard him correctly. He explains. He was referring to the Brazilian expression that describes the person hanging out with a couple.

It’s the third wheel. To them, holding a candle is being the third wheel.

But it has the complete opposite connotation. A third wheel on a bicycle is a completely useless object. A bike only needs two to function properly. I suppose the third could come in handy if the rider had a flat tire. Or it can trail behind.

Holding a candle, on the other hand, is actually a noble thing. Just imagine: a flame, burning bright. Two people in love, together as one. And then there’s the hand that holds that candle. I think it’s a much nicer way to explain the situation.

So I held that candle. I held it all the way to Ilha Grande and back.

I even held it underwater.

Valeu a pena.

Sunday, April 3, 2011