Português of the Week

comemoração - celebration

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Just a little cry.

Everyone's been in this situation: 

You're at a restaurant or cafe and you order a juice, smoothie, frappuccino, etc. While you're waiting for your icy beverage, you watch the employee turn off the blender and pour its contents into a cup. The cup fills up to the top, leaving a smooth curl of blended beauty. The employee puts the blender down and...that's when you notice it...the 2 or 3 ounces of extra drink. You paid for a glass, but are you still entitled to that little bit? If not, what's its fate? Will someone else drink it? Will it get dumped out? Should you ask for it? 

Rio's beverage culture is so rich that even the little extra has a word: the chorinho.
Literally, chorinho is translated as the "little cry". A more likely scenario in which this term is used would be at a bar. I was having a draft beer with a friend the other day and he noticed the price had just gone up for a pint. "Man", he groaned. "At this price, I'd better be getting a chorinho." Immediately after ordering the drinks, he took a big sip and asked the waitress for the little cry. She smiled and returned a moment later with another glass containing a sip's worth of beer. My mind: blown.
In a city that's getting more expensive by the hour, a funny little slang like this isn't only amusing, it's essential. If you don't figure out how you make your Real go a little further, you're gonna be the one having a little cry.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Produce on Wheels

It's Thursday. Time to stock up on fruit and veggies. 

And this is a bus you can't miss. 

Sacolão na Comunidade (Shopping Bag in the Community) is a city project that brings cheap local produce to the pacified favelas. Every Thursday morning, a large bus filled with everything from apples to zucchini pulls up to the square. You simply grab a big blue bag or two and fill them up with whatever you want. Papaya, peppers, peas, potatoes, pears, plantains, etc. And the best part: everything is the same price. R$1.99/kilo.  

This service for developing communities is only one of many. Last month, the city showed up with a truck full of new refrigerators. Anybody who brought their old ones could swap them for free.

Sometimes I imagine the fruitbus getting in a horrible crash on its way to the hill. And then dozens of people on the street sprinting over to the wreck with tiny straws, sticking them through the broken windows to get a taste of the world's most amazing smoothie.

A few names I've given my market on wheels:

The Veggie Vehicle
Fruit 66
Legumes with Leg Room
V8 (give that one time)