Nao Falo Portuguese

Why is this guy staring at me?
He just asked me a question, what did he say?
Where am I, again?
Another restaurant.
Doys? Menu en Ingles?
Ahhhh, there’s that look.
The look of acknowlegement.
The look that my pronunciation was flawlessly wrong.
Every part of it.
Except the last word.
He always gets the last word.
And the phone gets picked up, the manager dialed.
Do you speak Italian, he asks?
Or maybe it’s German or French.
Of course not, we speak Ingles.
Actually, I’m not sure my English is any good anymore either.
But for now the necessities of life must be provided.
Food, Transportation, Toiletries, Translation Books.
Goh-streeh-yah falar Portuguese.

A few tips for your travels in Brazil

Well, not actually sure if these apply to the entire country, but as of yesterday they were true in Porto Alegre:

  • You will not be able to keep up with the servers at the Churrascaria. Don’t even try. They are there to feed you like kings, and if that means 25 kg of meat on one plate, that is what they will do.
  • Eat at a churrascaria for lunch, forget about dinner. Maybe even breakfast the next day.
  • The cashiers will come find you if they accidently undercharge you for two chopps.
  • Chain translation (Using an English to Spanish dictionary, then a Spanish to Portuguese dictionary, so on and so forth) sounds like a good idea until you have to carry them around. Plus, finding a Portuguese to Japanese dictionary isn’t really going to help me next month.
  • The locals do not go out till late. I don’t think they sleep. I’ve seen them work, eat, sleep, drink, dance, drink….but so far, no sleeping.
  • While they are not sleeping, they are occupying clubs that are too small. This seems like a problem, but only if you think Brazilian women are unattractive. And noone thinks that. No-one.
  • Make sure your driver picks you up a litte later than usual if you plan on going out….see above posts regarding the lateness of clubs involving drinking, dancing, and women.
  • You can always make small talk by asking if they speak English. Someone in a group of Brazilians usually does, and he’s usually 6’3” and wondering why his girlfriend sat down next to you.

More to come from the weekend and week two of Brazilorama 2006!

Turn to page 18 if James should take the elevator. Turn to page 20 if James decides the stairs would be the safer alternative.

I woke up to the sound of my hotel room’s air conditioner turning off. Abruptly. My hand reached out to find the remote, fancy AC’s have remotes (and you probably don’t refer to them as AC’s), and pushed the on/off switch futilely. Rolling over to see how much time I had left to sleep, I couldn’t find the alarm clock. Because it was turned off. Lights? Nope. Great. Awoken too early by a blackout in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

No alarms were sounding, so I figured this was a common occurence. I made sure my cell phone’s alarm was still on and the power outage wasn’t mysteriously affecting the treo. Good to go, time for a little additional shut-eye. Well, for about 20 more minutes. 5:45am used to be so much earlier.

Stumbling on the way to the shower, I found that two lights in the room worked; one directly over the door and one in the shower. I opened the hinged window in the shower and peered out into the illuminated street. “Not as widespread of a problem as I thought,” I thought, as I waited for the water to get hot.

The curtains usually serve as my morning insulation, but today they gave way to the light. It was the easiest way to make sure that my socks matched for the rest of the day. Still no progress returning to a state of electrocution as I exited my room more than an hour later, but the hallway lights were triggered when I stepped into the corridor. Now, do I risk the elevator?