Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 8 (sabado, decembro 12)

Mosquito bite count: (unchanged)
-Hands: 4 / Arms: 5 / Shoulders: 4 / Chest: 1 / Head: 8 / Neck: 2
-Back: 0 / Legs: 0

Sunburn incident count: 1 (completely healed, now waiting to peel)

The various spurts of Internet goodness have indicated that things at home are going as well as can be...when I left, things were kinda going to hell in the apartment (mouse infestation), but to hopefully soften the blow, I made sure that there would be a gift waiting for the girlfriend on her birthday. I know this won’t make up for the mouse infestation that was there when I left, but I have to try.

The only infestation I am dealing with is mosquitoes and tiny ants which are just about everywhere. Last night while chewing on sugar cane, I discovered ants made their way to it, so to protect my precious sugar cane, I tossed in the bar fridge. Now I’m chewing on ant-free sugar cane while spitting the fibres out into a bag while blogging. Life is good.

On the other hand, I’m just wondering if I’m getting a negative return on energy investment, as I have chewed through about 4 inches of sugar cane in the past half hour, which is less than a teaspoon of sugar. The mosquito bites on my arms have radiated redness to the surrounding area, which has made my arm slightly puffy.

Today has been relax day, where we had no set agenda (i.e.: no 2-hour road trip to Olinda or Palmares), except for music class with Professore Pit Bull. Lots of lazy going on here, with us just walking to town in search of a beach towel, but the language barrier makes stuff difficult. We still haven’t found a suitable beach towel.

We had pizza lunch with Julia, one of the Pousada hostesses. We’ve unofficially given her the Capoeira nickname Bacalhau (“cod”), based on the number of times she’s attempted to get us to pronounce that word properly (“Bola… ba… ba… BA… BA… KA… LEEYAO”). While she attempts to teach us Portuguese, we attempt to share English as well.

After lunch, Julia was going to help me find a beach towel, but not in the stores we came across (“Tudo não tem!”). While the women in the group were checking out a place for wraps and sarongs, Julia suggested that I buy a gift for the girlfriend at home. I understand enough to realize that she is trying to get me to tell her which dress size. I have to go with the typical guy response: Eu não sei (“I don’t know”). She then goes onto compare various sizes, pointing at me, indicating esbelto (slender) and The Other Vince as mas forte (not so slender).

I’m not sure if in Brazil there are consequences for buying gifts of clothing for wives and girlfriends of the wrong size, but I attempt to explain it. “Eu compra ‘mas forte’ pra minha namorada…” I start. I then point to myself and make a choking and punching gesture. Maybe it’s easier to say, “Ela me mata.”

After an emergency run to the Pousada restroom (not actual traveller’s diarrhoea, as far as I can tell), we hit the beach. I come to an area where some of our friends have already rented some chairs and umbrellas. This is handy, as this allows me to check my bag with some of our Pousada neighbours. The Other Vince stays out in the water while I alternate between poorly-motivated Capoeira movements and jumping in the water.

I am greeted with another reminder of business practices in Brazil when Kirk, one of our travel companions, has the misfortune of getting stuck with a bill for chairs that were supposed to have been paid for. The problem of the language barrier rears its ugly head yet again, which leads to our young adoptee to attempt to diffuse the situation with his additional two months in Brazil (and therefore better understanding of Portuguese and Brazilian culture).

Realizing that he’s not going to win this battle any time soon, Kirk produces 20 R$, muttering, “They need it more than I do,” and dropping it on the ground in front of the vendor before storming off. The vendor says words to the effect of, “You don’t rip people off in Brazil.” After yesterday’s lunch incident, this is somewhat ironic.

The odd cultural differences have gotten The Other Vince and I saying f***-it to the Brazilian public infrastructure and we have decided to flush the TP down the toilet, partly on the advice of one of the English speaking tourists we ran into last night. This is us exacting our karmic retribution for being forced to pay for lunch.

Today Mestre went off to pick up Mestre Derli, a Capoeira mestre who spent time in the actual Cidade de Deus (“City of God,” a notorious favela which was immortalized in the film of the same name). I met him at our previous Batizados and have had several classes with him.

We were supposed to have roda in the public square, but the general lack of organization (i.e.: put together by the lower belted students including myself) means that the likelihood of it occurring is put into question, up until the point that we find some other group members. Not the best roda by usual standards, partly because it’s completely casual (no one is in full uniform, only a few instruments), also because Mestre wasn’t here, but we manage to attract enough attention that some of the locals want to play, and we even get a tourist from Australia to come out as well.

Tomorrow is Batizado day in Olinda and we’re leaving as soon as we’re done breakfast.

Food report: we were told to budget approximately 45 R$ per day, and other Vince and I have consistently kept our food costs at under 35 R$ per day on average (even including when we got stuck with a padded lunch bill yesterday). We finally breached that today with pizza at lunch (9 R$ each) and steak dinner (31 R$).

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