Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 3.5 (segunda-feira, decembro 7)

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 3.5 (segunda-feira, decembro 7)

Mosquito bite count (revised):
-Hands: 3 / Arms: 1 / Shoulders: 2 / Chest: 1 / Face: 4 / Neck: 2
-Back: 0 / Legs: 0

Sunburn incident count: 1 (upper shoulders, mild redness, slightly sensitive but not painful to the touch)

It’s finally dawning on me how unspoiled Porto de Galinhas is in terms of tourism. The bulk of the tourists are other Brazilians and finding anyone who speaks any English is an exercise in futility. We are looking like complete gringos (even us Asians) as we are forced to consult with whatever Portuguese dictionary is on hand when we are looking for stuff. “Tem cartas de baralho pra lembrança?” (“Do you have souvenir playing cards?”) Apparently, the preferred term is “cartas de jogo.”

This is somewhat refreshing, as I’m getting a more authentic tourist experience than I would with some plastic wrapped tour in frequently visited areas such as Cancun or Rio De Janeiro. But on the other hand, it reminds me about how little of the outside world I know and it’s a very humbling experience. And we have a tendency to laugh at people when they butcher English too. Looks like the shoe’s on the other foot now.

It’s even more hammered in by distressing feeling of “One of these is not like the other.” Despite the large number of ethnic Japanese living in Brazil, I don’t know where they are, although we did see some Asian tourists. And while Mestre did warn the Other Vince and me that we’d be mistaken for Japanese (despite the fact that I look less Asian than most Asians), it’s still a shock when some random local kid walks up to us and goes, “Vou é Japonês?” and then bursts out laughing when I respond, “Não, e sou chinês.” Either I pronounced it wrong or an Asian person in Brazil is that much of an alien thing to them. The lack of fluency in Portuguese is hampering my efforts to blend in.

Thankfully, our senior student/instructor Camara has been our unofficial tour guide and translator. This is extremely helpful as we would otherwise not know what is good to eat or what the Brazilian instructors are trying to say to us. He is someone we typically look up to for instruction and advice. And then we are sometimes reminded that he’s actually younger than a lot of the less-advanced students.

The evening was spent taking a class taught by Professore Pitbull in the middle of the public square, which was followed by a roda. As we were finishing, a street vendor was selling this whistle that made this annoying “WAH-WAHH” sound. Camara, all excited, wanted the Other Vince and me to also purchase one of these whistles. We refused, not wanting to blow 10 R$ on something so frivolous and annoying. Camara then threatened to play with the whistle during tomorrow’s road trip to Olinda, but wouldn’t if we all bought a whistle. We still refused.

As we walked away in search of something to eat, we met up with another touring student, Açai. Camara comes up to us in a group, trying to get money from her. As a mom, we figured she’d know better, so Other Vince and I are doing our best to make sure that she does NOT relinquish any money to him. Possibly because we were sort of freaking out, we may or may not told her WHY it was a bad idea to give him any money, because she relented, reasoning that Camara was going to pay her back with interest.

Tomorrow’s road trip will to Olinda be buffered with a combination of Gravol, iPods cranked to the max, earplugs, and any other method of distraction.

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