Friday, January 30, 2009

First days in Brazil

My apologies not posting sooner. This is the first time I've been able to get wifi and my usb drive died. But my current wifi location/situaion is somewhat hilarious. There is a DJ pumping what I would call "organic-hindi-techno" music about 15ft away. I hear a drum circle not so far away. The forum is over for the day and now the parties begin. I'm trying to do my homework... Seriously. But the internet is hopelessly slow. I'm giving up. Time to go explore and find a samba circle.

Belem, Brazil

So we really should have brought a phrasebook… I really should have listened more closely to my Portuguese lessons from my roommates. I really should learned something more than please and thank you.

Laura-Alex and I are staying in a home out in the suburbs of Belem with lovely people who have had few interactions with foreigners. Over breakfast, communication was nearly hopeless between our sleep deprived minds and general confusion of finding ourselves on a different continent. Then naptime. Over lunch, things improved, especially with the discovery of a yellowed and well-worn English-Portuguese dictionary. Then more naptime.

I woke up at 10pm and was a bit disappointed that I spent my first day in Brazil in bed, so I went for a walk with another guest who speaks both English and Portuguese! Hurrah, I found my savior-translator. We ended up ‘going out’ with three girls who live here and communicating was both the chore and the entertainment for the evening. (Pantomimes and learning each other’s cuss words and favorite insults…) Saturday night in the suburbs of Belem reminds me a bit of the Saturday nights in the suburbs of Kansas City. Drive around in a car full of girls, stop here and there. Get hit on by guys in cars.

Tomorrow will be more eventful…

Belem, Brazil Day 2

We just got a lecture from a worried mother hen waiting up for her chickies to come home. In Portuguese. But oh yes, I understood.

We were so worried (hand over heart)! We drove around and looked for you. What happened? Why didn’t you call? Are you hungry? We were so worried!

Her daughter stood by and interjected, Mom, stop, they don’t even understand Portuguese! She gave us a sympathetic glance.

We gave lame-ass excuses about missing the bus.

I feel terrible that we had kept up this very nice family waiting for us, worrying. Yet, I found it a bit hysterical that the “we were up worried sick” lecture is so universal that we needed no translator to catch every sentiment. Besides, it was only 11pm.

Today, we registered at the conference and purchased passes to camp nearby. The place already has the feeling of a music festival (but somewhat more chaotic and disorganized…).


Much has happened since, I believe we're on day 6... The forum has been fascinating and eye-opening and fun. I'll try to get another post up soon...

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