Communication breakdown

Trip Start Aug 03, 2007
Trip End Aug 01, 2008

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Flag of Brazil  ,
Saturday, November 10, 2007

I thought that speaking Spanish would make it an easy transition to trying to communicate with Brazilians speaking Portuguese, but I was very wrong! From the moment we landed in Brazil, the confusion (and frustration) began because we were having such a hard time understanding the language. When it comes to reading Portuguese, I am usually able to get by but when it is spoken it is a different story. It has a strong French sound, and I do not speak French! All this to say, Brazil was new territory for us but we were able to get by just fine.
We spent the first few days and then some of our last few days in the giant metropolis of Sao Paolo. It is home to something like 20 million people and was (and might still be) the 3rd largest metropolis in the world! There were a couple of great things about Sao Paolo: 1) we met and stayed with a great family and 2) there is a metro in Sao Paolo!!!

We have a friend in Southern California who was kind enough to introduce us (again via email) to his best friend, Mauricio, who lives in Sao Paolo with his wife and son. Mauricio and Carolina were so kind to welcome us into their home and spend time with us! We loved eating at some of their favorite restaurants, we went to a concert to see a popular Brazilian band, Djavan, with them, we walked around the park, and just enjoyed being in their comfy home. We cannot thank them enough. 

 It was quite a change to be in such a huge, modern city with many tall apartment buildings and skyscrapers and people of many ethnicities. Brazil felt so much different then the other South American countries we had been in...and the prices reminded us of that as well! Most things in Brazil were more expensive then we expected, especially lodging. There were many great things about Brazil as well and we are excited to share them with you. One of the highlights of our time in Sao Paolo, though, was going to a soccer game to see Sao Paolo Futbol Clube play another Brazilian team. We scouted around to figure out when and where there was a game, and then managed to get ourselves there thanks to the metro and the bus system. I mentioned the metro before (metro is a subway) and it was a saving grace for us in the city. It is such a cheap and efficient way to get around and quite easy to navigate as well. Back to the soccer game...
we were hoping it would be one of the really crazy games that you see on TV with people painting their faces and bearing their painted chests and screaming the whole time, but it was not quite that intense. It was fun, however, and the fans were definitely passionate. Despite the fact that I played soccer for my entire childhood up through high school and really do love the sport, that was the first professional game I have ever been to. It was also the first soccer game James has seen. It has been fun explaining to him the rules and seeing him grow to enjoy watching it (it is always on TV too and many restaurants have games on TV). Getting home from the soccer game was pretty crazy...a true test of how resourceful we could be to avoid a very expensive taxi ride. We hopped from one bus to another until we found the right one and then during the entire ride some of the more excited soccer fans from the game proceeded to stick their huge SPFC flag out the window of the bus and yell at every passing car. Entertaining. You just do not see that back home.
We have a few more blogs to describe our adventures in Brazil, but we thought we would share with you a few of the things that come to our minds when we reflect on our time there:
1. Ašai: the most delicious smoothie EVER that is made from a fruit found in the Brazilian rainforest. I think we had one everyday.

2. Chopp: very popular pale blond Pilsner draft beer.

3. Havaianas rubber flip flops: everyone wears them, including us!
4. Butts: mostly those of women on the beach in very small bikinis

5. Speedos: definitely worn by men on the beach and around beach towns, usually accompanied by a Tshirt and that is it.

6. Chunky heel shoes: seems to be a pretty popular fashion with the women these days.

7. Salgados: yum. Pastries filled with ham, cheese, meat...delicious. I have never eaten so much ham and cheese in my life.

8. Feijoada: traditional Brazilian food made of black beans, rice, and pig parts. Fried pork rinds as a topping. Served on Wednesdays and Saturdays usually.

9. Caipirinha: ask James about this one. His favorite drink...similar in taste to a margarita but he claims it is much better!

10. Sucos: juices. Sold everywhere, usually with ašai as an option.

11. Obrigada!: the only true Portuguese word we could actually pronounce correctly. It means thank you.
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mattamyhuey on

You make me want to go back!!! My mouth waters as I think of Acai (with granola - yum!), caipirinha, salgados and the sun! Be sure to have the fizzy clear soda, the name isn't coming to me now...they put it into the Acai before they blend it. It comes in a green bottle like 7-up - it is especially good frozen - as we discovered one day when we put it into our frig/freezer in a room we rented.

We found a Acai shop in Seattle - I may need to go get one now and think of you!

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