First Impressions

Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
private residence

Flag of Brazil  , State of Sao Paulo,
Thursday, January 28, 2010

For every new place, there is a smell that I associate with it.  If I end up liking the place, I will always like that smell, regardless of whether it is inherently pleasant or not.  Fortunately, in the case of Campinas, the smell is already one of my favorites- that of fresh green chili peppers. 

I was initially driven to distraction trying to figure out what was producing the smell.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere in particular, an aroma equivalent to a bushel of minced green chilis would flood an area through which I was passing.  I assumed it was from a restaurant but couldn't determine why this should be so in a part of Brazil where the food is not particularly known for its spice.  In Ethiopia, one of the most chili-loving countries on the map, restaurants did not necessarily broadcast this smell onto the streets.

I finally decided that it must be coming from some kind of plant, tree or shrub- perhaps the flowers, perhaps the leaves, probably stronger because this is the middle of the summer rainy season and all is warm and wet.  However, I still have not been able to pinpoint the plant from which this mysterious smell is coming, so the search continues....

Notes to Self

When purchasing lunch at a local cafe, make sure that your keys and coins are not resting on top of the paper money in your coin purse.  If they are, they may fly out and distribute themselves over the floor, counter and/or gum & candy display.  If you should only pick up the coins and neglect to collect your key, only realizing it later, this will necessitate an embarrassing trip back to the cafe during which you can assault the cashier's ears with your horrible Portuguese.  If there happen to have been three silver keys lost there recently instead of only one, and you can't remember exactly what your key looks like because you only just arrived in the country, then you will have to take all of the keys home to try them and see which one is yours.  This will probably mean you will never again be able to bring yourself to eat at that cafe.  At all costs, try to avoid this scenario.

If, in your home country and using your native tongue, you are often confused when attempting to order a sub sandwich on account of all the possible choices and the questions posed by the sandwich-makers, DO NOT attempt this for one of your first meals in a culture that is new to you.  This should be an exercise reserved for a more advanced stage of language learning.
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Elephantschild on

Holy cow, you're so much more brave than I am. I think I would have left my keys behind and crawled in through a window!

tlotliso on

LOL- made a couple trips back to the cafe, the first by myself and the second with my landlady, who owns a business next to the language school. We ended up getting the right key, but then my landlady put the rest of them -somewhere- and I don't even know if she's found & returned them yet...have stopped asking. I kind of duck & walk fast past that cafe now.

Brian Cummins on

Wow! Your post brought a smile to my face, while at the same time feeling your pain, as I remembered similar experiences in Panama. Blessings to you :-)

tlotliso on

Thanks, Pastor C.!

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