I've got a real problem. I do not adapt into Brazil. I was born here, raised here, but I've never ceased to be amazed at the ethos you can see here. My problem, in a nutshell, it's that my values differ significantly of my people's values. For some reason which I can not put my finger on, unlike my fellow countryman and women, I hate wild parties, vulgarity, intimidation, informality, immediatism and showing off my beauty (meaning my ass) and success (meaning my buying power). Let's not forget the hipocrisy that varnishes all the previous behaviours (and which will award me with tons of angry mail if any Brazilian reads this).
Brazil is a place where push is always coming to shove. Except when you can pay for it. Then it's a gentle nudge. Then seemingly no one will notice that you got into the Congress on narc money. Or that you kept your mistress' daughter private school off public funds. But if you're a commoner, if you can't afford a blinded car with film-coated windows, then you're subject to the law of the concrete jungle. You may be assaulted, disrespected, extorted, run over by bikes. The "res publica", the public patrimony, is of no one's concern. Not the people, not the government. The sidewalks are littered, crapped upon by dogs, destroyed by parking cars, parceled by "car caretakers" that demand money to "protect" your car from themselves.
Nevermind the written rules that say (so naive!) pedestrians should have preference at all times. Here is what really works on Brazilian streets: pedestrians should fear bikes, bikes should fear cars, and cars should fear buses. Truly a food chain. If you think just because the lights are red you can put your foot on the street, think again. You could lose that foot, like I almost did the other day, when a minivan came from behind a bus and flew across my face five seconds after the red light was on. What is more shocking is that no one offered a hand, no one asked if I was alright, no one barely looked even though I had stopped in shock at the middle of the avenue. They just crossed the avenue. They knew they weren't getting another "chance" so soon. This is normal. Common Brazilian sense.
When I went to England the first time, I saw a different kind of nasty, but a nasty I could deal with. I remember that when I went out at night I used a crack on the sidewalk as a reference for where should I get off the bus. A crack on the sidewalk! You'd have to see my neighborhood's sidewalks to understand the joke. Here, an uncracked sidewalk is a landmark. No joke here. I mean it:

Copacabana Beach sidewalk

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  link to this post ~ 1:42 PM
blog_sibylla (English version) - by Simone Campos

New novel

Don't bother to buy any of it, it's all in Portuguese.
Title:A feia noite
Style: obsessive, grotesque, baroque, fabulous
Plot: a political consultant with scruple and a libertine with a cause go awry.
Release: september/2006.

  • Prologue and 1st chapter (in portuguese)
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