Carnaval costumes

I ran into these guys with their dinosaur when I tried to avoid carnaval.

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Cidade do Samba – The Samba City

Today I went to visit the Samba City, where all the installations are kept before the great Carnaval Parade. Some images attached – Sneak pick into Carnaval 2014:
(Unfortunately, the pics are of bad quality since I had to leave my iPhone behind, as the place is located in an area that looks like something I would imagine Germany looked like at the end of WWII)

10 things you should say in Brazil

I got inspired by this little kid’s message (and brilliant marketing stunt) and decided to share my insights on how to make yourself liked more by Brazilians (which is, by the way, the only effective approach to getting anything done).

1. “Parabéns” (congrats!) – use this to compliment on every achievement, no matter how trivial it may be

2. “Que legal! Adorei!!!” (So cool! Loved it) – similar

3. “Nossa, que calor, não aguento mais” (oh my god, I can’t stand the heat anymore) – temperature records are a favorite topic of conversation. Plus Brazilians think that all gringos come from cold places so they will be happy to know you are suffering a little extra.

4. “Nossa, o transito estava horrivel” ( oh my god, the traffic was horrible) – similar to the previous one

5. Profusely apologize for arriving late and justify it by saying you became Brazilian (they find this really cute)

6. “Caraca” (dammit) – saying this in a loud and surprised voice always makes people laugh

7. Thank people for everything and anything – being polite is highly overrated here for some reason so that’s a good thing to abuse. “Eu que agradeço” (it is me who thanks you), is a good one to use as often as possible as soon as you hear any sign of “obrigado” (thank you)

8. Talk about how much you love Brazil – this one is actually easy as often we gringos appreciate more things about this country than its natives.

9. Tell people that you are an avid fan of their football team – a good strategy is to ask first and then fill in the blank in “que legal! é meu time também. Parabéns!” (So cool! It is my team too. Congrats!)

10. Share personal stories at work. Colleagues love hearing about your life and family history, even more so if you are a foreigner. Making oneself a biotype of the private life of the exotic gringos scores a lot of points and proves you aren’t “cold” (a common reading that Brazilians make of what in the States would be called “professionalism”).

Architecture and Nature

One of the things Brazilian architects and landscapers such as Burle-Marx and Niemyer became masters of was the combination of urbanism with nature.

Visiting our office in Minas Gerais state I was impressed to see how corporate structures can be married with natural landscape. The building is located on the grounds of an old mine, overlooking the mountains. The views are breathtaking and the internal patio areas taking advantage of this to create a pleasant environment.

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Gays on TV – Now even in Brazil

On my way to the airport I learned from the taxi driver that last night was historical because it was the first time that they showed a kiss between 2 men on Brazilian TV. It was on the evening Novela, so this means that probably half of the population saw it.

This made it to the front page of the news, just like most controversial moments in the Novela do.

We discussed in depth the implications of this dramatic development and how given that the director, the producer and half of the actors in Globo are gay, it’s surprising that it didn’t happen earlier.

Him: “I think people have the right to do whatever they want in their sexual lives even though I don’t think this configuration is natural. I have three girls and I wouldn’t want them to be gay but if they were, I’d be sad but I will love them anyhow”

Me: “I think these days it is fashionable to be gay”

Him:”don’t get me wrong, I would never want to kiss a guy. Just like someone would have to pay me something like 100k per month to drive a taxi in Amapá, they would have to pay me a whole lot to do something like this.”

Me:”come on, it’s just a kiss. Can’t be that big of a deal”

I always find it very funny how Brazilian men get so defensive about these sort of things. I guess there is a lot of cultural change that still need to happen.

My personal wish is that the next Novela will be about the value of education and honest public servants. Imagine the discussion this may generate!!!