Monday, October 23, 2006

Random Daily Things I Love About Brazil

Having been here for a month now, and written plenty on race, politics, etc., I thought I'd toss off some daily things I enjoy in Brazil that don't appear in travel guides or history books. So here's a quick look at some of the quotidian....

-You can buy soda individually, if you want six cans, you can pick up six cans, but if you only want one or two, you can do that, too. There's no 6 or 12 pack restriction.

-The same goes for beer. Going to a party, but want to be mellow? Buy three beers. Want to be drunk, but without buying a twelve pack or two six packs? Buy nine bottles (or cans). Genius.

-Caipirinhas (the national drink - cacha├ža, lime, and sugar) can be had for about 2 dollars if you know where to go. Nice.

-There are barzinhos (literally, "little bars") everywhere - you can just go and sit with friends on the sidewalk, drinking beer out of cans or sharing liter-bottles with each other, pissing the night away. And I've yet to see a block that didn't have a barzinho (if not two or three or, where I live, 5).

-(Continuing the alcohol theme): With the public transportation system, you can have as much alcohol as you'd like without worrying how you'll get home.

-(This one will have special meaning to males): Urinal cakes are not necessary. Mothballs do the trick just fine, thank you very much.

-Film translations are frequently sublimely absurd. Four of my favorite examples: "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" became "Three Men against Each Other"; "Ocean's 11" and "Ocean's 12" became (with a vaguely homoerotic undertone) "11 Men and a Secret" and "12 Men and Another Secret," respectively; and "Out of Africa" became "Between Two Loves."

-Given the minimum wage in Brazil (about 171 US dollars) and the enormous wage-gaps, you can buy almost anything in installments without interest. Is there a lamp that you need for your desk that costs 50 reais (about 20 dollars_? No problem - pay in two installments of 25 reais. Want that new pair of Nikes that costs 400 reais? Pay 40 reais a month over 10 months with no interest. You can buy just about anything like that, including books, music, and even food. Remarkable.