Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brazil 8 - Some Things I Like

I've been asked to say some things I like about Brazil. Here goes...

Fruit

There is lots of fruit, and it's readily available. Quarter of a watermelon, for example, costs about 20p. The bananas taste very different to in the UK (much better here) and don't bruise anywhere near as easily. And there's a good few fruits which don't seem to have an equivalent in England.

There's one called Acerola (or something like that), for example, which has wonderful juice when sweetened. Caju is great as well - both the juice and as an additive to chocolate...

Hospitality

By and large, the hospitality I have received has been excellent. My host, for example, has really gone out of his way to help me feel as much at home as is possble.

Male Apathy

Men here aren't afraid to appear excited or show affection (in the UK, this seems to be restricted to sports, of which more later). A handshake on greeting and bidding farewell to someone is considered the minimum, even a little cold.

Random tangent - in the UK the reason this doesn't happen is, I think, often down to a kind of teenage homophobia - people don't want to be thought of as gay. There might be various reasons underlying that; personally I suspect it's a twisting of the conscience into something nastier. That exists here too, of course - it was amazing seeing how reluctant teenage lads were to sit on each other's knees during a silly game we played at English camp (far more so than they would have been in the UK) - but it takes a diffeent form.

So Brazil just doesn't seem to be anywhere near as afflicted by the culture of male apathy for everything except sex and sport as the UK is.

Relationality

Linked to this is the fact that Brazillians seem to be much more innately relational than British men. I hardly ever see people saying they are too busy to talk. Far more normal to just stop for 30 mins or so and chat to people. I rather imagine this is linked to the Brazillian concept of time...

Weather

Of course. I think the temperature has occasionally dropped below 20C here, but it is the middle of winter. The rain also reminds me far more of Manchester than Oxford, except that it's much quicker to dry off here...

Getting on with it

Brazillians really don't seem to stop and get annoyed about how inadequate whatever facilities are or anything. Or maybe they just don't show it. What they do seem to do is try to get on with life, whatever the conditions.

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