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June 30, 2007

Slip Sliding...

Today, I played soccer with my Brazilian neighbors. The only *ahem* interesting aspect of the game was it was not on grass, but on sand, which apparently is routine down here, but I was not used to it. I guess I felt like any tennis player playing on an untried surface or anyone else who might need to get adjusted new terrain. Is this my metaphor for an American abroad? The exercise was manageable except when I tried to slow an attack, and sand, not having my familiar level of friction, betrayed my footing and I took a dive. Additionally, I was wearing shoes, which may not have been the wisest choice of footwear. (barefoot=better grip) Oh well. Meanwhile, the parade of gastronomic experiences continues. The last couple days I have been going the "Spiche Restaurante," a place that offers healthy (not so processed) food. The dollar exchanges to about two reais (or is it reals?) nowadays, which makes eating out as an American really affordable. (The ATM is where they get you.) It is also home to a very well balanced and addictive lemonade; the drink has the right amount of foam and just enough sugar to leave a crystalline trace clinging to the sides of the glass after the liquids have been drained.

June 24, 2007


Brazil has a similar overarching history to the United States. Both countries have had their own experience with European colonialism beginning in the early modern era, and the subsequent exploitation of continent-sized swaths of land, where the ocean-crossers found plenty of natural resources AND preexisting indigenous groups to disturb. I guess that makes sense because they are both in the “New World.” In contemporary times, one large Brazilian city, Curitiba, and my home for two months, also resembles the U.S. in its melting pot demography. Italian, Polish, German, and Japanese immigrants (among others) arrived here to make a life, and that has allowed for a diverse and utterly lip-smacking culinary scene. But the cosmopolitan atmosphere also gives rise to linguistic collisions as well. For instance, the other day I introduced the word, gesundheit, a term English has borrowed from German, to my guide and translator André, who already speaks English very well. In this language-rich place, he could independently confirm the veracity of my vocabulary lesson with his German-speaking girlfriend and discuss it em português. (Also a speaker of Spanish, his tongue truly is a triathlete.) And later, Je parlerais un peu français avec un étudiant de Guinée. And although my french is of the cobweb variety, c’etait amusant.

By the way, despite the cooler and wetter weather (it rained earlier with the threat of an encore tomorrow), overall I find this "winter" weather fantastic. Bless the subtropics.

June 21, 2007

pizza and pizza

As part of being abroad in a foreign land, in my case Brazil, I have attempted to experience many interesting sights and sounds. However, there is something to be said about revisiting one place over time to get a good feel for it. (Maybe that's why some go to the same vacation places year after year.) Anyway, there is a pizza place most tasty near my residence and while my inclination is to explore Curitiba, my roommate likes the place a lot, so I went for the second time last night, and was pleased to try out different flavors of the same pizza type I had about a week ago. (last night was a sundried tomato version which was just as good as the "omnivore’s delight" (I can't remember the exact name) and colorful "clock" pizza I had previously. I intend to continue to branch out, but it's good to know of at least one good, dependable restaurant.

June 20, 2007

first entry

Well, I arrived here in Brazil two weeks ago and only now getting around to blogging. (There have been some hiccups getting online, plus I only recently ridded myself of an unwanted Brazilian virus.) fast 1.45 AM impressions? Brazil is very much like America in one important respect: the two countries I now recently have grown to know both support vibrant middle-class and intelluctual academic populations which make the social dynamic comparable. In other words, what I see at Brown or the USDA-NRCS echoes what I see in Curitiba on collaborative, working relationships on some environmental problem.