Trip to Brazil - 1
More than a decade ago, I took a short trip to Brazil (in part because I was writing a novel set there) and I kept a journal. On paper, if you can believe such a thing. Since most Americans never get to Brazil, much less spend most of the time staying with Brazilians, I thought it might pass as "travel writing", rather than "what I did on my vacation".
I've left it pretty much as written, which is occasionally bad, with some very quirky punctuation. I loved dashes. When stealing factoids for your own novels, do remember that some of them are out of date (cruzados are about three currencies back).
I may try once more to improve the pictures. I prepared them on the Mac, and of course they turned out too dark on the PC. I brightened them up, so now they're too bright for Macs and not contrasty enough for PCs.
3 December - Over the Atlantic
The wise thing to do right now would be sleep: one more hour of precious sleep before we land in Rio. However, what this would actually be is an hour of warfare between my body and the airplane seat, battle which has tilted so far definitively in favor of the seat, and against mine. So might as well write instead.
I've been in a similar anxiety to that before my last trip-- please, God, no car accidents en route to O'Hare! But Friday morning was consumed with commenting my code for the Input Manager. I've been working 60-75 hour weeks lately, to get Work Comp done-- a schedule which is multiply annoying but does have the advantage of a truculent righteousness-- I can come in to work at 1 pm, and no one can say a thing-- I've learned to juggle-- I felt fine about working a short week this week to cram in everything that hadn't got done yet: visa, travelers' cheques, cruzados, packing, Säo Paulo shuttle, etc. I haven't had more than 5 hours sleep all week. And as I left work Resource Editor seemed to blow up. Well, Steve can handle it. I told 'em I'd give them the number of the Brazilian consulate.
Tuesday I bankrupted Deak in cruzados. They only had $70 or so in cruzados, which I took-- a huge stack of bills. Or perhaps it was a small fortune at the beginning of the year; I hear inflation is running near 1000% in Brazil.
This last bit of information comes from Scott, an old acquaintance of Harry's, and a buddy of ours in 7th grade, whom Harry rediscovered and had over for dinner, with Andrés and me. Scott is a total wheeler-deaeler types; he's buying airplane parts in Brazil and selling them here, and has no personal morality at all. He told me how and where to get laid in Säo Paulo-- indeed, his first question, to me and to Andrés, was 'Are you married?' He's the type who takes you into his confidence and talks a lot and knows the best places to do everything-- the Brazilians he meets would probably like him (he genuinely likes Brazil), and after he leaves say 'Wow. What an American.' The most useful item here was a glowing recommendation for Ouro Prêto, which is evidently wicked quaint.
Anyway, I'm in Transportationland, with a vengeance. Limo to O'Hare, fly to Washington, fly to Miami, fly to Rio; next, fly to São Paulo. I have a reservation on a 3.30 flight and am waitlisted for the 12.30. Please, Lord, three hours less of Transport!
I started seeing Brazilians in Washington, and from Miami on we've been in a sort of hell for the English as Official Language folks. The flights in Miami were all announced bilingually, and our Pan Am flight has featured announcements in English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and German. The noise ratio on the intercom is too high for me. I can't say I can't understand a word of it-- I can. I just can't understand a sentence of it.
I talked a bit to my seatmate, a Brazilian from Goias. He's originally from Iran-- he's a Bahá'í, and his family left to escape prosecution, leaving initially for Canada. His parents moved to Brazil because Canada was too cold, and while visiting them he met a girl, and the upshot is that he's married and works as a systems analyst. His slightly constrained English, and the fact that most of this could have been conveyed in Portuguese, led me to essay speaking o português.
I can't say it was a success. I'm still very halting, and prone to understand a phrase just a little too late, after I've already said 'What?' The word hapido threw me for a loop, till he translated - rapid - it's rapido. So they do say R's as H's. I'd swear it wasn't a French r! Or maybe I wouldn't. Anyway, this guy's reading a book called How to make love to a woman -- he has the book cover folded back so all and sundry don't see-- it may not be a very Bahá'i book.
Well, this is the final approach to Brazil, so pardon me while I extinguish all smoking materials, return my seat to an upright position, and put all carry-on articles under the seat.
4 December - (written in) Piracicaba
Deal with this: I'm in Brazil. It's been a day and a half, and I could fill the rest of this Nothing Book with impressions. But I suspect the best thing is to record events now and get back to feelings later.
Between each flight I felt anxiety about being late, but in fact we landed in Rio roughly on time-- maybe 11.20 a.m. We filed out of the plane slowly, into Galeão airport, and directly into the hands of the police-- the entry check. The line was much quicker than in Heathrow. Baggage inspection is random, and I got a green light-- I was skipped.
The airport is modern, perhaps '60s in style, and all the signs are in green and yellow-- patriotic colors, of course, in Brazil. I was waitlisted for the 12.30 flight to São Paulo, confirmed for the 3.15, and had no idea where to go, or whether I had to cross town. but I followed the signs for SAÍDAS DOMESTICAS. and found the VASP ticket counter, with no problem. There was a short line, which moved way slowly, so I had plenty of time ot stare at the very pretty girl at the counter and think what to say. Could I manage it all in Portuguese? In the end I said only "A senhora fala inglês? ", and she said "Muito bem ," and we were off. She applied some bureaucracy to my ticket and sent me to the baggage check-in, which didn't speak English. They took my suitcase-- for the first time so far-- imagine my Frommerian pleasure when I could skip baggage pickup in Rio. I had to go back to the caixa. near the ticket counter, to pay the airport tax (thank you, Deak's, for the cruzados), then back to the checkin to receive my boarding pass-- finally I could head for the gate, about 20 minutes before flight time. We boarded about 10 minutes later.
[ 2002 note: Frommer is the author of what was then Europe on $30 a day, from which I learned to take just one carry-on suitcase, and never to make hotel reservations. This makes it easy to improvise; it also explains why, in this journal, I'm always looking for laundromats. ]
Finally I felt we were in Brazil, because this was definitely an inter-urban trip-- everyone else was Brazilian, it wasn't simply the last leg of a transcontinental trip. The announcements were all in Portuguese, without a speck of English. A stewardess came by with a newspaper, a Jornal do Brasil -- to my relief, as I'd finished The Bonfire of the Vanities (and Time ) and hadn't brought my notebook. I found I could read it easily-- this and that would escape me, but I could follow along just fine-- the repressed coup d'état in Argentina, the metro crash in Rio, the human interest story about the girl who cried because her soccer team lost, and in compensation a player gave her his shirt.
When we took off I caught a glimpse of Rio, out the window. for some reason it looked just like the pictures-- there was o Pão de Açúcar. Copacabana, Ipanema-- tantalizing. A stewardess came by with Cokes, and later a cafèzinho. a thimbleful of strong, sugary coffee-- I liked it. I proved masterful at the Portuguese necessary for these transactions-- mainly sim.
Finally we landed. It was 1.30-- I was nearly out of Transportationland. I waited for my luggage, then wandered out into the airport in search of a telephone to call Lica. (I'd left his phone number in the suitcase.) Easily found; but the phones required tokens-- fichas. I looked around for something that promised fichas. but didn't see anything. I went over to the Tourist Information desk and had my first wholly effective exchange in Portuguese:
--Onde posso cumprar fichas por a telefone?
Triumphant, I went to the café and procured six tokens. (Curiosity: procurar in Portuguese = look for.) A point against me was that the girl showed me a bill of the right size, so I hadn't yet taken off my FOREIGNER sign.
After some struggle with the phone, the telephone's aim of course being to see how long it could keep me from figuring out how to make a simple call, I managed to call Lica. He was glad to hear from me, and asked where I was.
--In São Paulo. At the airport.
Well, this was a poser. We exchanged some clues, and eventually Lica settled on one. I still don't know which one -- after hanging up I wandered around in search of some clue to the name of the airport, and found none. [Later learned that it's Guarulhos. commonly known as Cambica.]
It's a very modern airport, by the way. Of course, I thought, it's an airport, how typical will it be? It has lots of shops, attractive signs, bustling people of all colors, and people offering to change money-- no Larouchies that I could see. I waited at a "Punto de Encontro ", leafing lazily through a Jornal do Brasil. feeling a bit weak in the stomach: too much vibration in almost 24 hours of flight time.
Then Lica came and. my God, it's 3.45-- I'll have plenty of time later to write! É necessário dormir! Boa noite!
5 December - São Paulo
Remember when you used to check geography books and think about the new places you could visit and cultures that you could learn. After years and years of research and curiosity finally the day of discovering something new has finally arrived. Today is the day of your first international trip. Don't forget that each country has its ways of dealing with people. I mean, culturally they behave different and not knowing what to do in certain situations can get you in trouble. But you can also be going to a very relaxed, outgoing kind of people culture that will welcome you by the way you are. Let's suppose that your first trip is to Brazil, a Latin American country, where the language spoken is Portuguese. How would you get prepared for that?
Basic things you would have to know. Brazil's favorite sport is the football, called soccer in the United States. Players are born with the ability. Most of them do not need to learn from anybody, it is in the blood and that is what it makes the sport so special in the country. Ah. Do not forget about the carnival. Every year, millions and millions of Brazilians gather together to celebrate what they call the biggest party in the world. Food is also very important in their culture. Black beans, known as feijoada, they barbecue or the "churrasco" would make any meat lover goes crazy about this dish.
Brazilians are very friendly. Although it is still a country in development it is a modern country. Economical problems, health and security are always explored as things that still hold the country of becoming part of the top countries in the world. But the population has learnt how to deal with the challenges and soon they will.Citation styles:
Millennium Development Goal # 7 - Ensure environmental sustainability
Environment and Brazil has a lot to talk about - both positives and negatives. This wave of fresh optimism in the Northern city of Cumaru lends a lot of credibility to the progress of MDG # 7. Details here on World Moms Blog.
Volunteers overseeing the construction of a 16000 litre Water Cisterns, which taps the rainwater, in the semi-arid land of Cumaru.
Millennium Development Goal # 8 - Develop a global partnership for development
Brazil has made inroads in reducing poverty, improving governance both ntionally and internationally with the conditional cash transfer scheme - Bolsa Familia. It is partnered globally with the African Nations in the South-South Cooperation. and with the BRICS nation. Brazil has so much to offer to the world in terms of learning, partnership for sustained development and social equality.
Sergio Fausto, executive director of the Instituto Fernando Hanrique Cardoso. key advisor to former President Fernando Henrique, and other leaders from the industry and political arena discussing Brazil's role in South-South Cooperation. Democracy in Brazil, Socio-economic schemes for the progress and development of the country and industrial growth. This was at a conference in Sao Paulo with the International Reporting Trip's team.
It is so interesting to note the progress that Brazil has made in achieving the 8 Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.
This post was written by Purnima Ramakrishnan when she traveled to Brazil in April 2014 with the International Reporting Project as a fellow of Journalism to report on #BrazilMDGs.
Follow Purnima Ramakrishnan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/puma_vinod
Purnima Ramakrishnan UNCA Awarded Journalist, Fellow of Journalism by IRP, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, BlogHER 13 International Activist Scholarship Winner, Sr. Editor @ World Moms Blog, Novelist
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is pleased to announce a two-week new media reporting trip on April 5–19 toBrazil
Brazil has made major progress on several Millennium Development Goals, including reducing poverty and hunger and improving the health of its citizens, and this trip will examine those topics.
IRP Fellows to Brazil will focus on issues related to health, poverty, hunger, and development, including successes and challenges in maternal health, child mortality, HIV/AIDS, hunger and food security, technological innovation, economy and business, urban and rural health care, environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment, among others.
The trip will include visits to Brazil’s urban and rural areas to see how the country has addressed issues of poverty, health, and hunger. We will also examine social factors – such as human rights and equity issues, governance, and marginalized communities – in this geographically and culturally diverse country.
For More Information:
Deadline. 3 February, 2014
Open to. New Media journalists (media professionals, bloggers, influential social media practitioners, and freelance contributors)
Fellowship. round-trip air tickets to Brazil, hotel costs, meals and local transportation, and reimbursement of visa costs
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is pleased to announce a two-week new media reporting trip on April 5–19 to Brazil. Brazil has made major progress on several Millennium Development Goals, including reducing poverty and hunger and improving the health of its citizens, and this trip will examine those topics.
IRP Fellows to Brazil will focus on issues related to health, poverty, hunger, and development. including successes and challenges in maternal health, child mortality, HIV/AIDS, hunger and food security, technological innovation, economy and business, urban and rural health care, environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment, among others. We will also explore “South-South” cooperation. Brazil continues to invest in Africa and to shore up links with the continent in areas such as pharmaceutical manufacturing and agriculture.
The trip will include visits to Brazil’s urban and rural areas to see how the country has addressed issues of poverty, health, and hunger. We will also examine social factors – such as human rights and equity issues, governance, and marginalized communities – in this geographically and culturally diverse country. These are particularly timely topics, given Brazil’s role hosting the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics .
Participants will be asked to post frequent stories. including blog posts, slideshows, social media posts, video and audio clips, before, during and after the trip. All of the stories produced by Brazil Fellows will be posted on the IRP site and co-owned by the Fellow (or his/her distribution partners, depending on agreements) and the IRP.Eligibility
The application call is open for new media journalists, including media professionals, bloggers, influential social media practitioners, and freelance contributors. Some priority will be given to participants from the United States, United Kingdom, India, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa , butapplicants from all nations are eligible .Fellowship
The IRP will purchase the Fellows’ round-trip air tickets to Brazil, pay for hotel costs, meals and local transportation. and reimburse visa costs. Fellows who wish to extend their stay after the fellowship will have the option to arrange that at their own expense.How to Apply?
All candidates must fill out an application form and provide a detailed essay describing the types of stories they might pursueduring the Brazil trip. The deadline for applications is Monday, February 3 .
Questions? Visit the Frequently Asked Questions HERE or visit the official web-site .Advertisement Categories