Culture

Thursday February 8, 2007

Another night spent in N’s unairconditioned apartment in Leme, a district of Rio near Copacabana. ‘Is it dangerous here for Gringos here at night?’ I asked. ‘No. It’s dangerous for everyone’.

Which was pretty much my instinct about the place from the few times I’ve been there. I certainly stick out like a sore thumb and the taxi driver last night looked a bit concerned as he drove away watching me furiously ringing N’s doorbell screaming ‘In the name of God, open the fucking the fucking door!’ as the kids slowly started to gather round me. A bit like the ‘Thriller’ video actually.

Not much to report about last night. All we did was order expensive Japanese, get stoned and watch a crappy American film, with Portuguese subtitles. It’s one of my most annoying habits: even when the film is an English-language film, I can’t help but try and read the sub-titles, which means I have an average net comprehension rate of less than 50%.

I sometimes have guilty feelings about doing things like this when I’m on holiday, coz it’s not like I can’t watch a bad video and eat overpriced food at home. But then again, I’ve been here so many times that there isn’t actually anything to see that I haven’t seen once already and so it’s now much more about seeing friends. Plus, for too many people, travelling is about checklists: the cathedrals, the galleries, the museums, but culture isn’t found in these places. Watching a Will Smith film in a Sao Paulo shopping mall is, spending 45 minutes in traffic on a swelteringly hot day politely tolerating the MBP blasting from the taxi driver’s radio, stopping off at a service station somewhere in-between Rio and SP for some Feijoada…all of this is Brazilian culture, because it’s what Brazilians do everyday.

The first half of yesterday was spent working. On Tuesday night I got increeeedbibly drunk (but not in an interesting way, hence no post), therefore Wednesday I decided to atone for my sins by working a few hours. I brought my laptop with me this time, so I just bring it to a local, very well air-conditioned, net cafe and quite happily worked away until I felt sufficiently atoned. This is the first-time, btw, that I’ve actually written the word atoned. I was so pleased with myself that I both used it correctly and spelt it correctly that I thought I’d use it twice in the same sentence. I hope you don’t mind.

I have a friend who claims he’s used the word ‘contemporaneous’, in his words ‘dozens of times’. Why I waste my time with ‘friends’ like these who are seemingly quite content to lie through their teeth to me, I just don’t know. I also have a friend who’s into Jigsaws. Having reached the conclusion that I need to get some new friends, fast, I’ve made a quick list of people, or the kinds of people, I’d like to know:

  • that woman in the hot pants who just walked by me
  • a drug dealer, who’s also a nice guy
  • a really hot and homesick Brazilian girl living in London. She’d be terribly sad because she misses her family and her ‘people’ ever so much. She’d love to get to know some English people, but she finds them ‘very cold’.
  • one famous person. Preferably a woman, and obviously gorgeous. Someone who all my male friends would agree is ‘really hot’. Not too famous coz if she was too famous, say like Nicole Kidman, I couldn’t delude myself that there was a possibility of sleeping with her. But someone like, erm….say….Kirsty Gallagher would be nice.
  • any of the female Big Brother Brasil contestants
  • a professional footballer.  We’d have done a couple of business verntures together, so he trusted me enough to speak his mind about the current football scene.

All quite possible I think.

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