Sunday, March 22, 2009

Site Reconstruction and Explanations

ok. so, some changes have occurred in my blog. let me try to explain some of them and while i'm at it, justify some of my disorganized posting...

TITLE
the title was modified. it changed from 'Estudo num pais tropical' to 'Tempo urbano, latino e cosmopolita' because i didn't feel like the previous title had a specific relation to my time here. it was related to the lyrics of a very famous and good brazilian song - 'Pais Tropical by Jorge Ben Jor - and it was a funny joke when i thought about it. nevertheless, i did not feel like it was specific enough. My highschool Literature professor in Guatemala, Profesor Gabino, once told during class that the Title ought to be the shortest possible summary of the work it is representing.

i followed Gabino's advice. The new title is what i though best represents my semester abroad in São Paulo, Brazil - 'Urban, latin and cosmopolitan Time'

POSTING DELAYS
most of the people that follow my blog might have noticed that i have more delays than any northern hemisphere airport during the month of january. the reason why i take a long time is because sometimes i don't upload the pictures on time, or because i haven't finished writing all the details...

in addition to that, i always try to edit the ideas that i write. i don't like to say things that shouldn't be told openly since i understand that this is a public blog and i want to be as disrespectful and as authentic as i can. that is why it sometimes takes me longer to publish some of my postings, because i like to thoroughly reflect on the things i say. please note however that i edit only my ideas and not the language. i hope to be clear but many errors might slip my mind when reading this over and over again...

FINAL NOTE
One more thing, up until now, i had decided to publish my postings in chronological order but i had about 8 or 10 postings waiting. these were postings that i had already edited but had yet not published only because i had not published the entry about Carnaval...

please trust me when i say, however, that those will be entries that are worth reading or at least skimming because they have good pictures and they explain how Carnaval works.

COMING SOON...
these are some of the titles of the still to come, postings which i have not yet finalized...
  • Carnaval in São Paulo
  • Florianopolis - the island, beaches and the argentinean carnaval
  • the final Desfile
  • Reflexions on Brazilian and Guatemalan cinema
  • My thoughts on other blogs
  • Baladas... - nightlife in São Paulo
  • some of São Paulo's pollution ironies
  • Perfiles - I and II
  • My very first time ... - danger in the streets
  • Churrascaria time
  • Violencia - random thoughts...
  • Aula de Corrupção
i hope this explanation helps... and sorry to overwhelm you with my suddenly posted entries.

boa noite galera

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

voto facultativo...

it came to my attention today that voting is obligatory in this country. during my 'public sector economics' class, the professor mentioned the possibility of having optional voting. obviously, it generated -like almost any other topic he brings up- lots of micro-conversations within the classroom. a brazilian guy next to me, who is also keen on micro-conversations during class, began to tell me about the different things that could happen if brazilians do not vote and then proceeded to ask me how it was in Guatemala.

some of the interesting things he said were that everyone is forced to vote in order to have a job... this is the way he said it and then he explained himself. i know, i reacted just as you did. let me explain this a little better. any person who does not vote, must pay a fee as a punishment and it is somehow recorded. Voting in this country is a right and a responsibility so not doing it for a several number of times might prevent you from getting a job and this is one of the worst things you could have on your criminal record.

i thought it was interesting because i've always sort of wanted Guatemala to have that system, but it becomes complicated because i could see many problems arising... most of these problems would be caused be the fact that some of the voters would be assymetrically informed by being people who don't know how to read and write, or also because we have people with political apathy, or people who would be willing to sell their vote to corrupt politicians...

ah well, just wanted to spark some thoughts and hopefully get some responses from this...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happiness Economics and some of what i've learned abroad...

Economia da felicidade...

while thinking about different ideas for a fellowship that i would like to apply for, i came across the idea of comparing happiness around different parts of the world somehow -it's just one of the many ideas that i have so far... not the best one, i know. this idea reminded me of a conversation that i had in one of my classes with some brazilians. we were waiting for the professor to come and they asked me if i was happy here and if i liked brazil. i said people were very nice and that it was a society that is not afraid to show happiness openly and loudly, i also thought it was a happy society overall - we can argue discuss that point of view at many levels but up until now, that's been my personal experience. one of them responded saying that even though there were many problems, they were a very happy country overall according to this happiness index. that's why i looked up this index and came across the following...

there is something called 'Happiness Economics' which attempts to create an alternative national index to the ones traditionally used, like GDP or GNP. there is a lot of controversy and many interesting findings that i though deserve some attention, especially because of two reasons... -one- i am studying economics and -two- i want to be happy and live in a happy country.

the data and the rankings vary a lot depending on the type of survey made from different researchers and universities. i found this one site called 'world database of happiness' and it contains results from different research methods and different surveys made over time in different countries.

since i have lived in four countries, i feel that i should definitely mention something about those four. i also include other countries that i find personally relevant because i have friends from there, because i am interested in them or just because i thought it was interesting to mention them...

AVERAGE HAPPINESS IN 145 NATIONS 2000-2008
How much people enjoy their life-as-a-whole on scale 0 to 10
(ranking no. COUNTRY - scale value)

top 5
1. ICELAND - 8,5
2. DENMARK - 8,4
3. COLOMBIA - 8,1
4. SWITZERLAND - 8,1
5. MEXICO - 8,0

countries i've lived in
8.-11. NORWAY - 7,7
16. BRAZIL - 7,4
27.-31. GUATEMALA 7,0
27.-31.United States of America - 7,0

honorable mentions - hehe
8.-11. SWEDEN - 7,7
13.-15. ARGENTINA - 7,5
17.-20.COSTA RICA - 7,3
21.-24. SPAIN - 7,2
21.-24. EL SALVADOR - 7,2
21.-24. GERMANY - 7,2
34.-37. CHILE - 6,8
34.-37 SINGAPORE - 6,8
69.-73.BOLIVIA - 5,9
74.-80. ECUADOR - 5,7
86.-92. PARAGUAY - 5,5
93.-97. PALESTINE - 5,4

TWO DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET TO HAPPINESS...
where to begin... let's look at the countries who would be expected to be up there in the list and then work our way down with the ones that might seem surprising.

Norway and the US are around where i would expect them to be in this ranking, from my experiences living in those countries i would have to attribute their happiness to many different values - productivity, independence, liberty, efficiency. In my eyes, people were happy in Norway because everyone had the equal basic grounding for individual development. basic needs were met and the everyday problems were not whether or not food was enough or safety issues but they were different. also, it still didn't feel like the level of happiness was the same during the entire year because of seasonal effects but they were overall a society which was good at putting the social basic needs in front of the personal ones. In the US i have noticed that if there is one thing they talk about, it is liberty. supposedly personal success reflects personal interest and work so everyone should be let alone so that they can do what they want. whether or not this liberty is real, is a different argument but it is definitely the one value that the US society discusses constantly and sometimes likes to bragg about.

moving on to countries that one wouldn't expect on the top 30s of that list...well, it's interesting to think that i come from a country that sees itself as a happy country, according to this one scale. this is something which in my opinion may be good or bad. Since guatemalans are happy with what they have, i have always perceived some level of disinterest in improvement and we often leave things for later because we are happy with how things are now... This is the typical 'mañana, mañana' attitude, which i do not like because it fosters procrastination. the reason why i dislike it so much is because it often gets into my way of doing things without me wanting to and i end up stressing - this happened often in the US where 'time is money' or in some parts of Europe where the trains arrive and leave at the exact minute written on their schedules...

Nevertheless, this attitude may also be good, because it makes the most of what we have at the moment and prevents us from living our lives stressed and worried about what we don't have, or all the troubles that our governments have caused, or the troubling past that haunts us. this 'mañana' attitude is also saying the following - i'm living today right now so leave me alone and stop talking about mañana so much. i know it doesn't sound good to live this way and i'm not suggesting to live one's entire life with this mindset because, in my view, that would just end up being unproductive. I'm suggesting to find a flexible point in between - be concerned about the future and base your actions to improve it, but don't let such concerns prevent you from enjoying the here and now. i have gradually found more and more reasons to live like this during my time in Brazil because, although it has not been as useful when adapting to life in Norway or the US, this 'mañana' attitude has been a very useful part of my culture in terms of adapting to the lifestyle here.

As time has gone by, i have noticed myself being more relaxed and flexible about details like time, plans, schedules and independence. i have noticed that many things here in Brazil, depend on others and may sometimes be things that i cannot change easily - like their attitude, punctuality, seriousness - so i might as well be aware of this in advance and not stress about things which i cannot control. This mindset has made my time here very enjoyable and relaxed.

this makes me understand better how guatemala, with all its problems, is amongst the happiest 30 countries in the world although the development indexes would prove otherwise. Brazil's case is similar in that way. it is a country full of contradictions, blessings and challenges but in the end, according to this index, it is the 16th happiest country.

all in all, i am glad to have been able to get to know those two different mentalities because it has allowed me to better adapt to the place where i am. that is one of the many many reasons why i am very grateful for having attended a UWC. Such experience allowed me to better understand those two different ways of approaching life and recognize their benefits. The results that those two mindsets bring to life are reflected in the rankings = they both bring about happiness although they bring it in different ways. Thanks to those two years in Norway, i now value both of them and this makes me confident in the way i live my experiences, both abroad and in Guatemala.

i apologize for the disorganized way in which i wrote these thoughts but i hope i can still get the message across. if not, feel free comment or ask about this...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

eu canto até ficar rouco...

and ficar rouco i did... i am pony right now. 'pony = a little hoarse'

here's the context for all of you to understand. i went to my second futebol match at the Estadio Municipal to support Corinthians, the team which has become my team. the experience is undescribable but i will try my best to do this without pictures.

this is the where and when it happened...
Date - March 11th, 2009
Time - 21.50 São Paulo time
Place - Estadio Municipal Pacaembú - São Paulo, Brazil

i went to the game with my two host brothers and another friend that works with my older host brother. four men on a wednesday night that contributed to the total of 31,695 people that attended the game that night, not to mention of course the millions of corinthianos that followed it through television. just to give an interesting fact, the corinthians fan base -24 million- is larger than the entire population of Guatemala -13 million.

we got to the stadium, and waited outside for a little while. unfortunately one of Marcos's friend ended up not coming into the game and staying in the stadium because of some ticket problems. that as too bad for her because it's really an expreience. we entered and got our 'standing spaces' -seats is definitely too much of a word for those spaces- at sort of the end of the stadium, behind one of the goals and close to the corners of the field. we waited while singing for a while before the game started, which reminds me that i still need to learn the songs so that i don't stand out as the only person in the entire stadium who doesn't know the songs. during that time, we noticed people jumping the fence from their nice and comfortable area to come and cheer with the cool people -us- and actually live the emotion of pushing the team up through support. they had payed a higher price to be in that nicer area, where they actually have seats, next to our area, but they wanted ours. it was really nice to see that where everyone wants to be in the cheap area, even though they might have payed the more expensive one hehe. i love relatively cheap prices.

...and so it begun. we started losing -min 22- and contrary to my expectations, the entire stadium stood up and cheered even louder for the following five minutes. more than 20 thousand throats got together to prevent the team from falling and they achieved it. i got goosebumps and was inevitably one more 'torcedor' in the crowd. i was definitely impressed by the passion and emotion put into futebol but little did i know that there was more to come...

Minute 35 - André Santos delivered to the crowd what everyone had been asking for. from outside the box, he took an amazing left-footed shot that swooshed by the other team and shook the nets. everyone stood up and cheered in unison the good old word every torcedor likes to hear for their team. 'GOOOOOOOOOOL' for Corinthians. by this time my vocal chords were already asking me to shut up because i had been screaming far beyond my day's quota. it was truly a beautiful goal, it made everyone finish the first half happily and proud of their support.

half time- rain began to fall, so i put on a rain coat. i ended up taking it off once the second half begun because i was getting just as wet beneath the coat because of my sweaty reaction to the stadium heat. it didn't really make a difference anyway...

ultimately, things got better, still, and five minutes into the second half, after some substitutions, the highly praised and acclaimed 'fenomeno', two times world cup champion and three times FIFA's best player in the world -Ronaldo- scored an amazing goal. he received a cross from the right side, his teammate let the ball pass by and ronaldo shot the ball to the bottom right corner of the goal, making it impossible for the goalie to stop it. you can imagine how this was followed by a thundering noise that 31 thousand people created. i had seen nothing like this in my life. it convinced me even more that i will go back to a world cup and feel the passion again for the sport that i love.

here are the goals for you to watch...



tonight's game was overall a completely new experience. by the end of the game, not only was i soaked with a mix of sweat and lots of city rain, but i had also acquired a new perfume made from marihuana essence, fart concentrates and a few droplets of armpitt sweat. during the game i had close physical contact with many other men - no big deal, you know, hugged a couple of strangers and such - i also lost my voice over there and plan to go back for it. i had a great time besides learning the songs and spending some quality family time hehe

something that i should mention is that the part where i have been standing in the stadium is where the 'Gaviões da Fiel' stand. they bring their drums and play all the instruments for people to sing along with their rhythms. they decide what is being sung and when the song changes. they are very well known in all of sao paulo and parts in brazil. in fact, this torcida is so big that they also have a samba school and this year they actually won the 4th prize in Carnaval. it is amazing and here's something just for you to enjoy...



i recommend this to everyone who would like to see men express their emotions, or see men feel part of a family/team and support a cause with conviction. in a way it makes me think... who ever said futebol doesn't bring out men's emotional side to surface has definitely not gone to a futebol game in a place where it really matters. if you decide to go, however, just remember you might be coming home with that new Le'street-stink perfume.

for all of you to enjoy... this is the song that gave origin to the title of my blog entry tonight.now i can say goodnight feeling alive, rested and genuinly happy.

Aqui tem um bando de louco...
Louco por ti Corinthians,
Aqueles que acham que é pouco,
Eu vivo por ti Corinthians.

Eu canto até ficar rouco,
Eu canto pra te empurrar,
Vamos, vamos meu Timão,
Vamos meu Timão,
Não para de lutar!

-cheers to you all...

aulas e matricula...

so i have now finalized the classes that i will be taking during the semester. they seem to be pretty cool and i had the chance to shop around for two weeks before deciding whether to stay in them or not. it wasn't a long enough time and Carnaval lazyness did not help but i feel satisfied with the classes i'm in.

the program gives us two classes that we must take
1. Advanced Portuguese I
it happens twice a week. tuesday and thrusday at 12.20 hrs. it is a literature class where we will read short stories, some poems, write a lot and read a whole novel called 'Capitães da Areia,' by Jorge Amado. Apparently it is a cool book about street children in Bahia that lots of kids at school end up liking. it was written in 1937 but it still applies to brazilian reality today.

2. Brazilian Issues and Realities
once a week on wednesdays at 1400. it is a class where we have lots of readings about different social topics in Brazil. these include - carnaval, futebol/soccer, landless movement, education, economics, religion, identity, etc

the rest of my classes are the ones i chose. these are three and they are the following
3. Public Sector Economics
every tuesday and thursday nights - the class is about the role of the state in the way it spends its resources and the different economic reasons why it should intervene. lots of theory and discussion which is kind of cool. also the professor has worked in the public sector for about 15 years so it makes him a little more trustworthy. he doesn't only explain the economics behind political decisions but he explains how power, politics and personal agendas come into play and disrupt or strengthen the economics behind it.

4. Economic Interpretations of Brazil
every friday morning - the class is about different Brazilian economists who have written about the development of Brazil and how it has gone from being an exclusively agricultural country to and industrial and agricultural producer. so far it deals mostly with theories that these economists had so it is more a history/social science class than economics which is good because i've had enough economics with graphs in Macalester.

5. Videojournalism I
every thursday morning - the class is about the production of news television and maybe documentaries too. the class takes place in the TV studio, which is cool in many ways - it has AC and lots of cool equipment. the professor was changed once and the one we have now is from Chile so he was very welcoming when i told him i was guatemalan. it is a class i had always wanted to take so i'm excited about it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

observação da educação universitaria

something the people in the program tell us about classes is that people from the morning might be very different from those studying in the afternoon. many students here have to work during the day and therefore choose the night schedules. PUC has the same classes in the morning as it does during the night so that's not a problem. the difference is more in the effects that these different schedules have on the people.

matutino vs. vespertino
people in the morning, as i was told, are supposed to have more time and no need to work in order to pay for school. these people might be more energetic during class because that is what they focus most on during the week. so far, i've tried a couple of classes in the morning and it was hard to tell from the people that i met whether or not this was true. the people i met were from second year -university here takes 5 years approx. to finish- so they were relatively young and students begin to work as they acquire experience, meaning that they begin looking for jobs or internships later in their career, during their 3rd or 4th year of university.

people in the night, as i was told, are supposed to have less energy to spend during classes because they come to university directly from work, which is evident because the great majority is wearing working clothes at night. they also have less time to do homework and have more tight schedules so group works are more challenging. nevertheless, people have mentioned that their discipline and willingness to get things done might be better because they are used to working under a schedule that demands dedication and efficiency.

final thoughts...
the reason why i mention this is because it represents an entirely different reality from the one at Macalester where students are not entirely paying for their own education. it would be very challenging to have a student earn 40,000 USD in one year. it is true that the services provided by these higher education institutions are not the same, library, computer, resources, because of the difference in tuition prices but it seems like different education levels must adapt to society's earning potential regardless of the quality of education. since relatively wealthy brazilians don't earn as much as lots of relatively wealthy people do in the US, the universities have to come up with a system that adapts to the societies where they operate.

i'm also not saying that the education at PUC is cheap. 7,000 US Dollars per year isn't cheap, but it is not 20,000 per semester. what i'm trying to get to is that private education within a country will depend on its country's wealth. PUC is considered to be the best private university in the State of São Paulo and second best private school in Brazil and it is composed of entirely different systems and numbers in terms of prices, as well as the number of students, schedules and classes. this is something that i find worht mentioning because because everyone speaks of São Paulo as a cosmopolitan city. a place where prices are the same in many of the goods and services in all the other world cities. from my experience so far, and i recognize that i might be wrong, higher education is not one of those goods.

Domingo na Avenida Paulista...

Today's blog entry is simple. originally i had plans to go with Daniel Urgelles - UPenn - to the beach to meet three other guys from the group. it was scheduled a little too early for both of us so plans ended up falling through but i got many good things out of it = a nice walk on avenida paulista, a blog entry that i wrote on a notebook i always carry around, nice images, lots of reading done, first attempt at McDonald's in Brazil, book store time and meeting two very nice brazilians...

here's what i wrote as i sat in one of the benches of the park

i went to the park Trianon, located along Avenida Paulista, in front of MASP, and this is some of what i saw from 09.16 to 10.16 am...
  • a photographer and his relatively 'young' girlfriend
  • lots of spiderwebs
  • a security guard teaching the secrets of park security gained from his experience to a younger guard
  • joggers -all kinds, ages, speeds, heights, humors
  • a DEPAVE - Departamento de Parques e Areas Verdes - worker with his son
  • two women sitting on a bench close to mine talking about me and staring at what i did
  • a statue
  • lots of dogs - and the owners behind them
  • chlidren running - and their parents fast-walking after them while calling their names
  • tatoos
  • leaves, sticks and seeds falling from above
  • a guy carrying his dog around the park
  • two smokers
  • dog poop - some was picked up, some... not so much
  • flies flying around the 'not-picked-up poop'
  • 5 baby carriages
  • 3 people talking on their cellphones
  • 6 digital cameras in use
  • a girl giving water to her dog using her hand as the container
  • lots of music devices
  • two houseless people
  • dogs sniffing each other
  • three encounters of dog-owners meeting
  • futebol shirts
  • a golden retriever rolling on his back
  • running shorts - the very short kind... those went by a couple of times
  • a security guard talking -and smiling- to a girl guard
  • people stretching
  • dogs that follow orders, dogs that don't, dogs that follow orders only in English, owners that follow dogs
  • impacient dogs, nervous dogs, calm dogs, obedient dogs, tired dogs, playful dogs, scary dogs, playful owners...
  • interviewers/poll-takers
  • myself being relaxed
  • another DEPAVE worker chilling with his friend
i hope you enjoyed some of my observations and i apologize for the unorganized manner in which i recorded all these things. there are also a lot of assumptions or deductions that i made which you are free to contest, and i realize i might have been wrong about them .. i know dogs are repeated but i saw lots of them and everytime i noticed something different.

gol do gordão...

it happened. i saw it live on tv...

people present
  • Fabio Bononi
  • Marcos Bononi
  • Rudy Alejandro Herrera Marmol

context
  • clasico paulista - Palmeiras vs. Corinthians
  • Ronaldo -3 times FIFA's Best Player in the world and 2 times World Cup Champion- is playing his second game for the team.
  • he's a little overweight... that's why they call him 'gordão'
  • minuto 90+
  • Corinthians was down 1-0
  • last corner kick...

results from the match
  • Palmeiras 1 - 1 Corinthians
  • 3 sore throats in this house
  • millions of people celebrating
  • a broken fence at the stadium
  • one of those things that mastercard would say that money can't buy...
ENJOY THE VIDEO...

oficinas de percussão

Just to let you all guys know... Daniel Urgelles and I have signed up for the free percussion workshops given by Bloco de Pedra. they are the Maracatú group i previously talked about. every saturday from 2 to 3pm we will be going there. we already went to the first one and it was pretty cool. it was basic but i am getting really excited. they will teach us the signs for each of the different beats they have and the sequence in which they are played. it's something i always wanted to learn so i'm happy i'm finally doing it.

in case you need me, i won't be back from those until after 5 because from 3 to 5 pm, i also stay for the open session of Maracatú which they hold. it's the bomb and there are lots of cool people that help you play and participate...

note
the picture was extracted from Facebook and it is an old one. it's just the funniest one i found of Danny playing...


in case you didn't read my previous entry about this...
MARACATÚ ENTRY

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

el retorno del fenomeno...

nothing too big on his first appearance but he did do something.
from looking at him play, you can tell he has played at a different level within the realm of futebol. his first touch showed just how quickly he can switch the game's direction and make the opposite team shake in fear. it was nice to see him play and even better to see my host brothers get excited about it.

just to clarify - after more than a year of not playing soccer, after being called fat by his own president, and after his third knee injury...Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima, also known as 'fenomeno' in Brazil, played his first couple of minutes on the team that i am supporting... Corinthians. you can imagine how happy people are here.



...i wouldn't be surprised if he does great things for the team but i don't think so much pressure can be good for him. only time will tell and let's hope it brings our team up.



who would have thought that the kid in the blue and white uniform would become the player he is now... i mean look at him hehe

Monday, February 16, 2009

proreforma... mmm

navegando por facebook me encontre con un grupo de proreforma. me entretuve un rato informandome de que es lo que esta reforma proponia y no me sorprendio encontrar cosas que no tenian mucho sentido. los invito a todos a leer acerca de eso porque puede que sea un gran error para Guatemala y bueno para algunas personas del pais. algunas de las cosas que me sorprendieron fueron las siguientes...

-un senado con 45 miembros que no son elejidos de manera representativa. los senadores, mayores de 50 años de edad, serian elejidos cuando cumplen 50 años, para ocupar el puesto por 15 años sin opcion a reeleccion.
-dos camaras diferentes que juntas representen el Organismo Legislativo (diputados+senadores) pero las dos tienen tareas diferentes... lo cual no refleja balance en poder, en mi opinion
-100,000 ciudadanos pueden solicitar una revocacion del presidente la cual tiene que ser obedecida por los diputados y los que no la obedezcan seran destituidos y sometidos a proceso penal... uufff

entonces lo que decidí hacer fue unirme al grupo, porque es la unica manera de comentar y escribir lo siguiente;

'primero que todo, felicito al grupo que inicio esta propuesta. es un trabajo dificil y reconozco el esfuerzo. segundo, me gustaria decir tambien que creo muy honesto de su parte mencionar que es una propuesta 'parcial' y 'limitada'. toda opinion politica es parcial y es las limitaciones de la propuesta es el tema del cual me gustaria discutir algunas cosas.

entiendo el pensamiento del beneficio general generado a partir de la libertad individual sin embargo reconozco tambien el rol del estado cuando el sistema de libre mercado falla y ciertos servicios publicos son necesarios para el desarrollo del pais. es por eso que tengo una preguntas que me gustaria que respondieran porque no veo la conexion entre los derechos individuales y la reduccion de violencia y pobreza en un pais con tanta complejidad como Guatemala. en mis opinion, la pobreza no es solo un problema de economia sino es un problema que lleva mucha carga historica. la desigual distribucion economica desde la colonia, los diferentes desastres naturales combinados con pobre infraestructura, la falta de inversion en el capital humano - servicios publicos y medicos - etc. por eso, mis preguntas para proreforma son

-como es que creando una camara como el senado - con senadores elegidos por 15 AÑOS de una manera no respresentativa, ayuda a reducir la pobreza y la violencia en Guatemala? no entiendo esa conexion y la veo como absurda, tomando en cuenta que la razon de esta reforma es reduccion de pobreza y violencia. tambien genera el problema de autoridad desbalanceada. el reisgo de tener un regimen dictado por el senado es demasiado grande si se hace de esta manera.
-como es que 100,000 ciudadanos pueden solicitar una consulta popular por la revocacion del presidente? el peligro aqui es tener un sector de la población con mucho poder y con 100,000 conocidos. eso seria suficiente para revocar a un presidente que haya cometido una 'intromision grave en otro organismo de estado,' por ejemplo - un veto a una decision del senado. esto podria generar un gasto increiblemente innecesario cada dos años solo porque sectores poderosos de la sociedad no estan conformes con el presidente. no se como esta reforma especifica es necesaria para disminuir la violencia tomando en cuenta que la violencia actual tiene poco que ver con las leyes escritas y mucho que ver con las politicas de estado aplicadas que afectan la situacion economica, academica y medica de los sectores mas pobres de la sociedad. ademas, creo que lo que quiero decir es muchas de las leyes estan alli, y reconozco que no son todas ni me atrevo a decir que son la mayoria, lo que falta es aplicarlas.

una recomendacion para el grupo es no definir la palabra 'independiente' como algo que no responde a los intereses de ningun grupo. no creo correcto hacerlo puesto que no tienen el mismo significado y proreforma inevitablemente defiende mas los derechos de algunas personas que de otras. por el simple hecho de tener un pais con mucha desigualdad economica, este movimiento ya defiende los derechos de unas persona que tiene mas poder adquisitivo y posibilidades de emprender en actividades economicas, mas que los derechos de otras personas que por necesidad, no operan economicamente en el sector legal.

hago este comentario con la intencion de contribuir al debate de una posible discusion en el pais y entender mejor esta propuesta. no lo hago con la intencion de hacer de menos sus esfuerzos sino ampliar un poco las opiniones porque creo bueno considerar diferentes ideologias al momento de proponer ideas a nivel sociedad.

saludos'


vamos a ver entonces que me responden y les cuento...
saludos a todos y aqui les pongo el link para que se infromen de la propuesta que tienen ellos...

http://proreforma.org.gt/index.html

Saturday, February 14, 2009

maracatu (cont.)

so i went to the Maracatú session again (just as i described in my blog earlier) and here is what i found after looking for it online:


Thursday, February 12, 2009

aqui tem um bando de loucos...

so yesterday i went for the first time to support what will be my brazilian team. it might not seem like a big deal for many of you but it is a big deal for a lot of brazilians and especially for my fellow CORINTHIANOS

the game that i went to was not that important, meaning that the opposite team was not that famous or hated by corinthians, but it was still an intense night. there was rain, samba and lots of people from different socioeconomic levels -most of them, of course, seemed to be from favelas.

futebol here is definitely more than a passion, it is a lifestyle. i had never seen the attachment that most of the people at the stadium had with their team, including my host brothers. we sang during the entire 90 minutes + half-time regardless of the rain or the fact that we were tied for most of the game. it didn't matter where people were from as long as they were supporting the same team. many people there would seriously get into a fight for their team if they would need to and it has happened. the team supporters are actually well-recognized for being the violent ones in sao paulo.

i wish i could show you what it's like but it was not recommended to bring my camera and it would have ended very wet so my description will have to do for now...

check this site for the history of the team
TEAM HISTORY IN WIKIPEDIA

check this site for the history of the team
TEAM'S OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Memorial da America Latina - pt. 1

architecture is something that stands out in São Paulo and one of the best known architects in sao paulo is called Oscar Niemeyer. He made the complex of buildings called 'Memorial de America Latina' which is well known around the city and fortunately it is located very close to my house. and i haven't even told you the best part... it's free.

for more information, here is a little description, in english - my translation - and in portuguese for those who would like to give it a try.

the 'Memorial of Latin America' is a cultural complex, whose architectonic set was designed by the Oscar Niemeyer. it occupies 84,480 squared meters of Barra Funda, in São Paulo. amongst the elements of this public foundation, the museum-oriented space for creativity, 'Creativity Pavillion, outstands from the rest. this space holds close to four thousand pieces of craftwork from Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala and Mexico. another exposition space is Galeria Marta Traba, which organizes contemporary art samples and anthologies of important latin-american artists. erudite or popular music, theatre, dance and cinema also have their space in the Memorial, in one of the largest amphitheatres in the state, the Simon Bolivar Auditorium, capable of hosting 1609 people. created to integrate, disseminate and foster latin american culture, the Memorial also offers to the public a library holding books, journals, periodicals, magazines, films and audible recordings regarding to the history of latin america.

O Memorial da América Latina é um complexo cultural cujo conjunto arquitetônico desenhado por Oscar Niemeyer ocupa 84.480 m2 da Barra Funda, em São Paulo. Entre os equipamentos desta fundação pública estadual, destaca-se o espaço museológico do Pavilhão da Criatividade. Ele abriga cerca de 4 mil peças artesanais do Uruguai, Paraguai, Brasil, Chile, Bolívia, Equador, Peru, Guatemala e México. Outro espaço de exposição é a Galeria Marta Traba, que organiza mostras de arte contemporânea e antologias de importantes artistas latino-americanos. A música erudita e popular, o teatro, a dança e o cinema também têm lugar no Memorial, em um dos maiores anfiteatros do Estado, o Auditório Simón Bolívar, com capacidade para 1609 pessoas. Concebido para integrar, divulgar e fomentar a cultura latino-americana, o Memorial ainda oferece ao público uma biblioteca com livros, jornais, periódicos, revistas, filmes e gravações sonoras sobre a história da América Latina.

Para conhecer melhor a Fundação Memorial da América Latina, acesse o site www.memorial.sp.gov.br
for more information about click on the following link: www.memorial.sp.gov.br

so, this place is very close to where we live so we decided to go to it and get to know it a little better. we only visited one of the buildings 'Pavilhão da Criatividade' and it had various really unique things. inside the building there were pieces that had been gathered from different countries and relfected different aspects of their societies.

RELIGION
the first area had a collection related religion and it had images, objects and figures from different countries. one of the things it had, which i liked a lot, where the different Virgin Mary figures that were used in different country... it also had two large capsules with 'barbara' and 'ken' dressed in traditional bolivian costumes.













BRAZIL
another area had brazilian costumes that were real size and they differred so much depending on where they were from. it was really cool to see them. also, they had a cool corridor with brazilian handicrafts from different parts of the country. they were very colorful and they had lots of dolls. most of the handicrafts were handmade with natural products - lots of wooden-made and colorful figures.













LATIN AMERICA
they made a relief map of latin america where they had represented in sort of a caricaturesque way, the different cities of the region and highlighted some of the buildings or traditions in the countries. the map was placed under a glass floor so you could walk all over it and find the different cities in the region. although, most of central america was not present and many countries had only their capital city represented, i liked it a lot. it looked like a lot of work and lots of detail put into it. this map also reminded me of the map at the Miraflores museum where you can see the streets of the current city and underneath the glass you can see how the mayan city of miraflores was with all its temples, houses and water channels.

the rest of the pavilhão contained five main expositions from latin america. they focused on four countries for the first four sections and the last one contained things from other countries that had not been mentioned. the following are the four sections of the museum.

MEXICO
there was an altar with different masks and costumes from different parts of mexico. it had a lot of figures of the devil, since it is such an important icon in mexican culture - and many traditional textiles. i thought, this section focused more on the southern part of mexico and it didn't really show much from the north which is also a big part of the country's identity. nevertheless, i thought it was very well done and they had recreated an altar that i found to be really cool.

PERU
many of the things in this section contained lots of traditional objects that they inca culture had used and continued using even after colonization. it also showed some of the materials and colors used to make the clothing for the colder regions. it was also very colorful and it had very well made traditional dresses.












GUATEMALA
YAY - first of all, let me tell you that i was really happy to see my country as one of the four chosen to be part of the exposition. it makes me feel proud of my nationality regardless of the enormous amount of work ahead of us in order to improve the situation for a lot of guatemalans...

in the guatemalan section, they had a lot of traditional dresses in exhibition, also some other things in smaller capsules - maximon, textiles, güipiles, traditional jewelry and objects- and two very large kites. that was really cool because it was the first time i see them outside of the country and it made me wonder how they brought them here. it was also cool to explain a little bit of it to the people that came with me to the museum.

ECUADOR
they also had a very nice exposition of some of their textiles and traditional costumes. they had a lot of very colorful handicrafts and since we had Karlinha with us, she explained from where some of these costumes were and we would sometimes even hear that she owned some of them. it's always nice to have someone explaining things about their own country and lucky for us, Karlinha didn't only talk about Ecuador but also about Mexico.

p.s.
the participants of this trip to one of the buildings in the Memorial were only four - Forrest, Sabrina, Karlinha and your blog-host. we shall go again to see the rest of it and hopefully see more about the diverse and unique region of Latin america through the eyes of brazilians...

Stage 1 - Cleared

so ILCP is over and the bahia kids are on their way to salvador. it's a weird day but at the same time it's something i've been waiting for a while. this might be confusing so let me elaborate on this a little more...









i came to a program organized by CIEE - council on international educational exchange. the name of the program is São Paulo - Liberal Arts Program. the program started on january 8th and will go on until june 27th. it is one of the longest study abroads students go on and part of its length is because it has the ILCP - intensive language and culture program - followed by the regular classes at a private university. this university is called Pontificia Universidade Catolica - PUC.





so during the first month, called ILCP, there was a group of 60 people from which some stay in São Paulo, 20, and some others go to the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia, 40. we did this program together and now that it was over, we had to say our goodbyes and go out for the last time.





during this program we had several extracurricular and cultural activities - like going to paraty, maracatu, samba school, futebol museum and other things. also, on a more academic side, we had two courses. a daily 2-hour portuguese lesson and a daily 2-hour brazilian culture lesson. the portuguese lesson was extremely helpful to remind me of all the different tenses and learn vocab. our professor was also very good and funny so the two hours were not painful but rather enjoyable. sometimes i did feel like i would have liked to review different things but i guess it's really hard to adapt to all the different people's needs so it was fine. the brazilian culture class was not as good as i expected it to be. the professor, Carla, was very energetic and talkative but when it came down to structuring the classes in an organized way so that we could all just get the meaty stuff from the class and learn in a more concise way, i believed she fell short. i liked it anyways because we watched some good films and learned a lot about brazil history, considering that i didn't know any of it before coming here. i actually confess that i knew more about brazil's futebol history than any other kind of historical facts... i know, it's kind of lame

anyways, we just finished our ILCP part so we had our last event at the top of the highes point in the city. it is a restaurant at 'Terraço Italia' and it is a very cool building with an amazing view. as you can tell from the pictures we were privileged enough to have lunch with this view and the sky actually cleared up for us to get cool pics of the city. some parts are impossible to see where they end. the city is huge and so full of buildings. looking from the roof, it felt like i was so small in relation to the city but at the same time so big. it was a cool and new feeling. i like it when that happens.
all i can say is that i hope the bahia kids have fun up there and i hope whoever reads this blog enjoys the pictures.

saludos y hasta luego










Pictures are as follows =

me at the top of terraço italia
terraço italia - highest point in the city
MamaSilvia -my hostmother - Karla and I
MACstudents in Brazil
a view of São Paulo
largest residential building in Latin America
last picture together of Kirsten and I before she left for bahia
my portuguese class

paraty - tercera parte

location - PARATY, RIO DE JANEIRO
duration - FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
who - CIEE SAO PAULO GROUP+ CIEE STAFF

SATURDAY - jantar e parque
we came back to rest for a little while after swimming by the beaches all day. before we all went to our respective hotel rooms, however, we celebrated the birthday of one of the people that came on the trip, our professor, Carla. she is the professor for the brazilian culture class - on which i will elaborate later - and she is a very vibrant person. we ate cake, drank guaraná and chilled by the pool for a little while. some stayed longer than others but all of us ended up going to our rooms to rest before dinner. it was a nice pool and a cool place to hang out at night.

-siesta!!-

after our siestas... we all gathered in front of the hotel i was staying in and decided to find a cheap place to eat at. the night before was too expensive for my taste - my parents can testify what kind of prices i like or don't like. we went to this place in a very popular street where they sold a lot of shared plates. by that i mean that you could order food for two people and that the restaurant was so full and tight that sabrina -one of the girls in the group - had to sit down in some sort of hockey pockey style... 'you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out...' as you can tell by the pictures. anyways, Karla and i ordered some chicken which would later become my nocturnal stomach ache. anyways, these are some of the pics form sabrina's interesting seating position...


the meal tasted good and afterwards we walked around the city. we got some ice-cream and talked for a little while. we went into a photography exhibition of an italian guy who had come to brazil and fell in love with paraty so he stayed. he had some really good pictures in black and white and there were other photographs from different themes - society, history, nature, culture, etc - which were also amazing. in the end, we all gathered at the town plaza, some people had some sketchy street caipirinhas - for example; a green one called 'HULK's pee - and others had some cachaça. some people ended up at my hotel and everyone made it to bed at different times but relatively early. we had to wake up early the next morning because we had a very nice day planned ahead of us...

SUNDAY - cachoeira e peptobismol...
i did not have such a good night -food poisoning- but was ready to feel better during the day and so i did thanks to some peptobismol i got from one of the guys in my program. we got onto these jeeps and were given a talk about what we were doing. first we went to one cachoeira - waterfall - that was up in the mountains. it was pretty cool going there and when we got there we had the chance to swim in it and jump from the sides. it was good fun except it took me a little while to jump in because of my delicate stomach situation. one lady that was a tour-guide prepared a tea for people who had drunk too much the night before and she said it could maybe help with my stomach ache. i underestimated her warning regarding the taste and ended up drinking it. i didn't want to make a face and look tough but i ended up doing it because it was hard not to react. after i drank that horrible horrible water, i felt better and decided to jump in. the water felt great and i ended jumping from one of the sides too. i enjoyed it a lot.



also, during our time there, everyone was exposing their different skin colors and most of the people that had gone snorkeling had a red back side -including back, behind the legs, butt, shoulders, calves... - so it was funny to compare that to the people who had their frontsides burnt because they didn't go snorkeling as much.

then we went to this other place with another cachoeira - very beautiful as well - where we ate lunch and i took a nap. i wish i could tell you what happened there but i was not awake enough to do so. all i know is that Jill -another girl from the program, that likes to take pictures of people sleeping - took a picture of me napping. not my sexiest picture! therefore it shall not make it to the blog. finally we finished eating, i wet my feet with the water from the cachoeira and then drove to a fazenda called FAZENDA BANANAL where they used to make traditional cachaça and the tour-guide talked about the process through which they make it. cachaça is the drink made from sugar cane and it is the one used to make caipirinhas. there are many many types and there can also be cachaças with flavors - i.e. chocolate, caramel, etc - so people got to try it as samples. it was a nice tour and would recommend it to many people who are interested in the history behind different liquours and their tastes...

after the tour, we went back to paraty, packed and came back to São Paulo. it was a long trip, since we didn't stop on the way back except for one place to buy something light to eat. we got home at around 9 or 10 pm and some people still had time to go watch the superbowl.

now that i think about the trip, i realize that the level of tourist infrastructure is very good here in brazil in comparison to guatemala and that can make a huge difference. of course, this ought to be done carefully to prevent invasions into protected territories, poorly managed trash management and services that might disturb natural cycles/life. the main reason why i liked the place was because nature was great and sea life was accessible and seemingly healthy. hopefully that is the reality too, and not only an appearance. all in all, the trip was great, people were fun, the beaches were amazing and friends with peptobismol turned out to be incredibly helpful.

what are you people waiting for?, get your butts over here. 'Paraty is here for you!' - that would sound so much cooler in spanish...

Monday, February 2, 2009

paraty para toDOS

location - PARATY, RIO DE JANEIRO
duration - FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
who - CIEE SAO PAULO GROUP+ CIEE STAFF

SATURDAY - mergulhando nas praias
we woke up at this very nice hotel, we had breakfast - lots of pão de queijo, fruit and the cereal - and then we went to the port. during the day, we visited different beaches in different islands. paraty has 365 islands, so theorically, one could go to one island for an entire year. the beaches are amazingly beautiful and much of the area is declared protected areas. it is a very beautiful place and until now i had seen nothing like it. now i understand a little better how beautiful Brazil may be and no wonder so many people fall in love with it.

CIEE rented one boat for everyone in the group. the boat took off from the port early in the morning and we came back in the afternoon. the first stop we had was a place near the rock where we jumped in the water mostly because it was a good place to snorkel in. there was a guide that came with us. we jumped in, swam around and got to see cool fish, starfish, sea cucumbers and other cool animals. we were there for about an hour and then they took us to this other place. in between these places, it was just nice to sit back, look at everything and relax. the nature is amazing, the sky was bright blue and the water too.

when we got to the second beach, we had to jump off the boat and swim to shore. once we got there we snokeled along the beachside and saw some cool stuff. we even saw a ray!! it was not dangerous and it was really cool. we didn't get to touch it of course but we were able to stand maybe 1 meter away from it. we went a long way along the coast until most of us got tired so we decided to come back. we got back to the beach, walked for a little bit and then swam to the boat to go to a different beach. you should all know that boat time = 'putting-sunscreen-on' time. everytime we swam and got on the boat, everyone would put sunscreen on again and again because the sun can be pretty mean down here.

after our second beach we went to a third one but had lunch first. we had options - fish or chicken. place you bets on what i decided to have, i'll tell you at the end of this entry... all i can say is it's pretty good and i had to have some Guaraná with it, it's simply the best soda/pop i've tasted. we got to the third beach and i decided to just swim close to the boat. some people swam to the beach while i swam nearby a little and then i decided to join them and go to the beach with them. they were playing with the sand and burying some people in the sand, so i decided to go over there and give some of those people some nice sand-bodies and siren tails. it was good fun!

after playing with the sand for a while, we aksed for a ball and decided to break it down brazilian style ... play beach 'futebol'. it was also fun! after winning the game - although the other team might think otherwise - we came back to the boat only to return back to paraty. just when we thought fun and amazingness was all over, we were on our way back to the city and guess what se saw... DOLPHINS!! that's right, we saw dolphins, and they were a lot of them. they were swimming and jumping towards our boat, they swam underneath the boat and came up on the other side, behind us. those dolphins are more difficult to photograph than i thought, by the way. we got back on land all merrily and happily. it had been a great day and most of us were a little tired so everyone went back to the hotel to meet later on for dinner.

next entry...
SATURDAY - jantar e parque
SUNDAY - cachoeira e peptobismol...

p.s. i had the chicken with this pink sauce and fried potato strings... it was soo goood!!

paraty - parte uno

so the weekend was very intense. We had a trip to a very beautiful place called Paraty. It is located in the south part of the Rio de Janeiro State, almost in the state of São Paulo. the city was the end of the Gold Route - passage through which they extracted gold from Brazil, in Minas Gerais, and sent it to Portugal. We had a lot of things to do so i'll try to keep it short and show a lot of pictures. enjoy the following couple of entries.

location - PARATY, RIO DE JANEIRO
duration - FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
who - CIEE SAO PAULO GROUP+ CIEE STAFF

FRIDAY - stop at Ubatuba
we met at PUC at seven thirty am. sleepy, excited and half awake. some of us had eaten breakfast and others were eating there - jill macnaughton brought pizza for everyone. we started our trip, i tried to stay awake and see the scenery and movies but it was difficult and i ended up falling asleep. i had gone to canto da ema the night before and came back at 2 am to my place so that's why i was tired. canto da ema is a place where they dance forro which is a type of music, very similar to salsa but a little more sensual. the atmosphere was really good and the group of people that i went with was fun so i'd say it was a place worth coming back to. unfortunately, i won't be able to go with the same people because most of them are going to salvador soon. anyways, i got home at 2 and started packing so i didn't get much sleep and had to make up for it in the bus. i took a couple of pictures of the places we went through but it was very cloudy so it didn't look as beautiful as it could be on a sunny day.

on our way to paraty we had one stop scheduled at a beach called Ubatuba which is well known as a touristy place and a good surfing site. we got there, ate some food and proceeded to jump into the water. it was great. i stayed in the waves as much as i could because i rarely get to go to beaches that have big waves but are not steep on the bottom. also, different from guatemalan beaches, instead of being steep and black sand beaches, the sand was yellow/light brown and it had rocks on one of the sides. we walked a little on them as one group but then one group went back to go into the water and some people continued along the rocky coast.

also, because this was a more touristy place than normal, i didn't get a clear picture of the differences between swiming suits. brazilians are known for wearing very small bikinis for women and minuscule shorts for men called 'sunga'. as of now, i stand proudly as a tourist because i am not wearing a sunga.

FRIDAY - bemvindos a paraty
we got to paraty and to nobody's surprise, it was raining. the historic center of the city doesn't allow cars to go into the city so the bus left us as close as it could from the two hotels where we were staying. waiting outside the bus were staff members from the hotel with a bunch of umbrellas so we all received them and walked to the hotel with our luggage. the hotel was really nice but we wanted to go out and explore so four of us decided to walk together around the city before 7pm which was tour time. we didn't see much except for lots of flooded streets and very few people in the city. i believe we even got the occassional 'look at them, they are gringos' look but it's a city full of foreigners so they were used to seeing lost people like us.

we got back on time for the tour and we understood the history of the city a little better. as i mentioned earlier, it was the end point of the gold route towards portugal and it had different churches for whites and blacks and no official church for indigenous people -the few that were left. the city is also built so that during high tide the water from the ocean comes in and it walks through the city - therefore the flooding -, and during the low tide, the water slowly goes back where it belongs. the houses are made so that it doesn't come in which is kind of cool but it sometime happens that water does come in - not good. we saw the port, the central plaza and some of the iconic streets and buildings. apparently the city had a lot of mason influence because throughout the city it had different symbols and details in the architecture of the buildings that indicated who was part of the masons. this was specifically important to brazilian history because the masons started the independence movement.

after the tour everyone went to have dinner and we went to this thai place which had a good reputation - let me tell you, this reputation could not have been for its prices, because man, was it expensive... the food was indeed, very good. we all ordered different dishes and shared. at the end, all of the guys decided to do something which was not too smart but it showed how much of a man each one of us was... since each plate had a green or red pepper on the side, we all decided to give it a try. TALK ABOUT HOT SPICES!! water, rice, vegetables, oxygen and an occassional napkin bite were not enough to calm the wildfire inside our throats. the worse part was that it walked slowly down our throats and to our stomachs... ah well, at least we all had a good laugh looking at each others' red faces and urgent need for water hehe.

p.s. of course, the picture i'm showing you is not going to be me with my very red face, it has to be one of our very own Dominican morenazas exhibing the lovely display of thai food.

in the next entry...
SATURDAY - mergulhando nas praias
SATURDAY - jantar e parque
SUNDAY - cachoeira e peptobismol...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

chuva chuva e mais chuva...

So, it's been raining like crazy here. Just thought i should mention that.

Back to the blog, I just noticed, while looking at the pictures that i forgot to talk about Liberdade, which is a neighborhood in São Paulo which hosts a great number of oriental, mostly japanese, people. It is worth noting that the largest japanese population outside japan resides in Brazil, even though that might not be one's first guess. One more peculiarity of this interesting city full of contrasts and diversity.

Anyway, we took the metro to Liberdade and got there to walk around a place that we didn't know. It is a very nice area near the center of the city and it has lanters on the sides of the streets that make it look authentic. Also, on Sundays it has a street market (feira) which is very popular and has a lot of traditional brazilian, japanese and chinese products and food, as you can see in the picture below. We tried some of it and had lots of fun walking around the hot and steamy food stands.

Something funny happened while we were walking around the shops. We went into an aisle with a dead end so the entrance was the same as the exit. It was a little crowded and the people selling things were just standing in their mini-stores. So i decided not to go all the way to the end and stopped at one of the stores and stood there while waiting for the rest. Ten minutes after that, a gentleman and his girlfriend asked me for the price of a dress! hehe. I didn't want to be rude so i told them i could find out and asked the actual owner of the store. They saw me going to the lady owner and asking her so they realized i was nothing but one more tourist. We all laughed.

We walked around the shops on the area and the market. Afterwards, we were a little tired from walking so we decided to go to a place where we could sit, talk and be ok with speaking in english. We went into McDonald's got some fries, some guaranás and sat down in the good old family restaurant. It was actually enjoyable and fun.

last pic from this entry:
'reflection... '

p.s.> thanks for coming to the same program linha. haha

Monday, January 19, 2009

Joga bonito...

So i went to play futebol today. My first time in Brazil and with brazilians... LOVED IT!
i went with my host brother, Marcos (or Marquinhos) to this place called Playball something. It is a set of private futsal courts that people can rent. So from now on i will be playing there every Monday night from 10 - 12 pm. So, in case you need to find me on Monday nights, you know where i am...

In general, this is going to be a good place to learn a lot about the culture and more specifically the street soccer vocabulary. In case some people don't know, this proves to be very useful not only inside the courts. I have two specific ways to prove this. (1) I now know how to better defend myself in case of an insult dispute with other portuguese speakers; and (2) i know how to say 'calf' and 'ankle' in portuguese.

I should also mention that the group of people is slightly older than me. To put it this way, i am the youngest by about 4 or 5 years, and the majority might be around their high 2os or low 30s... but they could all be considered moderately good at playing the beautiful game. It's good to see and live soccer in a country where it's so important. Playing here also makes me miss playing with my friends in Guatemala and with the Scots (including Scott the scot). Also, I acquired many different nicknames that arised from nationality, looks, age, etc... some of which were 'gringo', 'filho' and 'guatemala'. I happen to like the last one.

p.s.> the schedule for these game-sessions shows how much the city doesn't sleep (even on mondays)... hopefully i won't have early classes on tuesday...

p.s.2> today's portuguese vocabulary lesson:
calf = batata da perna & ankle = tornozelo