For Nate and Candy.

6 12 2006

Nate and Candy are two readers who wanted to know some more things about Brazil before I leave here for a little while. Nate wanted to know about TV commercials and programs; Candy wanted to know about the countryside.

To tell you the truth, I don’t watch much TV here. This is because of this and also because I get the same channel seven times, plus an infomercial channel, and nothing else. I don’t want to spend the money on cable because I guess I would rather watch movies. So, for research purposes, I am watching TV right now. It is five o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon and what’s on my one channel (times seven) is an American movie that is dubbed in Portuguese. I have absolutely no idea what this movie is, and maybe it’s not even American. But the point is, if I weren’t watching it for Nate’s sake, I wouldn’t be watching it at all.
Mostly, when I do turn the TV on, I notice a lot of yelling. Well, it’s not really yelling, but Brazilian Portuguese sounds over advertising, as if each sentence is is punctuated by eleven exclamation marks. So excited! So happy! Wow! (or in Portuguese: “iuau!”)
The commercial breaks, however, are waaaay less frequent here than in the US. And they don’t last nearly as long. In the States, during a commercial break, you can get up and make a meal–or at least ramen noodles. But here, no. You know how, at home, there is a definite, rational pause in a TV movie for a commercial break? Like…right before the climax of the film or something. Here, it is kind of like you’re watching the movie and then suddenly, “break!” in an irrational place in the film. It’s like they have to stop it every twenty three and a half minutes exactly, even if the stop comes in mid-sentence.

I mostly listen to the radio here, in the morning when I wake up. I set my alarm to my clock radio and so I hear radio every morning in ten minute intervals. The thing about Brazilian radio, or at least the radio I’m listening to, is that they have the exact same playlist every single morning. This means that I hear the exact same music in the exact same order every ten minutes. I kind of can’t stand it. However, every morning, if I keep the radio on a little bit more, I can pick up more and more Portuguese. The song that seems to be really popular right now, at 6:23, is “Eu vou beijar voce,” which means “I’m going to kiss you.” Lots of songs here are about “saudade,” and “beijos,” (longing and kissing.) It’s kind of weird to wake up to longing and kissing every morning, but whatever.

I mostly dislike radio advertisements. That’s when it mostly sounds like people are yelling. Very kind of suave voices, kind of macho even. Or the jingles are really weird. It’s strange to hear a jingle in a different language, almost like the syllables don’t fit the tune. And the jingles here and advertisements too, sound so homemade. It sounds like people are kind of sitting around in a kitchen and making up songs. Of course, I don’t understand much of what they’re saying, so that makes me more critical, maybe.

Now for the countryside.
Here are some pictures from a recent trip to Joaquim Egidio, which is still part of Campinas. It’s like a little district that’s just removed from the main part of the city.
On the road from JE

I have tried to describe the city here. When you leave the city, there is a clear, clear distinction between city and farmland/country. Mostly, in this area, the land looks like the picture above. There are no dense forests here–mostly rolling wide farmland. The city itself kind of rises out of this, out of nothing, so there is a clear boundary between country and city. Suburbs? no, not really. You have to just picture this huge city that is plopped down in the middle of beautiful green and red farmland.

Moving closer to a town

As you move closer, you get to see more signs of human life. When you reach the real city limits, you see things like this: (But see the farmland in the distance? this is what surrounds Campinas.)
city limits

It really is so beautiful here. I love going out of the city. Here, although I feel comfortable, it’s nice to have my eyes be able to wander to the horizon over hills, not cramped in by the buildings that surround mine. It is a rainy afternoon today…the clouds look not unlike the clouds in that third picture.

(ten days remain.)


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