The weekend in Campinas.

27 01 2008

It’s been a wonderful weekend so far: visiting the hippie fair to purchase some nice things for my contest winners, drinking coffee in my Starbucks mug from Dennis, lounging around on the sofa watching episodes of “The Office,” and going out for conversation and food with friends each day. I love weekends here, quiet and uneventful though they may be.

But it’s not quiet all the time. Friday night, for example, all of us got together for a grand time at Piola’s, a restaurant with pretty great pizza. (There are other Piola’s, apparently one in New York. Anyone been there? I wonder if it’s got the same style and same toppings of pizzas as here in Campinas?) Anyway, we were well into our meals and drinks when the music stopped and a trio of actors came into the center of the restaurant. They began talking to the crowd, introducing themselves as Radio Comida (Food Radio), and before we knew it, they broke out into hilarious songs. Everything from Brittney Spears, Michael Jackson, and The Beatles, to Metallica, Jorge Ben, Simon & Garfunkel, and Shakira. What made it hilarious wasn’t the fact that these actors were three funny-looking men; it was that the lyrics they sang set to the popular songs from the above artists had all been changed to food words. So you know the beginning of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” when the trumpet is playing and Wyclef Jean is speaking over it? The actors/singers replaced the sound of the trumpet with the word “pao” (which, if I had the proper accent sign on my computer, would mean “bread”). Every single word in the songs was replaced with a food word. IT. WAS. HILARIOUS. And these guys could do ANY song. They asked the audience for singers and everyone was shouting out names and lo and behold, there were the most popular songs by those singers, all about food. I know I’m not describing it well. So watch this music video, and you’ll see what I mean. They are hilarious. Moreso if you understand Portuguese, clearly, and maybe even if you don’t.

They’re singing about making Yaki Soba and the ingredients that go in. Funny, no? Here they are live at Piola’s:
Radio Comida @ Piola's

After the fun of Friday night, I had a relaxing day at home and did next to nothing, which was perfect. And later went out to the mall where I thought I’d find some clothing for school but was simply accosted by sales people in the stores I visited and then frustrated, I went home. I cannot STAND shopping in Brazilian small shops, especially those in malls. In a store (and this is not an exaggeration; I have a boyfriend who can vouch that this is true) no larger than a small bedroom, there are more employees than there are customers. Insanely more employees. Eight employees and two customers. And as soon as I even think about walking inside a store, I am swamped by salespeople wanting to tell me about things and pointing out objects that I don’t care about and don’t want to know about. Let’s say I’m looking at a purse on a shelf. Or let’s say I like the color green. The salesperson will bring me around to all the purses and tell me about them, or show me all the green things in the store. Come on, lady. Cut it out. I’m not buying anything, can’t I just be left alone? I’ll find you if I need something. And another thing is that they stand RIGHT NEXT TO ME as I am looking at things on shelves. I get the impression that they think I’m going to steal something, which is why they have to hire so many employees to monitor all the shoppers. I’m not even kidding about this. Sometimes I mess with them and just wander around the store in weird ways not looking at anything just so they’ll follow me. And then I leave.

So after the fun of the mall was over and I was back safely in my empty apartment, I watched “The Office” and promptly fell deeper in love with Jim Halpert than I ever have before. If anything, he is the reason why the writers’ strike needs to hurry up and end. Forget the rights of reality show writers; America needs “The Office” back.

Today I made two fine purchases at the local hippie fair. Here’s one:
A little painting

It’s a little painting done by a woman whose work I have admired since I first arrived. I bought a larger piece for Dennis a year ago and he keeps it on a shelf near a window, allowing light to shine through it from behind. It is beautiful. This one is much smaller but the details and the tininess of it is something I just love.

Here’s my other piece:
Blanket

As you can see, this blanket coordinates well with the orange of my couch. It’s made by a woman from Minas Gerais, the state north of Sao Paulo and it’s soft and comfortable. I’m excited because I love the colors so much and if this were a better picture, you’d see that there are tiny lines of the bright colors that are woven into the black so it’s not so dark and forboding like it looks here.

Well, that was my weekend. Not much to write home about, but just enough to make me think I’m not so much of the sloth I thought I was.


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9 responses

27 01 2008
Sofy

Yuck. The Office. The reason the writers’ strike needs to end is because with it there is no How I Met Your Mother. And a world without How I Met Your Mother is like a world without air.

To the salespeople, say, “I’m just looking.” And ignore them if they still follow you around. They’ll leave eventually.

– Sofy

27 01 2008
Jennie

I miss The Office too. J got seasons 1-3 on DVD for Christmas and we’ve really enjoyed them.

I hate being asked for help when there’s only one employee, so I can’t even imagine.

Those guys in the video are so weird – I can definitely see the humor, but wish I could understand what they were saying. Pretty cool that you saw them live, huh?

27 01 2008
ginacoggio

Sofy, enlighten me. WHY do salespeople get all up in customers’ business in a store? What’s the thought process there? Can’t they see it’s obnoxious? The thing is, I don’t want to have to say, “I’m just looking,” because I don’t even want to talk to anyone, which is why I’m at the mall in the first place, right? So I can have a completely anonymous day and be just a face somewhere that’s outside of my apartment. Yuck.
(Except not “yuck” about The Office.)

Anyhow, yes, those Radio Comida people are really weird in the video, but live they’re funny as all get out. It was awesome. We tipped them huge because they brought such energy to a night when I was fading quickly! (As a teacher, I love Fridays but am worthless because I’m so tired.)

27 01 2008
Sofy

‘Cause it’s their job. They’re like, trained to stick to people. Or maybe they compete with each other. “Whoever can sell the first piece of clothing to that pissed-off looking American chick gets five reais.” It seems possible.

And if you don’t want to talk to them, then I have no advice. Or I guess you could go to those really big clothing stores, there are so many people there that nobody will pay attention to you. Or go to the pet shop. Salespeople never bother customers there, because they don’t expect you to buy anything anyway.

– Sofy

27 01 2008
ginacoggio

Uh, the pet shop? There’s a pet shop around here?

27 01 2008
Sofy

Yes! I thought you went to the mall often! You should really pay more attention to things, you know.

– Sofy

27 01 2008
Susan

Sounds like a pretty fun weekend considering all I did was absolutely nothing. I don’t even remember what I watched on tv. It was sort of a blur or something. A strange one to say the least.
Love the painting it is so colorful! I miss “The Office” and many other shows that I forgot I missed until the writers went on strike. I need things like Grey’s Anatomy to break up my week…it helps me appreciate my life more.
I can’t stand shopping in a store with obnoxious salespeople. Ugh!

28 01 2008
Nilsa S.

Sounds like you are making the most of your Brazilian experiences … hooray!

28 01 2008
ginacoggio

Oh, hardly the most. Apparently I’m what you call an “armchair traveler,” even when I’m in another country. It’s been fabulously relaxing, as you can imagine.

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