Sweet Curry, the Brazilian view of foreigners and Princess Anne. Thanks to Ruth bringing some Rafi's Spice Box packs over with her we had TWO curries last night at our house. We made it a dinner party with Rachel's parents and also some of the trainers on the CELTA course that is running in Natal this month. There was some good banter at the table between Steve (Rachel's Dad), Ron and Julian. What these three don't know about English Teaching isn't worth knowing.
We got onto the subject of the stereotypes Brazilians have of Brits and Americans. It was not uncommon for me last semester to get students asking me out of the blue questions like: "Do people laugh and have fun in England?", "Why does everyone like the Queen?", "If somebody falls down in the street, is it true that in England everybody will ignore them?" and so on. Ron had some good stories to do with this. I think I should quote him directly from his book - the essential How to Say Anything in Portuguese - by Ron Martinez.
In part due to the constant exportation of images and "culture" from other countries to Brazil, some Brazilians who have never even left their own cities believe they know all there is to know about where you are from. Especially if you are of North American or European origin, Brazilians will assume that you are a cold fish, are work-obsessed, are probably bad in bed, dance like you have a herniated disc and only bathe once a week.
From my experience, Ron's analysis is spot on. However, the Brazilians are probably only right about the dancing. Most Brits I know have a bath at least twice a week.
Small aside... Steve has to give a short speech immediately preceding Princess Anne (of all people!) at a Cultura Inglesa conference in Sao Paulo this July. He got me to proof read the script before it was screened by the Palace. I get the impression Steve is dead chuffed about this opportunity... and, well, I think he should be.