Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wireless and Bean. Brazilians love Rowan Atkinson as Mr.Bean... and the fact that he hardly speaks means nothing is lost in translation. It's just good old fashioned slap-stick with a whiff of British nerdiness thrown in. Oh, and thanks to a new laptop with wireless connection (courtesy of Rachel´s folks for her birthday) I can write this whilst sitting in front of the tele watching Mr.Bean, hey hey! It's an ancient re-run - Mr.Bean at the pool - which I last saw about 15 years ago.

Things I miss about England #11: asparagus, avocado and tea. It's not that I enjoy these things mixed together, but they are three great consumables which Brazilians don't really "do". They have them alright, at a price, but the quality isn't so good. Asparagus once appeared at the local supermarket and so I bought up a packet instantly, only to discover it cost twice as much as the fresh beef I had bought as well. Chileans on the other hand, now they grow aspargus and avocado and they drink tea, good tea, by the bucketload. Our first meal in Chile was a shared asparagus omlette with an avocado and beef sandwich washed down with two cups of tea. Cracking stuff.

Things I love about Brazil #70: the travelling circus. Two of Nelson's favourite things at the moment are bicycles and monkeys. These two things were unexpectedly brought together today when we went to visit the Koslov Circus which was in town.

Travelling circuses are largely consigned to the history books in England, with the likes of Alton Towers, theme parks and a score of other family attractions proving to be more spectacular, corporate and popular. In Brazil, it seems running off to join the circus is still an option - especially if you're a woman with a beard, or you don't mind having knives thrown at you. The low cost of labour and the lack of too many competing local attractions in the vast expanse of the country seem to me to be possible reasons for the maintainance of this quirky sideshow of the entertainment industry.

So we took Nelson to see the spectacular this afternoon. There were the usual attractions - a father and son trapeze show, some strange animals (a small cow and a llama) and the clowns who did a routine with some kids from the audience. Nelson was mildly interested until the final act which really caught his attention. A big monkey, dressed in a pink dress (with pink bloomers on underneath) was brought onto the stage and cajoled into performing tricks such as walking on stilts and dancing to forro music. The grand finale was the monkey riding a bicycle round the stage. I was genuinely impressed, which is to say nothing of Nelson's reaction.

ACCORDING TO BOB: The view from the Andes.
According to Bob, apart from asparagus and avocado, Chile's primary exports are Salmon and wine. Most Chilean wine is grown in the central region of the country and some of it is made exclusively for export. While we were there we bought a bottle at the local supermarket priced for the equivalent of UK1.50 pounds. Talk about value for money.

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