Things I love about Brazil #42: Fuscas / VW Beetles. VW built many of their famous cars in Brazil, and I've realised many Brazilians have a love affair with the little vehicles. For many poorer people, or for students or those buying their first car, a used but reliable "Fusca" or Beetle is your best bet. And then, if you're so inclined, join a society of Fusca owners and paint your car interesting colours (see above), add stickers, oversized tyres and generally "pimp" it. That top car has a sticker on it claiming a 4x4 gearbox. Yeah, right.
Nelson loves "Fuscinhas" mainly due to his fascination with the Herbie films, especially the most recent one.. People have been kind enough to buy him toy VW Beetles which he treasures and he has also taken some of his favourite toy cars to his own personal workshop (ie his Dad) in order to modify and personalise them, just like the real owners of Fusca's do - often with stickers of numbers front, back and sides just like the Disney film model. For his 3rd birthday which he will celebrate in June, why not a Herbie themed party? The only problem: we can't seem to find any of the merchandise/posters/stickers anywhere! Unusual for a Disney franchise, that.
Anyway, Nelson's day was completely made a couple of weeks ago when Teacher Dyego from the language school came over for lunch with his girlfriend. And what should they drive in? Dyego's brand new (for him - but the car is from 1983) metallic green VW Beetle with rims and purple-tinted windows. Nelson and his Dad drew a picture of the car. Can you guess which one it is from the pictures above? Dyego even drove a stunned Nelson round the block in it. Nelson's only comment - "this Fusca makes a lot of bumps!" - a product of sitting in the back seat which is pretty much on top of the engine. So, that's another milestone achieved in my son's short life: first ride in a Fusca.
LANGUAGE NOTE: All this talk of VW's reminds me of something I heard recently. My father-in-law, never one to switch off from the business of teaching English likes noticing how English is creeping into the Portuguese language. And, have you seen the futuristic film Code 46, in which the language of the future is an amalgam of English with several other languages? Well, this is already occurring in Brazil and Steve spotted it. A sentence above a garage which drew on THREE languages: "Faça o check-up no seu Volkswagen aqui".