Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guest blogger: Paul Rockley. (Scroll down if you missed the links to pictures and videos of the Rockleys in Brazil).

Appearance and Reality

"Seems madam? Nay ´tis! I know not seems."

So Hamlet explores a familiar Shakespearian theme – appearance and reality. It´s particularly pertinent here where ´delusive appearances have appeared with metronomic regularity throughout the social history of Brazil´(Joseph Page). One example was in the 19thC when the British (with almost breathtaking hypocrisy) were seeking to ensure their demands to end the slave trade in Brazil were met. They sent delegations to see if Brazil was complying, but since the Brazilians had no intention of doing so at that stage they created an impression that they were. Thus the phrase was coined ` para ingles ver´ (literally ´for the English to see´), which has survived to the present day.

We´ve also encountered some things that have been somewhat deceptive. A harmless looking millipede which is quite common here can give you a nasty sting. (It´s even worse in Amazonia where a touching a certain caterpillar can be fatal). My previous blog entry rejoicing in the absence of mozzies was premature – over 20 maddeningly itchy bites on my legs alone prove otherwise, though I´ve still hardly seen any of the infernal, pesky beasts. We were keen to sample some of the exotic fruits here. On our first day I bought a selection from the shop around the corner. ´Custard apple` tastes like neither custard nor apple, but is rather a collection of water melon seeds covered with bits of lychee flesh. I bought a large pack of ´Star fruit` for Rs 2 (about 70 pence in the UK) and instantly regretted it when I ate one. The children were similarly unimpressed. ``But they look so nice,`` I protested. One we sampled in church yesterday looked for all the world to be a Sharon fruit but stuck to your teeth with a bitter aftertaste.

And then there was one that looked just like a large Kiwi fruit. ``It tastes like beer,`` remarked my 8 year old son. ``How do you know what beer tastes like? I enquired. ``Grandad.`` was his laconic reply.

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