Sunday, June 07, 2009

...Brazilian habits that (to put it nicely) should be left in Brazil.

1. Cycling the wrong way up a street. For safety, of course, to see the cars that might hit you. But for the driver it adds an otherwise unneeded dimension to the already hair-raising experience of driving in Brazil.
2. Motorcycling barefoot. I don't use motorcycles so I'm sure this shouldn't annoy me, but it just makes me squirm thinking about putting nice fleshy feet on fast-moving, fritty concrete. I had to crack a smile though - in torrential rain, seeing a man dressed from head to ankle in an anorak but wth his feet nicely exposed to the elements as he rode his motorcyle past was a sight to behold.
3. Saying what you think the other person wants to hear. This applies mainly to two areas of life 1) party invitations 2) asking for directions. In both cases, Brazilians are loathe to say "I don't know" or "no, I can't". Better to lie (or flavour the truth, at any rate) and say you're coming / able to give directions. Result: nobody knows how many people are coming to any event. Nobody can be trusted to tell you the way if you're lost in a Brazilian city.
4. Why are so many of these connected to driving? Not letting people in to lanes. The other night I was coming back from the school and I tried to switch lanes, I indicated, slowed down and everyone in the other lane flashed at me and accelerated into the potential space. I didn't make my turn and I had to take a significant long cut home. (Interesting that when cars flash in the UK its to let traffic in. In Brazil, it means much the opposite - here I am, get out of my way!).
5. Everything is always so LOUD. Right now, this applies mainly to the church on the corner. On average 4 nights a week they drudge out Brazilian worship music which makes me want to roll over and die (and, therefore, arrive in the skies where the worship music will be better!). Questions Rachel and I have asked as we our TV competes with the din from yet another all night service: "Do you think they ever experience burnout?", "Why don't they do some evangelism on the streets (away from here)?", "Why are there only two volume levels in Brazilian music - loud and louder?" Whatever happened to the quiet contemplative number or the pause in silence?" (Come back St.Mikes, all is forgiven!). But, its not the churches that are loud. Its everything from the cars to the fireworks, from the music to the neighbours... FOR CRYING OUT LOUD STOP BEING SO LOUD!

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