I miss you. and there are no words to express how much I love you for sending me a package --filled with mac and cheese. What would I do without you?
So today I did an interview to start teaching a dyslexic 9 year old in a ritzy neighborhood called Urca, which is gorgeous and looks like parts of Havana. I got the job but the mom is a little on the crazy side and the kid is a little on the ADD side, but it's more than I make for my real job and is close to my house so, yay. Then I went to find out about signing up for dance classes (can't find decent ballet though), and got a suco de melao (melon juice). Yummy.
Parenthesis: Here is my dad in Boston in front of a Brazilian restaurant that my mom sent to me. Oh Brazilians are everywhere.
So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to discuss the Brazilian motel phenomenon, which I might have mentioned before. Motels here are used almost exclusively for adultery and for young couples who still live with their parents, much like in most of Latin America, like telos in Argentina and cabanas in the DR. Here, though, the motel has been perfected to an art, since there are tons of young people still living with their parents and I suppose, a lot of adultery. They have funny names, like SINLESS HOTEL in Leblon, or VIP'S, or simple little "Bambina Hotel" on our street. Some are nondescript on the outside, but others, like "Sinless" are incredibly gaudy with flashing lights and signs. To give you an idea of what they're like, I saw an ad today on a cab for this one I thought was so hilarious, and happens to have a website! So I'm going to translate parts of it and give you the link so you can look at pictures.
This particular motel is called "Hotel Snob," found at snobhotel.com.br. (Like I always say, the ridiculous English is everywhere). The description on the site says the following:
"Hotel Snob is in Centro, easily accessible from all parts of the city. The Snob Suites are large and well-decorated.
Hotel Snob also has suites with private garages for greater comfort and privacy. At Hotel Snob you can try our extensive menu ranging from seafood to our tasty grilled meat.
And, since for you love is more than just the two of you, come enjoy our special suites for parties, with different designs, dance floors, steamrooms, and giant hot tubs. Come visit our luxurious suites at Hotel Snob."
So indeed, you can get a full meal, from filet mignon to fried shrimp, every alcoholic beverage under the sun, and even a milkshake, if you're so inclined. The suites range from apartments, with just a bed and tv, to Master Suites. The second most expensive suite is the "Snob Suite," which includes a giant hot tub, two beds (???), a dance floor, 2 saunas (one wet, one dry), Sex Shop, Polaroid (you can take pictures I guess?), Erotic Chair, and private garage. The Master Suite is a step up! You get: a dry sauna, a whirlpool with a small waterfall, a full barbeque (for cooking up a bbq after you're done adultering??), 2 beds, a freezer, full-stocked fridge, 3 TVs, surround sound, dance floor complete with "modern lighting and fog machine," Erotic Chair and "refined decorations."
But if you're not that classy, you can just get a standard room, with a small hot tub, a bed, a small fridge, and a sauna (which I think they mean as a shower). You can pay for a four hour time block, for 12 hours, or for the 24 hour stay. The cheapest is a four hour block in an "apartment" suite for R$58. High class, people.
Also, on an unrelated note, as I'm looking through possible dance classes to take, I came across Zouk, which is just a fancy new way of saying "lambada" which I think Brazilians perceive as out of style, even though I think lambada and zouk are basically the same. It's this slow, salsa-like Brazilian dance done in pairs which I actually learned in Buenos Aires and took a few classes. It's super corny and there is a lot of woman head swinging but it's fun and it's entertaining. Here's a particularly hilarious one, complete with the Israeli flag behind the couple.
Hey all, make sure you check out all my lovely new picture albums I put up! They're all old but now they're more easily accessible.
Yesterday I had a 1pm class, went to the office to hand in my timesheet (56 hours in August means more money yesss), and then wandered through this lovely bookfair in Centro, where I bought two books in Portuguese: one about this Cuban-CIA conspiracy thing (true story), and a novel about a favela leader. Cool beans. I'm also reading my mom's book and "Chasing Che" so I have lots of reading to do.
Then my last class of the day was cancelled so I hung out and was a slug and later Eli and I watched "The Illusionist" which was surprisingly good although Jessica Biel is terrible but I really liked it. Today I had a make-up class at 9 and at 1 I'm going to meet this slightly crazy mother who wants me to give private lessons to her 9 year old. Woots.
Yesterday there was a train crash in Nova Iguacu, which is pretty close to the city. I got really freaked out when I first saw it because I thought it was near Eli's parent's house but it wasn't. Eight people died and a lot were injured. Article here.
Yay for almost weekend!
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I'm sometimes embarrassed to be an American.
this morning i woke up in a stupor but had an actual breakfast and was out the door on time. but apparently i wasn't really paying attention because i got on the wrong bus on my way to my first class. there are two red buses that pass on the street where i take the bus and i apparently didn't bother to look at the bus number, and i panicked as i watched the bus sail by the usual turn-off point around the Lagoa. But no matter, it was labeled "Leblon" which was where I was going. There's no better way to learn a new bus route than to take one by accident. So all the sudden we get to the end of the line, which was in Leblon but on the complete opposite end of where I needed to go. So I got out and hailed a cab which took me the 12 or so blocks about 5 minutes before my class started. I really am a dumbass sometimes.
So then I had class with my plastic surgery student who's face was all swollen with stitches in her eyes and it was kind of gross. I decided some coffee was in order so she brought me a delicious expresso but then on my way home i felt like i'd taken a muscle relaxant or something and just felt really weird from all the caffeine. Walking home from the bus, I saw a strange scene taking place on Sao Clemente, with tons of people standing around gawking. There was a crazy street woman, who resembled Titi from "Reno 911" a lot, screaming and hollering, and then a police car zipped up the wrong way on the one way street, and two cops grabbed this guy who looked absolutely miserable, threw him in the back, and took him away. The crazy lady continued screaming and followed the police car down the block to the police station. As she passed me she yelled, "somethingsomething acham que as pessoas da rua...something...vai tomar no cu!" or something about homeless people and fuck him blah blah. I assume the guy was trying to rob someone, but why he would want to rob a street person I'm not really sure. It was all quite sketchy and quite the Brazilian spectacle. I also saw a guy carrying a dog to a pet shop with the dog in a little doggy-sling attached to the guy's chest, and a woman with a white fluffy dog that was walking down the street on his hind legs (seriously, but then he fell over). Such a weird day.
Since my 930 with sketchy dude was cancelled (naturally) I have another class at 1 and then at 630, I need to go to Centro and do some paperwork and eat and then it will almost be the weekend.
i am officially done with the kids school in barra! and they even paid me! i felt almost guilty that they were being nice. it was a joy. i waltzed out of there straight to a new private lesson with one of my student's daughters, with a R$500 check in hand. Woot!
today my 8am was cancelled ahead of time so I slept in and accompanied Eli to buy some business attire since he's starting a new job. oh god he is such a boy. i had to force him to try things on, and he tried on about half of them as the storegirl kept shooing me out of the dressing room area. Luckily he finally agreed on 2 pairs of pants and 2 shirts and he looked very dashing so I was glad.
Then we went and got some acerola juice (to pump me with Vitamin C) and a huge thing of acai to split to give us energy and we went to this juice bar nearby that has all sorts of really exotic Brazilian fruits so I need to keep trying new ones!!
Then I came back, ate, and went to Barra. And now I am back and very happy.
A word on Brazilians: they LOVE to look at things and watch things. It's kind of like kids with shiny things. They are just entranced. So they are huge rubberneckers, love to watch any sort of street drama occurring, people handing things out, you name it. There are TVs everywhere, and are always on in people's homes, just so there is always something to watch. And naturally, when soccer games are on, bars will crowd completely and people will stand in the street OUTSIDE of restaurants looking in to catch the game. I thought of this today because these two teenagers were on the bus and all the way along the beaches they were glued to the windows watching a few surfers in the waves. I really do think this is a good generalization though; Brazilians just love to be entertained.
Anyway. I need to shower and eat because I have classes all day tomorrow. Maybe now that my work schedule is somehow coming together, the rest of my life will too.
today it poured, all day long. but the good news is, i spent most of today in bed.
today went like this:
last night i found out my 8am today was cancelled (presumably because my student's eyes were still swollen shut from plastic surgery). Then I woke up at 8:15 and texted my super responsible student (the one who has cancelled almost every class), and asked "Class today?" to which he responded pleasantly "No" so I went back to sleep. At 9:30, the office called to tell me that my 12pm was cancelled (unusual) so then I really went back to sleep! I hung out, had a leisurely lunch, and then ventured into the rain for my 4pm in downtown and my 6:30 in Barra. But since traffic was horrible, I was late but my student hadn't arrived yet so we had a shortened lesson. Then I got some Romeu and Julieta tapioca on my way back, which tasted like heaven because I was so hungry. There's a lady with a little stand at the subway station in Copacabana, and she cooks the tapioca in a pan and flips it like a pancake, and then adds cheese and guava paste. You can also get it with cheese, coconut shavings, coconut and chocolate, bananas and cinnamon, and chicken. Mmm.
Then I got home and Eli had made dinner. I also found out I have one new business student and one new private (handed over from the business school!) Delightful.
In other news, my mom sent me her book and it only took a week to get here! I read it on the bus today and was excited to read ...about myself. Among many other things.
So here is a shameless promotion of my mom's book:
It is called "Beyond the Mommy Years," and is about the empty nest syndrome, or rather, the myth of the empty nest syndrome, perfect for all boomer moms. For more information, please visit www.drcarin.com or just buy it right away at amazon.com
my brain is slushy from all the rain. I'm going to go help Eli practice English with my mom's book!
Also, my Youtube video should be working, since I tested it today.
Some random things before I forget. Last night I had a dream I was in my high school, but it was all renovated and looked like a museum, with marble busts in the stairwells. But then it caught on fire and I had to escape, except I was carrying lots of bags and sweaters and things and dropped most of them on my way out but wanted to go back in to get them. What...does it mean?
Oh, and I wanted to add this since Eliseu sent it to me today:
If someone deposited R$100 in a savings account on July 1, 1994, when the "real" came out (before, the currency was called the cruzeiro real), that person would have earned "the fantastic quantity" of R$374 in interest today in 2007. If the same person had taken out a loan of R$100 (in something called a Special Checking Account) on the same date, today that person would have a small debt of merely R$139,259 today in 2007. Hmm.