Re-post (reply + post) to Ken's "10 reasons why I love Brazil".
Brazil. Such a short name for such a huge country and so much hidden behind it. Ken has been here ten times and I've lived here for 10 years. I thought it would be interesting to compare our impressions. 10 times, 10 years and 10 impressions or reasons to like it. Here I go:
1. The north east. That’s the place where I’ve lived in for nine years. It is very different from the other part of the country. I’ve heard, there were even plans to separate the north east from the rest of Brazil in the past.
Recife, as it was in Ken’s case, was the first place I stepped on, when I left the plane that took me from England to Brazil. It must have been the same flight Ken took, because even the time of arrival was similar, 2 am. It was a different year, of course. When I left the aircraft I wasn’t prepared for the heat that welcomed me. In Europe, we associate a night with cool weather and I was really surprised with the sensation of a sticky humid cotton candy surrounding everything late night. I had an impression I could get the air in my hands and make cotton balls out of it.
Things moving slowly here? Oh, yes. They really do. People in Bahia mastered the slow lifestyle to perfection. I think I’ll never get used to it.
Beautiful beaches on the coast? Definitely.
2. Brazilian Portuguese. There are so many different accents in Brazil, that it is impossible for a foreigner not to get lost in nuances of Portuguese language and impossible for a Brazilian to hide their origin. Thanks to this, people mistake me sometimes for a Brazilian from the south of the country. I live in the north east and the way I see it, Portuguese language here is sung, not spoken. It's beautiful, however unnerving, if you try to use it in TAP plane (Portuguese airlines). I'm not sure, if Portuguese flight attendants understood me, but I had a hard time to understand them.
4. Denise Stoklos. She comes from Paraná, which is one of the states in the south of Brazil, where Polish colony has its biggest concentration. I have the feeling she may be a Polish descendant. Her Polish name would be: Denize Stokłos.
6. Santos Dumont airport in Rio. I'm heading to Rio for the ABCI conference in July and I feel the urge to take the same photo Ken has placed in his blog. Awesome! Can you imagine to land on a small piece of ground surrounded by water from all three sides?
I had a friend in UK, June Darling, whose husband used to surround himself with various artists. June told me, there was a time, when Gilberto Gil had to leave Brazil because of political reasons. He fled to London, and was received with open arms by June's husband. I had no idea who he was, when I heard the story. I only learned about him, because I stayed over for the night, after a nice dinner June cooked. My friend put me up in the same room and the same bed, where Gilberto stayed some decades ago. It was also the first time I heard Caetano Veloso "London, London". Lovely song.
Talking about Brazilian famous drinks, I can't forget to mention coffee. Coffee here is what rocks the world. It's drunk in small cups (takes about 5 sips to “dry the cup”), various times a day. It's actually offered for free in almost all bigger shops and offices (at least in Teresina). As black as hell and as strong as devil. "Pretinho que satisfaz" :-)