Location: California, United States

There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. (the five people you meet in heaven)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chegar no Brasil

I land in São Paolo, and I’m a little nervous. I know my Portuguese sucks, but I’ve been around the world. I can handle this. I am actually the first person off my empty flight, but as I try to figure out where I need to go through customs, etc., I let a Brazilian guy who was sitting not too far from me pass me so that I can follow him. When we get down to passport control, the official is asking, “Brasileros? Are you Brazilian?” I’m wearing black travel pants, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. I feel obviously American. He’s asking me if I’m Brazilian? Come on, you’ve got to be kidding me.

I am finally waiting for the next flight to Rio, standing in line to board when the couple behind me asks me a question. I turn around and look at them and say, “Não comprendo.” They look surprised and ask someone else.

I finally make it to Rio. I get my checked bag and head over to the taxi desk inside baggage claim. I ask in broken Portuguese about a taxi. The woman fires off and gives me the explanation. I follow for the most part. I pay for a roundtrip ride and head outside to find the taxi.

After loading my bag, I tell the driver my hotel name. He asks if it’s on such and such a street, and I see that it is on the reservation. After we get more into town, he notices that I have covered myself with my fleece because the air conditioning is so high. “Tem frio?” I speak with him a bit, and he asks me if I’m from Argentina. This is getting weirder and weirder.

In Europe, I feel that people always know that I’m not European even when I’m speaking the language. In Japan, it’s obvious. Yet, here I am, in Brazil, where I can barely speak a sentence, and at first glance everyone thinks I’m Brazilian.


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