Wednesday, May 17, 2006

An Amazing Stamina

The couple upstairs has a stamina that amazes me. Maybe I'm just naive. I'm certainly inexperienced.

I have never fought with a girlfriend. It's not really in my personality. In Brazil girlfriends have tried to provoke me, and when I won't take the bait, they call me cold. So I break up with them. If a girlfriend causes or imagines problems so bad that we can't resolve them calmly and rationally, well, it just wasn't meant to be, was it?

But the couple upstairs, well, they asonish me. I got home from a pelada about two hours ago, and they were fighting when I arrived. And they're still fighting now. Where do they find the energy? Shouting is hard work. It's only the woman who yells, I don't know what the man does. She yells -- he's useless, a bum, and so on. And then it gets quiet. And then, fifteen minutes later, there comes the sound of something heavy hitting the floor, and more yelling. (Once, months ago, there was the sound of pots and pans being thrown. That was the one time I have seen the police involved. One of the other neighbors called them.) And then they get quiet, I hear nothing, I think it's over. But it isn't over. Even if they stop yelling for the night, they'll be back at it before the week is over. Where do they find the energy?

Go Barça!

I don't know if anybody reading this cares. I just wanted to show my support.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's Raining in Recife

That's not newsworthy, I know. But Recife (and Olinda and Jaboatão) have a strange reaction to rain. Nobody goes out. At all.

I have gotten used to it, but I don't understand it and I don't like it. If it rains on a Friday night, everybody I know stays home. For some reason, rain outside is a reason not to go to a club, where you stay inside. Rain is a reason not to go to a nice bar with a functional ceiling that keeps the tables and chairs nice and dry. And if it rains the next night as well, then nobody in Recife goes out all weekend.

One of my students (who is from Rio, and thus has no fear of rain) told me that his wife teaches yoga classes, and that only very rarely do any students show up for class when it's raining. How strange is that? These people have already paid for the class, and when it rains they decide that they don't need to get their money's worth. The same thing happens with organized pick-up soccer games (peladas), but those are outside. The yoga class is, again, in a building with functional walls, windows, and ceiling.

It took me a long time to get used to this peculiarity. Should I make plans for almost anything at all, they will fall through if the weather does not cooperate. An ex-girlfriend knew someone who married a Russian woman from near Chernobyl, and she and her friends told stories about this Russian woman's fear of rain. According to the stories, she trusted no umbrella to protect her, and panicked if even one drop touched her. Well, living near Chernobyl probably changes your attitude toward a lot of things. What excuse do the Pernambucanos have?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Recife é Rubro-Negro II

Blogger is not cooperating with me. I have many, many more photos, and Blogger wouldn't let me post them in the previous entry. So, here you go:

I took over forty photos, and these guys and the woman in the post below were the only ones who noticed my camera.

There's this thing about Pernambuco and giant puppets. I can't explain it.

And finally...

To be honest, she looks much better out of focus than she looked in focus...

Recife é Rubro-Negro!

(Recife is red and black!)

Saturday was the official celebration of Sport's championship. The party was delayed because May 13 is the date that Sport was founded, back in 1905.

I left my apartment at around noon, before lunch -- and I didn't eat breakfast, a fact that later became important. I got to the Avenida Boa Viagem (the road that runs along the beach) just as the beginning of the carreata (parade) passed. I ran back to my apartment to get my camera, and resolved to stay until the end.

For ninety minutes, cars, flatbed trucks, and the occasional trio-elétrico paraded down the beach celebrating Sport's 35th title.

A trio-elétrico

The parade just didn't end. Every time there was a pause in the procession, filled with irritated motorists (this is Brazil -- you thought traffic would be re-routed because of the parade?), a minute later it picked up again.

A carioca (someone from Rio de Janeiro) asked me, "All this is because Sport won the championship?"

I told him, "Yes. The whole city stops when Sport wins."

He said, "This is great. In Rio there would be so much confusion and crime if they did this."

The taxi drivers were celebrating.

After a while I got hungry. And by hungry, I mean, wondering how much longer I was going to be able to stay on my feet hungry. Worried about passing out on the sidewalk hungry. (And had I passed out on the sidewalk, I would surely have awakened without my camera or cell phone.) So hungry that I just wanted the party to end. And the party refused to do so. I kept taking pictures and hoping that each truck would be the last.

Eventually, and only after a long, long time, the last truck went past, the last car honked and waved a flag, and traffic returned to normal. And your humble blogservant took off for a restaurant where he could eat some pig innards in peace, safe in the knowledge that he had recorded the second-biggest party of the year. (The biggest will come in December when Sport has secured promotion to the Serie A. Watch this space.)

Friday, May 12, 2006


I got sick last week, and it provided my lazy ass with the lame excuse that I needed to sit around without posting anything. The worst part of getting sick was that I missed the only Sport game in Recife for a while. It had been a week or two, and it will be another two weeks, I think, until the home game. I miss the state championship -- there was always a game I could go to.

In the last two weeks the São João spirit has come to Recife, and the pirate cd vendors no longer blast crappy torch songs (accompanied by a $100 Casio keyboard), but play forró at full volume. This is a marked improvement.

Updates to follow.