A segunda vez…
That first trip to Brasil was beyond all all my greatest expectations. I’m surprised it took me two years to return, but with work and school, I managed to keep myself busy, even though all along, Brasil was in my head.
I constantly bumped the Bossa Nova CD’s I had bought at the mall in Rio as a reminder of my special times in a country where I felt I belonged. I had to come back.
This time, I wanted an even richer experience, and knew the only way to get it was to learn the language. By the way–that’s a whole ‘nother sidebar I can talk about for hours. They speak português in Brasil, not Spanish. And I think português is the most beautiful language in the world! I enjoy just listening to people converse in the language–simple talk can often sound like a song! And yes, some words are the same in Spanish, but are pronounced way differently. It is soooo sexy!!! Anyway, to my surprise (and crazy luck), the community college here in town offered a português 101 class. I signed up immediately, and I think that same day I bought my ticket back to Brasil.
The class was great. My teacher was from Rio, and what a character she was! In her late 40’s, she looked like she was still in her 20’s. She drove a motorcycle. In between lessons, we’d sing Brasilian songs. She absolutely hated when students would say a Spanish word in place of a português word by mistake. She was a tough teacher, and even my charm couldn’t break her! I ended up getting a B in the class, which seems fine, but wrecked my perfect 4.0 (sorry, I’m a perfectionist). It’s ironic that the one class in college that wasn’t required for my degree, took my GPA down! Oh well, it was way worth it.
Before I knew it, I was speaking português and was on my way back to Brasil. This time, to the biggest city in Brasil, and the world…São Paulo. I was to stay there for a couple of days and then travel to an island paradise called Fernando De Noronha–a tiny island off the coast of Brasil that is the definition of a “real island.” More on that in a bit.
São Paulo was cool. HUGE! I mean HUUUUUUUUGE! The one thing I’ll always remember about São Paulo, is looking out of the plane window as I was flying in. Normally, when you fly into any big city (New York, L.A., Chicago, etc.) you might see a patch of high-rise buildings as you pass over downtown. Over São Paulo, I was dumb-struck as there were high-rises as far as the eye could see. I mean, in every direction, they just kept going, all the way to the horizon. It was absolutely amazing!
I stayed at The Radisson for a few days, up high, with a great view of the city. I visited the malls, some great restaurants, and did a lot of walking. Actually being able to communicate now was an amazing experience, and although my vocabulary was limited, it was neat to know that I knew something. I would stop people on the street and ask directions to places, just to practice my português. “Você sabe onde fica um restaurante bom?” (Do you know where a good restaurant is?) I was a português-speaking fool!