More Seen, More Learned
Today I started walking early in the morning and ended at 2PM after a great lunch. Certainly until my cast is off, I will not be able to walk as much as I did today. I overdid it and I'm expecting awful problems to start to occur tomorrow with my arm. Generally walking and a cast do not mix. I will have no problem covering more territory by metro in the coming month though. It has now come to my attention that I am in way over my head as far as Portuguese goes. Every time I have attempted to listen or to speak it has been a train wreck. If someone with an automatic weapon were to shout an order or a question at me, I would be toast. Luckily those sort of people have no questions or orders for me.
Since I have now learned that Portuguese is more difficult than I thought, I am putting mouseover text which should translate a few interesting things for you. Look for italic green text like this and put your mouse over it for a few seconds. If you think of a better way to display this, let me know.
I walked to the massive church, São Paulo Cathedral by accident which has a wonderful park in front. I used my phone's GPS to navigate from place to place so most of my lines are only a little bit more crooked than they should be (a sign of a smart tourist and a good GPS). I took photos of every place that I liked, mostly architecture, parks, and statues. I finished at a wonderful market in Jardim Paulista. Since my experience was so delightful I plan to go stay for 4 days at the hostel there. There are multiple hostels near Paulista Ave for some reason and I'm sure I'll find out. I certainly can give 5 stars to Hostelling International São Paulo Downtown. The people are friendly, speak English, and the area is perfect (Republica).
Lunch was especially difficult today. I decided to eat at one of the many comercial that serves lunch and dinner. I was not able to understand or communicate what the person said who said something when I walked in, so I stood there looking stupid for a moment while I gathered my phrases. Yup, I'm that bad. He said "você fala" which I was able to understand only partially. I replied, "Eu Fala" but did not finish my sentence. The correct way to finish would be "Eu Fala pouco Português". I knew it but I couldn't speak it. It reminds me very much of one of my favorite movies, Rocket Science where the main character is chanting loudly in his mind "The plans are not mutually exclusive" while he could not say a word. After a moment I simply sat down since I didn't know how to say anything useful. A woman came up and asked something I didn't understand. "Eu não fala..." I attempt to say but fail. She speaks slowly and little. That helped quite a bit. She thought that I had ordered so she brought me the wrong meal at which point the first guy told her. She then wondered what I was doing and gave me a menu. I don't understand anything on the area she points out as the correct section. Contra Parameganio. Bauru. Pernil. If I had a Google translator right there I would still be stumped. Contra means against and that has nothing to do with food. The only thing I know that uses parmesan is eggplant parmesan. I love eggplant parmesan but I was pretty sure that was not going to appear if I order Contra Parameganio. Finally I decide to use the simplify path. If someone speaks your language simplifying each concept there is a much more likeliness of success than if someone tries to speak their language or if they try to understand words that they have no clue what mean. Honestly it worked perfectly. What I said was "veduras, arroz, fritas" and her response was "Arroz, carne ou peixi?" Oh no, no carne... "Sem carne, sem peixi," I reply (I'm vegetarian if you didn't know already). It would definitely be easy to order if I didn't have a strict diet. My diet may change but at this point I cannot convince my brain (if I wanted to) to eat meat, so it isn't worth the reduced annoyance of the very patient waitress. One day it's possible that someone will try to throw me out for being such a pain but I am attempting to learn Portuguese quicker than their patience runs out. I of course can order Salada e arroz e fritas apenas por favor." if it gets to that point. When the salad and rice appeared I was very happy. You know how good food tastes when you haven't eaten much? This was the Brazilian version of that. I took my time with the salad and the waitress saw my cast and decided to cut my salad for me. That's right, salads come half-prepared. They actually have cut the lettuce and sliced the tomatoes and onions but into large pieces. There was so much rice that I honestly couldn't finish after 30 minutes. Very tasty.
Tonight I decided to skip dinner. For what? For no reason. Okay to be honest I'm afraid of going to get dinner after the debacle with lunch. Some fear for their life in Brasil, some fear disease, some fear the fate of the poor. I fear annoying a poor waitress for dinner. Tomorrow will not be so. I may certainly change my other fears as well but there's only one good reason to change one's opinion: facts.
I was able to get work done on a project tonight. It was fun and yet I ended by finding out that my original plan was flawed and that I needed to tweak it, delete 200GB of data, and run again. No problem. Nope, I'm not going to worry about having to run it again. What is the cost of 200 computer hours when my servers have to be online 24-7? It costs my provider pennies in electricity.
I'm still up writing at 2:30am and what sounded like a bomb just went off somewhere to the south I think. It could have been a festive explosion, a car malfunction, or a bomb. Who knows? I certainly can't see any smoke rising in the south. From how loud it was, I should be able to see it or the police gathering. Nope, I guess this is a case of nothing to do.