Monday, October 29, 2012

Meu Destino - My Destiny

One of my favorite songs in Portuguese is actually by a group from Washington, D.C. You may have heard of them. Two DJs... Awesome sounds... They collaborate with artists from all over the world, resulting in songs with lyrics in varying languages...

Did I mention their mega awesomeness?

Thievery Corporation is the name. An ethereal beat (or 99) is the game. In this case, the vocals are provided by one Patrick dos Santos. Meu Destino [pronounced: "May-yo Des-chee-no"] is from their third album, The Richest Man in Babylon, which features several other personal favorites: Omid (Hope), Facing East, From Creation, and Exilio (Exile) - though I prefer the version from Babylon Rewound.

This video provides the lyrics in both Portuguese and English. Enjoy...





Saturday, October 27, 2012

Misdemeanin'

When learning Portuguese, you may be surprised to hear a few English words peppering conversations here and there. A handful of English words have entered Brazilian Portuguese. Most are Brazilianized forms of an English term, and are spelled according to Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation, such as "blogue" for "blog." However, there are other seemingly random English words that appear in everyday conversation that don't actually hold true to the original English meaning.


Depending on just how well you speak Portuguese and which English word it is, this could make for some major confusion. You see, there are some English terms or phrases that only halfway entered Brazilian Portuguese. These English words might be connected somehow through a word map, but then again, it could just be something that someone heard somewhere and brought back here, with a misunderstood or slightly different meaning.

Though some of these words may have started out as slang here, they are now full-fledged proper terms. As a foreigner trying to make the transition, you will need to learn the Brazilian Portuguese meaning of some originally English words.

Here are the top 5 English words that mostly made it into Brazilian Portuguese. They are pronounced the same as in English, unless otherwise noted.
  1. Shopping = We know this as a shopping mall or mall.

  2. Smoking = We know this as a tuxedo.

    I have four theories on that one. It is either derived from...
    • from the phrase "smoking hot"
    • someone heard someone else say, "You're smokin'!" and misunderstood it as, "Your Smoking[, Sir]."
    • or someone heard the phrase, "a smoking gun," and got a mental image of James Bond. Hence, um smoking turned into a tuxedo.

  3. Personal [pronounced: "pear-sown-all"] = We know this as a personal trainer or trainer.

  4. Outdoor [pronounced: "ouch-door"] = We know this as a billboard or a large panel for outdoor advertising.

  5. Face = This is what all the kids in Brazil are calling facebook, these days.

Not knowing the Brazilian Portuguese definition of these English terms can cause major confusion. Here is a conversation that took place between my husband and me when we first arrived.
Him: "I'm thinking of working with my brother in the outdoors."
Me: "Oh, really? What does he do?"
Him: "Outdoors."
Me: "...but what does he do outdoors?"
Him: (frustrated) "He works with the outdoors."
Me: (wondering where the miscommunication is) "Okay, but out... in the great outdoors... what does he do?"
Him: @#$%^&*!

...and now you know. Be sure to jot down these English words (and new meanings) inside the back cover of your English to Portuguese dictionary.

I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the Dicionário Didático (Guided Dictionary) by Edições SM. It has over 50,000 definitions that include the latest generation's slang terms, newly coined words, acronyms, and abbreviations. It truly gives you the best glimpse into modern Brazilian Portuguese.

They also have the Dicionário Didático Básico, which is a kids' edition. It has 7,000 words, more illustrations and pictures, and the definitions are explained simply & clearly. If you are just starting to learn Portuguese, it will be a great addition to your study materials.

Contact info for this book dealer is on the last page of the pdf for the Dicionário Didático & Dicionário Didático Básico. I was fortunate to find a location nearby, here in Goiânia. I only wish that I had run across these resources during the first few years! It would have made life so much easier. Then again, I'd have fewer ridiculous stories to tell...


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Somewhere Along the Grain

Something that literally threw me for a loop when I got here, was how the city is built in an ever-expanding circle. More than half of the main streets are one-way, which can really trip someone up if they aren't from around here. Due to the ever-winding one-way roads and very rare lights where you can make a left, it's not as simple as going "around the block" to get you where you need to go (say, if you just accidentally passed it up). It could take you at least four rights to get you back to Point A.

Although this was the direct cause of my tardiness for most of my appointments the first year, it also helped me to become familiar with my new city in record time. Several people that have lived here all their lives, tell me that I now know Goiânia better than they do!

Image found here.

To compound the issue of trying to find a place for the first time, the way directions given here are quite different than what I'm accustomed to back home. I am used to hearing things like,
"Go north on I-35, until you reach the 290 East exit. Take a right, and go down two lights. Take a left at the light. We are located in the shopping center on the northwest corner of the intersection."
If someone tells me to go "up the street," then I follow the ascending street numbers. I can find new places in a heartbeat. Even if there is someone on the line who may not be good with directions, they typically know which side of the road they are on (N,S,E,W) or in which corner you will find them (NW, SW, SE, NE) — or someone in the office will. That's just how we do things in Austin.

Here, there are a few different challenges to getting directions. One major factor is that not everyone drives, and a good portion of the population buses it to work so they don't really pay attention to the streets, or may only be familiar with the roundabout route that their particular bus takes.

Another issue is that some directions tend to work only if you are [already] somewhat familiar with the area in question. For example, when you hear someone tell you to go up or down the street, they are saying this literally. Physically. Topographically-speaking. If there's a hill, then you apply directions accordingly. Here, Jack & Jill went up the street.

Image found here.

I'll be honest. This confuses the heck out of me. Where I'm from hills have two (or more) easily distinguishable sides, not to mention that to me (with my obviously untrained eye), most streets in Goiania appear to be flat ...and even if there is an incline, it's never just one. Of the roads that are alleged hills here, they seem more wavy than hilly... no definite beginning or end ...or top ...or bottom.

But there was something else about the [disproportionate — as in verging on conspiracy theories] degree of difficulty in getting directions that I wasn't quite able to put my finger on, until it hit me the other night, while watching I, Robot. Dr. Lanning's hologram said perfectly in English, what various secretaries are relaying in Portuguese (more or less).

I'm not asking the right question. Their responses are limited.

I recently played 20 questions with a secretary at a major medical clinic downtown (that's where the really curved & looping one-way roads are found). I tried asking for directions using various landmarks until I found one that she was familiar with. She still didn't answer my question, but I was able to narrow it down to the correct part of town.

{insert maniacal laughter}

Silly tourist! You think a simple street name helps with that?

Due to being built in an ever-expanding circle, the city has several different groups of streets that are split by the main circle ...and pick up on the other side of town. It's funny how no one seems to mention that fact until you've made this discovery all on your own. You're welcome.

My best advice is to buy a map to carry with you, study Google maps at home, and leave about 45 minutes early, until you feel comfortable enough within the maze known as Goiânia. On the upside, it's a good lookin' city, so the view isn't bad no matter where you end up.

Alice in Wonderland Maze by Srulink | source


Happy trails!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wacky Haiku Wednesday IV

Today is a special occasion!
 
'Tis a holiday in Goiânia, and all over the city...
 ...everyone is resting. No one is busy.
 
Now you see why I stick to haiku.
 
I guess I'm giving you a twofer today: one really bad line of poetry and one pretty bad wacky haiku.
 
The city hasn't been this quiet in quite awhile. For those who live in Goiânia, and work in nearby towns, their only comfort is that each town will soon have its own birthday, er, holiday. That's right. Cities have birthdays here, and Goiânia is officially 79 years old.
 
I got to thinking that they should really implement city birthdays back home. Americans could certainly use an additional day off. Austin's birthday would be December 27th. It would guarantee an extra long Christmas holiday weekend for us Austinites. Of course, places like New York that don't have a definitive date, but more of a general year (or period of years), might have to just vote on a day that seems good to New Yorkers.
 
To honor this day appropriately, I composed a birthday haiku for the pretty city. Hold on to your party hats.


Image found here.


 
Here in Goiânia
é um feriado, viu?
Happy Birthday, G!

 
 
Goiânia is pronounced "Goy-ahn-nyuh."
 
 
É um feriado, viu? = It's a holiday, see?
 
  • é [pronounced: "eh"] means it's.

  • um [pronounced: "oom" as in zoom] means a.

  • feriado [pronounced: "feh-rdee-ah-doh"] means holiday.

  • viu [pronounced: similar to view (one syllable), but "vee-oo"] means see (got it / understand, etc.).


É is a form of the verb "ser" which means "to be," and is used for permanent conditions or characteristics. "Estar" also means "to be," but is used for transitory or passing states of things (nonpermanent characteristics).

See a quick explanation & chart here.

For example:

Eu sou uma mulher. Ele é um homem. Nós somos pessoas.
I am a woman. He is a man. We are people.

Those are permanent facts. Right?


Eu estou com fome. Ela está com sede. Nós estamos felizes.
I am hungry. She is thirsty. We are happy.

These things can change from moment to moment.


More on the pronunciations for these sentences later... Right now, I need to congratulate someone on looking so good for "her" age.


Parabéns, Goiânia!

 
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some Things Don't Translate

...in this case I'm referring to good prices, and a certain slogan that assures me I can have things my way. Perhaps that is old school. Have things changed that much in six years? Then again, it could just be good ol' fashioned highway robbery. You be the judge.

Living in a place where you are hard-pressed to find home flavors can drive people to certain lengths (as I alluded to in my previous post). In my case, it drives me to occasionally eating fast food — fast food that is considered chic in a place where it isn't all that common. This can come with a hefty price tag, depending on where you go. On those days where I'd give a portion of my left pinky to taste something reminiscent of home, I think it's worth it.

On those days where I see a blatant disregard for the fact that the minimum monthly wage here is R$600, and someone is trying to charge people R$8.50 for less than (when you factor in ice — I measured it) a 10 oz cup of watered down soda [when you can by a 2.5 liter of coke for R$5-6 at any convenience store] ...I get peeved.

At first, I attributed it to some foreign company that doesn't have a clue about the cost of living here. ...but that can't be right, can it? Of course, how could anyone living here also live with their conscience, if they know that this is grossly overcharging people for a drink [thereby excluding a large portion of the population]? I know I couldn't do it.

All I know is that THIS is not right:



What's wrong with this picture? (Other than the gum that I wadded into this receipt out of disgust before deciding to rant online about it. Sorry about that!)


Please right-click and open in a new window to enlarge.


So if it was that expensive... why did I pay for it, and not stop by a convenience store?

Three reasons:
  1. I mistakenly heard a different total (trusty drive-thru intercoms), otherwise I would have amended it before I rounded the building, where my drink was already sticking out of the window. You see, they weren't finished making my burger, and I didn't want any extra "secret" ingredient.

  2. Unlike my hometown, convenience stores aren't all that easy to find, and with all of the one way streets in this town, it is actually anything but convenient. I thought about calling them not-quite-convenience stores, but that has a somewhat negative ring to it.

  3. I was starving, thirsty, and exhausted enough to not want to walk any extra step that I absosmurfly did not have to.
Although flagrant price gouging could be the norm for the other international fast food chains that are starting to pop up here, the prices are typically much, much less. I'm assuming that's because they want to achieve some measure of succe$$ with the population as a whole.

This is by far the worst case I've seen, yet. Other competitors such as McDonald's and Subway charge less than half of what was charged here (for the same size drink) making it a more affordable option for the masses.

I hope that the powers that be somewhere see this, and reign in their overcharging minions. I suspect they will see an increase in revenue, as more of the everyday people will be able to afford it.

I also suspect that they will need to invest in marketing that informs people that the idea of having a meal here is now more realistic for the average João.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Desperately Seeking...

Living in a place (far from home) where you don't get much of the food you were raised on can be trying, at times. It can be an added stressor, if you are going through a "missing home" phase.

There are three main challenges to finding particular foods or spices. Some can be overcome with time, and some you may just have to work around. (Get creative: think bribery, extreme lengths, etc. Okay. I'm kidding! Kinda...)

The main challenge is availability. Depending on just how far you are from an international hub or port, you might be delightfully surprised with a treasured find, or begin to feel a bit like Coronado in his fruitless search for the Seven Cities of Gold.

I don't remember exactly when I stopped counting how many stores I'd perused in search of chili powder, but I did... It just became a habit of checking the spice aisle, no matter why I was there, or how quick a shopping trip it was supposed to be. I was on chili-powder-seeking-autopilot.

About a year later, it paid off.



Image found here.


The second challenge is the language barrier. This is key, since some spices or foods may sound deceptively similar in two different languages, when they aren't at all. Manjericão [pronounced: "mahn-zheh-rdee-cone"] sounds like a shoo–in for marjoram, not to mention I never even saw manjerona [pronounced: "mahn-zheh-rdoh-nuh"] as it is much harder to find.


...but manjericão is actually basil! I went months without having any basil at home, because I had used it up and "couldn't find any." It was only later that I found out that I had passed on it a hundred times (not knowing it was basil) because I still had marjoram at home. Doh!

Then again, orégano is a direct translation. I love it when that happens!

Image found here.


The remaining challenge in finding flavors from home depends not only on where you are, but the scruples of the people from whom you are buying. Some opportunistic people see an accent as a sort of added tax on your purchase. It may or may not happen to you, but be aware that you run the risk of being ripped off until you get your sea legs and figure out how to barter (or inform them that you aren't a tourist, but a neighbor).


"Eu não sou uma turista, viu?! Eu moro aqui."
I'm not a tourist, got it [see]?! I live here.


...and sometimes, in our search for fabled golden whatevers, we encounter things that are way more cool than things we've previously known.

...and although it may take years or maybe never even happen that we reach our original goal, the unexpected pleasant surprises along the way take the sting out what is "missing," and we learn to not only "live with it," but revel in the bountiful blessings of our new reality.

Yes. I'm still talking food, but apply it as you see fit.


I'm specifically referring to the amazing, out of this world (but not really, since they are the norm in Brazil), delicious giant avocados that regularly rock my world these days.

The typical avocado that is available at any grocery store or farmers' market here in Brazil is about 3-5 times bigger than the Hass avocados that I was accustomed to eating back home. Some local farmers' markets have access to even bigger breeds, and being an avocado lover, I'm on cloud nine.

Sure, I miss Dr Pepper, Big Red gum, jicama, fresh jalapeños, and coffee creamer... but if I left now, I would go crazy missing the humongous avocados that are now a [huge] part of my cuisine.

Here are a few photos of some avocados that my husband brought home from work one day. They were from a tree on a nearby lot. These are the biggest I've seen, yet. I staged them with a few common items for comparison. Sorry for the quality! I still haven't had access to my backed up photos. I grabbed these from my [presently retired] personal blog.



Different angles with a standard measuring tape...


To enlarge pics, right-click and open in a new window.


I know, right!?



I'd wager that these things are so big, that I can list eating them as a legitimate hobby. One thing I haven't seen is an avocado eating contest, but I would love to represent. I'll have to look into that.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Olha Pamonha


This is one of my favorite commercials here. Cracks me up every time. It's for a headache medicine called Neosaldina [pronounced: "nay-yo-sahl-jeen-yuh"], and showcases a colorful pamonha [pronounced: "puh-moin-yuh"] vendor.




The lady buying "Neosa" doesn't quite appreciate Paulo Pamonha's flair (hence the headache medicine), but I love it. I wish our local neighborhood vendors with massive speakers on their vehicles had this much rhythm. I also wish they didn't come by at 8 a.m. on Saturdays.

The most common phrase heard booming from a pamonha vendor's speakers is, "Olha pamonha!" on a loop, as they slo-o-o-owly make their way up & down the streets. Olha [pronounced: "ol'-yuh"] means look.

Look! Pamonha!

Pamonha is a bigger, fatter, more moist version of Texas tamalesPamonha is either salty, spicy, or sweet,  and can be filled with cheese, sausage, or both. I personally like the sweet version sans filling.

Just so ya know, saying "olha pamonha" around these parts can be rude [when there's no pamonha in sight]. Pamonha is also a derogatory slang term for a person that has cinched their belt a bit too tight, and implies that it is because they are overweight. See the instructional video below at 0:48 for a glimpse of some bulging pamonha.




There's also a variation on pamonha called pamonha assado that something akin to cornbread. The flavor can vary, depending on the chef & recipe. Assado [pronounced: "ah-sah-doh"] means "baked." Here is a how-to video with a homemade recipe for pamonha assado.

Still can't get Paulo's catchy tune out of your head? Here's a clip of the song. You're welcome.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brazilian Slang - Show

Based on the title, you might be wondering what the Brazilian Portuguese slang term for "show" is... or which of the many definitions of the English word "show" I am referring to.

The closest would probably be "show" as listed in the Free Dictionary's Thesaurus by Farlex:
show - the act of publicly exhibiting or entertaining;
"a remarkable show of skill"
...which is what, exactly?

Cool!

Therein lies the slang. The English word "show" made its way into Brazilian Portuguese slang via the sports arena. The term started out as "show de bola" [pronounced: "show jee boh-luh"] which meant "excellent showmanship in soccer."

The word bola means ball. It is understood that in this phrase bola is referring to soccer. Similarly, the old school American English slang term "ballin" originally meant "playing basketball [well]" (and eventually turned into "living the high life").

"Show de bola" means "a display of mad skills that takes the game to a whole new level" — the player not only has skills, but turns a play or move into an art form. To sum it up in another American English slang term: the player has game.

Like this guy:



Personally, I automatically associate a remarkable show of skill in a sport with Michael Jordan. He is, in my opinion, the most beautiful athlete ever. Watching him play was a breathtaking experience. I'm serious. I sometimes forgot to breathe when I was watching a game. He always brought it. So, if it helps, when you hear "show" or "show de bola" in Brazilian Portuguese, just think Jordan.

...who was?

Awesome!
Image found here.
Of course, "show de bola" is a term that originated in soccer — Brazilian soccer. When I hear "show de bola" I think of some of the most skilled players & beautiful moves that I've seen over the years. Naturally, there have been others (the most famous is Pelé) but my personal favorites in the past decade are Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Robinho (I call him "fancy feet"), Júlio César, Neymar, Luís Fabiano, and Marcelo.

...who are all?

Sensational!

Amazing!

Like any slang worth its salt, "show de bola" was shortened to the core word: "show." "Show" now means cool, awesome, sensational, da bomb, etc. in Brazilian Portuguese.

Other Brazilian Portuguese slang synonyms for "show" are:
  • legal [pronounced: "leh-gahl"]
    This is the most commonly translated term for "cool."

  • fera [pronounced: "feh-rduh"]
    I would say this is the equivalent of "neat."

  • massa [pronounced: "mah-suh"]
    ...or in American English slang: "awesome."

  • maneiro(a) [pronounced: "mah-nay-rdoh (rduh)"]
    To my sister's chagrin, I will have to go with "rad" (though unlike "rad" it is the opposite of outdated).

  • sinistro [pronounced: "seen-ee-s-throw"]
    This is the Brazilian Portuguese twin of "wicked" (2nd Def.) or the current young American generation's version of "sick."

  • bacana [pronounced: "bah-cah-nuh"]
    The American English counterpart is "sweet."

But let's be clear on one thing: it isn't cool to say cool in Brazil. Why? Because there is a profane term that sounds just like cool, without the "l," and you might not even get that far without somebody taking offense. So cool it with the American English slang while you're here. This will ensure your trip to Brazil is all the more bacana, or as I like to say, "suh-weet."

Image found here.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wacky Haiku Wednesday III


Let's keep going with our adventures in code-switching!
 
Any idea what a cross between Portuguese & English is called?  Portuglish?  Engliguese?

Either way, we are sailing right along.
 
Destination: Port Eng
 
 
Image found here.
 
 By the way, for those of you who are averse to puns, feel free to penalize me with a noogie per pun, in case we meet in person one day. ;) There. Now I'm guilt free.

Weigh anchor, shipmates. We're off!


Que divertido!
(...a fun, but renegade path,
eu concordo.)

 

"Que divertido!"  =  "What fun!" ... or   "How fun!"
  • Que [pronounced: "key"] means what.
  • divertido [pronounced: "jee-vehr-chee-doh"] means fun.

"Eu concordo." = "I agree."
  • Eu [pronounced: "ay-yo"] means I.
  • concordo [pronounced: "cone/cohn-core-doh"] means agree.
 
I hope ye enjoyed this trip on th' high seas o' fun, tho we did come a wee close t' crackin' up on th' shores o' insanity. `Tis all in good fun, tho, an' I wager that we be sailin' straight enough t' eliminate any learnin' curve.
 
Can you tell I missed out on International Talk Like a Pirate Day this year? Ye nay be sure ye signed up fer this, arrrr ye? Don`t ye worry. Me inner searfarin' hearty only surfaces but a few times a voyage. [That'd be a year for you landlubbers.]
 
 Until the next one, mateys...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Five Facts for Foreigners - Vol. X


In this installment of 5 Facts for Foreigners I'm taking aim at Americans. Why? Because I am one! I'm going to spill it on the major differences in daily drinks. Of course, what might be the norm for me in Central Texas may not be all that similar to the status quo in Maine, Washington, Florida, Minnesota, or California.

...or the Panhandle. (You get the idea.)

Still, these are the main differences that not only I have noticed, but other U.S. expats, as well.

Bottoms up!
  1. Milk, as we know it in the states, is a hard thing to find. What is available at the supermarket is equivalent to a version of powdered milk that has already been liquefied. It is sold in cartons (available by the boxed dozen) that do not need to be refrigerated until opened. Boxed milk was developed to accommodate the lack of refrigeration in places that do not have electricity, and for the typically much smaller refrigerators, where a 1 liter box of milk will fit more easily than that of, say, a gallon (4 liters). We'd be naïve to assume this doesn't involve preservatives and/or artificial additives of some kind.

    For the record, the year I arrived there were a number of cases involving several companies, where consumers were sickened due to the ingredients. Apparently, someone got creative in trying to cut costs... and thought they'd spike the milk with bleach and peroxide, among other toxic ingredients. People were prosecuted, and boxed milk went back to being only mostly unnatural.

    Image found here.

    If the idea or taste of boxed milk isn't appealing, then you might try to find fresh milk (actual cow's milk)... at your own risk. You can find it at some of the local farmers' markets, or you might hear a vehicle roll past, booming, "o leite" (pronounced: "oh lay-ch") or "the milk." Depending on the source and scruples of the vendor, it might seem heavenly... or a few hours later, you could find yourself in the ER. I've seen it both ways—about once a year.

  2. You will find most noncarbonated 1 liter drinks (such as juice or coconut water) in these easily storable cartons, with the exception of water. While these boxed drinks are great for saving space in the fridge, they are the go-to snag at social functions, as they tend to spill all over the place (no matter how many years you've been at it). It's not just me!


    Image found here.

    Avoid obvious pitfalls like offering to pour some grape juice for your friend's great aunt, who is dressed in her Sunday best. Trust me on that one. I've developed an almost fool-proof pouring method, but it's taken lots of practice in the comfort of my own kitchen. Remind me to make a How To vid to help the newbies.

  3. There's a popular and innovative way to drink OJ that is like a natural version of the little juice boxes that the kids drink back home. Every time I've peeled an orange, and eaten it slice by slice, I've noticed that people were watching me intently. It's because here, they stick it in a peeler (or use a knife as shown in this video), peel it down to the white part of the rind (called the albedo), and then cut off the top. It is then used as a cross between a stress ball, and a juice box: squeeze & slurp, squeeze & slurp. The remaining hollow of the orange is usually tossed.


    To enlarge, right-click & open in a new window.

  4. Coffee is served black, syrupy sweet, and is so strong that it is served as a shot. If you were used to drinking large cups of Starbucks coffee (4 sugars, 5 creamers) back home, like I was, this amounts to nothing short of cruel & unusual punishment. I usually just pass on the coffee, since it is not customary to add milk; but if I'm at the home of a close friend then I might ask to add a bit to make it drinkable.
    Image found here.

    However... the business, doctors', and government offices that you may find yourself in will be bereft of milk or cream. Almost everywhere you go, the complimentary stuff will be there... mocking you. Freshly brewed coffee smells great even to those who don't partake, but for those of us used to coffee creamer, this can be torture. With nothing creamy to cut it with, you will need to learn how to steel yourself against the constant assault on your senses. (You should be good to go in about 6 months.)  When all is said & done, run back to your place, put on a pot, and pass the milk. Stat!

  5. Drinking directly out of a can or bottle is a no-no. (You heathen!) If you are at a snack bar, you will be offered a small plastic *cup or a **straw, or two, with your purchase of a canned or bottled beverage. This custom originated because cans are typically dirty, direct from the factory, and it isn't a good idea to willingly ingest germs. Of course, these days bottles have screw-on tops, and some beer companies now come with additional litter a nifty removable foil seal,  so... feel free to break protocol, but know that people might think you're a little different.


Awesome, right? Find them here.

  • Most cups are a standard 5oz (150ml) size. The bigger 250ml (8oz) is known as the "Americano" size, although in Central Texas we are actually used to [at least] 32oz (946ml) drinks.* They do say everything's bigger in Texas...
  • Please note that straws are generally 1/4 — 1/5 the size of our straws back home.**

Hope that wasn't too hard to swallow. Welcome to the deep end...

Cheers!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Go See the Onça Pintada

It's been too long! I return bearing gifts.  They are secondhand, but I believe you will enjoy them, just the same.
 
I have to share some of the best photos of the onça pintada (pronounced: "own-suh  peen-tah-duh"), or jaguar, that I have seen, yet, in the almost six years that I have lived here. There are several national news crews that have gone on special assignment, that never quite succeeded in capturing more than a glimpse of these majestic creatures.
 
Photographer, Dev Wijewardane, has just returned from a trip to Pantanal with amazing photos of this regal beast. Visit his site to see rare shots of the onça pintada hunting capivara in Pantanal.