One of my favorite things to do is casually mention to Brazilians that I live alone...and I don't have a television.
Their reactions are priceless.
I couldn't confuse them more if I told them that I didn't believe in taking showers in the summer or in bikinis or kissing before marriage...all of which they also think are absurd and inhumane. (Sidenote: One Land's End overly-modest one piece swimsuit + any Brazilian = snorting laughter and looks of absolute fear that you might actually try to wear that thing to the beach...)
Television IS the national pastime. Forget soccer. I called Erica the other day at 3:30 pm and said, 'Hey, come over, it's hot, my house is cooler, we'll chat..." She's always up for hanging out. But not, apparently, when any one of the said novellas is on..."Um...how about in 30 minutes???" I already knew not to bother anyone between 8 and 10, which would be, on any given night, Alma Gêmea, Belíssima, BigBrotherBrasil, or that silly one set in the Wild Wild West...but three o'clock in the afternoon? This is ridiculous.
What's worse is that grown adults watch cartoons. Or as they say here,"pior ainda," worse yet, the partially animated fake Power Rangers shows...Rich swears he saw half the restaurant watching it the other day. Businessmen out for a power lunch, glued to the Power Rangers punching out cardboard villians in pastel spandex. What is the world coming to?
I spent a half hour the other night listening to women tell stories about naked crazy women who walk around Bonsucesso. How they're afraid to give them clothes because everyone knows that crazy people are strong and can you imagine trying to fight off a naked one...and besides, they're too busy trying to distract their children from staring...and no one can explain, exactly, why no one in authority is taking care of the poor woman wandering aimlessly through the city without any clothes on...apparently it's an epidemic in the Zona Norte...
We've been having food issues. I'm the smallest dress size I think I've ever been in my adult life, mostly due to heat, lots of water, and an invisible appetite. That, and the myriad things I am not permitted to eat when I visit my friends. I can't tell you how many minor "brigas" Junior and I have had over what I choose to eat. Coffee with milk in the morning? That can make you sick. Guacamole? Disgusting. Mangos? Heavy. Bad to eat at night. But pizza and Coke? That's good anytime. And 2 liters of guaraná for breakfast? Do-able. Black pepper? Bad for you. Hot peppers? Dangerous. Ice cream after a day at the beach? Could cause some sort of attack, from being so cold while the body is so hot. Stroke, even. Crab, fish, anything tasty? I shouldn't eat that...my American stomach can't handle it. When you're sick, you shouldn't eat ramen noodles. Or eggs. Pretty much anything I try to prepare is considered "heavy," and bad for this climate, while a meal of rice, beans, and spaghetti with so little sauce it's almost dry, that's light. Normal. And you'd better eat a plate smashed so full it spills over the edges...
For all the Adkins' followers out there, I have to say that there are a lot of lithe bodies out here...and all they eat are carbs!