Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sports: by Ellen

I went to a mall yesterday. As I grow older, I dislike malls more and more- especially busy, bustly, big malls.
This mall was packed. I like people, but when people (especially women!) are shopping at sales and moving in packs- they loose a bit of being a person and become a crowd. Crowds give nasty glares when someone else grabs they shirt they wanted. Crowds tackle others to get at the item they want. Crowds move quickly, not caring who they run over or who they knock into.
I like people, detest mall crowds.
Sport 1- shopping. Because it has tactics, utilizes skills such as speed, agility and strength (and a bit of bitchiness- is that a skill?).

Sport 2- ice skating. Now, before you argue whether ice skating is a sport or not, hear me out. Remember- this is Brasil, so ice is foreign. Everyone looked decked-out for extreme sports: Helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and even padded gloves! Now envision all of this, on ice with everyone dressed in shorts, short skirts, and some even wearing bikinis underneath! There was alot of falling (a few panty shows, because why they wore skirts is beyond me) and even small snow-man walkers for very young children! Maybe not a sport, but entertainment, certainly.

Sport 3- Bowling. This is a new activity in Brasil, and apparently a big deal. I didn't play, just watched. They were appalled that I don't enjoy bowling because its so new and fashionable there. Most bowling alleys I have been to are grungy; a broken pool table or two, a smoky bar, lots of jeans and a juke box. Here, I felt as if I had stepped into the futuristic Jetson's version of a bowling alley. It was well-lit, played popular American music, clean floors, full menus with expensive food, and a fancy bar with waiters dressed in matching uniform and smart, black aprons ready to serve. Not to mention that one took a number to wait for their bowling lane to open up.
Women wore dresses and high-heels (before changing into bowling shoes, of course). I had never before seen anyone wear a dress to a bowling alley.
The classic stereotype of a valley-girl "Oh! I broke a nail!" MUST have been established in Brasil. A girl in another lane broke a nail while bowling and immediately began filing it, with her friends huddled around for support (which was not the only reference to a broken nail that I saw or heard that night) Hence, why I could never live here and why Jenna loves it.

Sport 4- 'Table Grabbing'. The food court was packed full of people. So the group scattered throughout the area, eyeing tables that looked about to finish eating. I paused to look around and saw that plenty other people were doing the same as us; hovering around a table, reading to pounce on it once they left. Some were even just sitting with strangers who had an extra seat beside them, waiting for them to leave. Everyone tried to look preoccupied, but I don't know why- it was obvious what they were doing. I can just imagine two people eyeing the same table, glaring at one another, making those 'angry bull' faces and nostril flares to intimidate.
I successfully grabbed a table- sort of. The couple just kind of gave it to me, invited me to sit down. I felt cheated of grabbing it because it was given.

I also learned the importance of correct translation- giving something that is supposed to be used in the bathtub is VERY different from being given something that was found in a public bathroom.

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