Friday, December 17, 2010

Snapshots from the week

Last weekend, we went out with some friends to Lapa 40 Graus, a dance club/pool hall. The band upstairs was really good, with some female leads who managed to sing everything from 70's disco, Guns N Roses and Brazilian classics with a powerful stage presence AND good diction! It was a little bizarre to see the whole dance floor doing choreographed moves like something out of a Bollywood movie. As if we weren't out of place enough...here we are, 5 foreigners swaying back and forth while the rest of the room moves through the paces of an unknown dance, hopping, sidestepping and having a riotously good time. Wish I'd pulled out a camera for a video...

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We have new neighbors (Mr & Mrs PH) across the hall, and, wonder of wonders, they're expats too! And in an even odder set of coincidences, while I am talking to Mrs. PH in the hall, she says,

"Oh wait...are you the Jenna from the blog jennainrio? I read that before we moved here..."

Now, that is a first. Meeting a total stranger who is also an occasional blog reader? Cool. Good to have you as my neighbor, Neighbor!

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Everyone seems to be having trouble making appointments at CDPI, a medical exam center in Leblon and Barra. This week I spent over 2 hours trying to make an appointment, what with the phone calling and then the full hour wait at the clinic just to put my name next to a time slot. Mrs. PH's Portuguese teacher made the call for her the other day and was hung up on repeatedly, as in more than 3 or 4 times. Why? Because she was trying to make an appointment and they didn't feel like working? Because she doesn't have a landline? (Do people really prank call exam centers???) I'd love to know who owns CDPI, because surely, they care that their staff make it a habit to hang up on potential clients? I'm thinking about investing in a punching bag for the local community. We can pass it around when someone has had a stressful day of waiting...

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Tall, thin beggar in an old-fashioned wheelchair at the corner of one of the Generals, sits cross-legged, elegant and languid while smoking a cigarette with abandon. I'm not a smoker and don't think it's a healthy habit, but I was entranced by the luxuriousness and peace with which he enjoyed that smoke. Fifteen minutes later, he'd abandoned both the enjoyment of the moment and his chair for a blanket on the sidewalk and a posture of pleading...

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Hubby had a strange flu this week, something he "wouldn't wish on his worst enemy." All better now, to the surprise of Brazilian friends, who find me a terrible nursemaid for not taking him to the emergency room or plying him with "anti-flu" medications: He has a fever? Take him to the hospital! Don't try to treat it yourself; everyone knows Tylenol isn't good for fevers...and why are you making him drink so much water??? Go buy an "anti-tgripal"--they're the only way to make the flu go away. Waiting it out is tantamount to torture, I suppose.

Anyone else have strange Brazilian heath remedies/stories to tell?

3 comments:

Karl said...

I have so many stories it almost isn't funny.

"Don't eat the tomato seeds, it will cause your gall-bladder to be blocked up." (The same seems to be true for cucumbers.)

"Don't open the refrigerator or cut your hair when you have a cold, your cold will get worse."

"Don't put your feet directly on the floor right after you wake up, you will have a stroke because of the difference in your body temperature and the floor temperature."

(For reference, a cold night here in Teresina might get down to 75° F.)

Wait in line at a SUS (the public healthcare system) clinic a time or two, and you see why people would rather suffer at home.

I am sure I have forgotten more funny and anecdotal health-related things than I remember.

Anonymous said...

Hi neighbor! If you only knew how grateful I am that we happen to be living just a few yards part apart. By far the best luck/coincidence since we arrived in Rio 2 months ago!

The CDPI drama is one of the most aggravating experiences I've had so far. I wonder how a society can function with this type of crippling red tape/bureaucracy/inefficiency...

As for health remedies, my 2 year old has been sick (likely bacterial ear infection) yet the pediatrician has recommended 3 steroids as treatment. However, I insisted on antibiotics, and they seem to be working, fingers crossed.

Incidentally, I've been told that whenever a doctor is unsure of the root of an ailment, they chalk it up to a "virus." Indeed that is exactly what the pediatrician initially said when my little one first got sick (until I insisted on antibiotics), and in talking to several other Brazilians, they, too, say that most ailments are caused by "viruses."

I suppose it's a convenient explanation, even if it's not always accurate!

Ellen said...

These aren't Brazilian, but they are Ethiopian! (okay, so totally unrelated, but how else can I share these?) Biruk always has some rules he says that he was taught:

Don't drink orange juice after drinking milk or a dairy product, the citric acid will make the milk curdle in your stomach and you will get sick- apparently he saw a cat die once after having orange juice in his milk and refuses to have orange juice after a bowl of cereal.

He also refuses to take a bath or shower right after a meal, because of the same reason you shouldn't go swimming- you might get a cramp and drown! hahaha!

Biruk had an eye infection, so his eye was all red and his sister insisted he wear sunglasses because the florescent lights would make his infection worse. ???

Biruk also says fresh fruit in the morning 'isn't good for you'- but can't really tell me a rational reason why.