Here is the third and final part of Joe’s article. To read the previous parts please click the relevant link at the end of the article.

First of all, the German word Moritt has an unusually pertinent etymology, in that it denotes a song about the dirty deeds of criminals.” It was intoned throughout the Continent as far back as medieval times and was still cranked out by barrel-organ grinders in the Weimar Republic period of the early 1920s. Without missing a beat, composer Weill picked up on and used the genre’s repetitive, drone-like quality as a continuous link between the scenes of Brecht’s wicked wordplay.

The “vastly watered-down” English version of the ballad, soft-peddled to easily-shocked New Yorkers of the mid-1950s, is shorn of two of the original’s patently suggestive stanzas: their graphically explicit content exposes Mackie as more than just a dashing, Victorian-era rogue (“a cute rat-pack gambler,” as author Peter Gutmann eluded to, in the Classical Notes website), but a vicious and brutal thug, arsonist and rapist-more akin, in type, to the disreputable Jack the Ripper:

And the ghastly fire in Soho,
Seven children at a go-
In the crowd stands Mack the Knife, but
He’s not asked and doesn’t know.

And the child bride in her nightie,
Whose assailant’s still at large,
Violated in her slumbers-
Mackie, how much did you charge?

The debauched nature of Mackie’s character, along with more of Threepenny’s blowzy, jazz-based scoring and racy, gutter dialogue (newly translated by Ralph Manheim and John Willett, as evidenced by the above), was hammered home a few years before the formal introduction of Chico’s Rio-Lapa edition, in the now-fabled New York Shakespeare Festival production of 1976, credited to noted theater producer Joseph Papp, who wrote at the time that Blitzstein, with his highly sanitized translation, had “vitiated the political and sexual thrust” of the work “which [gave it] its relentless power.” He could talk.

With the USA having undergone some earth-shattering transformations of its own, due, in large part, to the permeation of the sexual revolution, resulting in a more permissive entertainment environment; and energized by such explosive events as the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, Women’s Liberation, and the sixties counterculture – all wholly ingrained into American society by the middle of the 1970s – Brazil, in contrast, had taken a few calculated steps (missteps, actually) backward, away from these allegedly “open” Northern attitudes.

These unfortunate missteps manifested themselves in a more conservative outlook on, of all things, live theater, which was heavily in line with the Brazilian general’s narrow-minded, tunnel “vision” for the nation.

This intractable position only reinforced Chico’s resolve to rewrite the verses to several of Malandro’s key tunes prior to curtain time, chief among them the hit, “O Meu Amor,” wherein he removed all reference to a woman’s private parts. Astonishingly, and in light of the headaches these last-minute changes might have ensued for him, the perceptive songwriter much preferred the less provocative, “watered-down” version.

For the recent revival of the show in Rio and elsewhere, he even insisted that the musical’s salty street language be noticeably toned down – go figure!

But his major departure from Gay’s and Brecht’s hallowed text – and an inspirational stroke of genius it would surely turn out to become – was the totally re-imagined opening number, “O Malandro,” composed, eerily enough, to the same monotonous-sounding strain as that of “The Ballad of Mack the Knife.”

The gist of it was this: in Chico’s version, the malandro, or street hustler, gulps down a bottle of cachaa (a type of whiskey fermented from cane sugar) obtained at a local bar. He suddenly runs off, leaving the empty-handed waiter (o garom) with an unpaid bill.

The ramifications of this spontaneous act against the waiter (read: the establishment), deprived of his principal means of livelihood, brings about a series of harsh economic “sanctions” any self-respecting citizen of hyper-inflated Cidade Maravilhosa would be all-too familiar with: the waiter complains to the Portuguese owner of the bar (o galego), who passes along his losses to the distributor of the whiskey (distribuidor), who in turn passes along his losses to the operator of the still (alambique), while the operator of the still does the same to the owner of the plant (o usineiro), which promptly has its liquor taxes raised to absurd levels by the Bank of Brazil.

In the meantime, the Americans (os ianques) urge their allies to block further sales of the drink, thus leading to further fiscal calamities, including a “drying up” of the excess cachaa reserves.

The formal conclusion to this convoluted mess is that it winds up exactly where it all began, with the helpless malandro caught and captured, as well as being made the official scapegoat for the resultant global imbalance of payments – a “song about dirty deeds,” indeed.

Although the original aesthetic of both ballads are clearly defined and culturally distinctive, in Chico’s masterful hands the essential mood and spirit, if not the letter, of “Mack the Knife” have been faithfully rendered and respected – but with an artful wink of the Carioca’s knowing eye and an ironic touch of Lapa street smarts.

Of course, if the story had ended there, pera do Malandro would still have satisfied most audience members’ craving for some truly topical theater fare.

As luck would have it, though, this was only the beginning of its good fortune; for, having made a valid critique of the soon-to-be-outmoded military’s failed domestic policies of the not-so golden seventies-the so-called “Brazilian miracle” years – the play’s auspicious 2003 reappearance has helped steer countless new fans of the work toward its uniquely dystopian view of Brazil’s current social problems: that of a singing, stinging portrait of a still-fat, disparate society on the eve of its potential destruction.

How worthy a successor to Brecht-Weill is that?

Copyright 2007 by Josmar F. Lopes

A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.

To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 2
Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 1
Theater, the Brecht of Life: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera, Part II
A Walk on the Weill Side: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera Part 2
A Walk on the Weill Side: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera Part 1
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 5
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 4
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 3
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 2
Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 1
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 11
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 10
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 9
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 8
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 7
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 6
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 5
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 4
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 3
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 2
Two Brazilian Charmers Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 21
Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
“Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?

By Tamashin
Here is part 3 of Tamashin’s article on popular expressions in Brazilian Portuguese that he has been collecting. To read the previous parts click the relevant link at the end of the article.

41. Quem ve a cara (ou o carro), nao ve o coraao.
42. Vaso ruim nao quebra.
43. Pai rico, filho nobre, neto pobre.
44. Quem casa nao pensa, quem pensa nao casa.
45. Casamento e loteria.

46. A verdade incomoda.
47. Em terra de cego, quem tem olho e rei.
48. Argumento de bandido e xingar soldado.
49. Deus ajuda, quem cedo madrugada.
50. Pra baixo todo santo ajuda, pra cima a coisa ja muda.

51. Laranja madura na beira da estrada ou esta bichado ou esta com marimbondo no pe.
52. A corda sempre arrebenta do lado do mais fraco.
53. Quem muito escolhe, acaba escolhido.
54. Cavalho dado nao se olham os dentes.
55. Santo da casa nao faz milagre.

56. A ocaisiao faz o ladrao.
57. Falar e prata, calar e ouro.
58. Ladrao que rouba ladrao tem 100 anos de perdao.
59. Vai penear macacos.
60. Faam o que eu falo, mas nao faam o que eu fao.

Part 4 next week…

Editor’s note: Perhaps readers would like to suggest their own interpretations of the phrases, and corrections if necessary.

Readers comments:

Thanks for those great sayings. Enjoyed that.

— Dan

41. Quem ve a cara (ou o carro), nao ve o coraao.
> Quem v cara não v coraão. (He who sees the face doesn’t see the heart – it means that you may look at someone through rose-colored glasses.)

42. Vaso ruim nao quebra.
> Vaso ruim não quebra. (Cheap vases never break – it refers to someone very bad and mean, who will never change his/her behaviour)

43. Pai rico, filho nobre, neto pobre. (Rich dad, noble son, poor grandson – this expression is a recommendation to consider future generations).

44. Quem casa nao pensa, quem pensa nao casa.
> Quem casa não pensa quem pensa não casa. (He who marries isn’t thinking and he who thinks doesn’t marry. This was a very famous idiom on the 70’s in Brazil, when the divorce law was finally approved by Federal Courts. It is used by those who think that marriage is a bad thing.)

45. Casamento e loteria.
> Casamento loteria. (Weddings are lotteries – It means that luck is still a factor when marrying.)

46. A verdade incomoda.(The truth is inconvenient – which makes the title of Al Gore’s movie a little redundant, doesn’t it?)

47. Em terra de cego, quem tem olho rei. – (In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is king)

48. Argumento de bandido xingar soldado. (The muggers defense is to curse the police/soldiers)

49. Deus ajuda quem cedo madrugada.(literally God helps those who wake up early” – but this is “The early bird gets the worm” )

50. Pra baixo todo santo ajuda, pra cima a coisa j muda. (When going down hill, all the Saints will help, but when going up hill things change. This means that many times it is easier to go with the flow and not fighting against the natural course of life.)

51. Laranja madura na beira da estrada ou est bichada ou est com marimbondo no pé.
(Ripe oranges in the road are bad or have wasps in their tree – This saying referrals to always be suspicious about things coming to you very easily)

52. A corda sempre arrebenta do lado do mais fraco. (The rope always breaks on the weakest side – It means that the powerful will always win – Also “the weakest link in the chain” )

53. Quem muito escolhe, acaba escolhido. (Don’t be too selective or someone will simply choose you – This one is designated for picky people, especially women when they are choosing too much among men who potentially can become a good husband)

54. Cavalho dado não se olha os dentes.(Don’t look a gifted horse in the mouth – This means that you shouldn’t complain about a gift given to you; accept it graciously even if you might not like it.

55. Santo de casa não faz milagre. (literally “The Saint from the house does not make miracles” but it’s similar to “The cobblers children have no shoes”

56. A ocaisiao faz o ladrao.
> A ocasião faz o ladrão. (The occasion makes the thief – it means that given the right opportunity almost anyone will steal. )

57. Falar prata, calar ouro. (Talking is silver, silence is gold) – This one means you better talk less in order not to say undesirable stuff; we have an abbreviated version – “Silence is golden”)

58. Ladrao que rouba ladrao tem 100 anos de perdao.
> Ladrão que rouba de ladrão tem 100 anos de perdão. (The thief who steals from other thieves gets 100 years of forgiveness )

59. Vai penear macacos.
(Go groom monkeys – which means: Don’t bother me. )

60. Faam o que eu falo, mas nao faam o que eu fao.
> Faa o que falo mas não faa o que eu fao.
Do as I say, not as I do.

— Laize de Lima & Paul Reiber

Tamashin is a retired civil engineer who first came to Brazil in 1993 to help build a community centre for street children in Rio. He now lives in João Pessoa with his Brazilian wife and children.

Previous articles by Tamashin:

Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 2
Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 1
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 5
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 4
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 3
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 2
Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 1
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 6
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 5
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 4
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 3
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 2
Brazil: The Great North Road Part 1

By Pat Moraes
April 26, 2007

São JOSE DOS CAMPOS – In Brazil there seems to be a pharmacy on every corner, and in our downtown area there are often three at a busy intersection. The pharmacy is a great place to seek help and advice for those minor ailments that you might not feel you need to see a doctor for. I have recently received over the counter help (without a prescription) for a bladder infection, aches and pains, and a cough from a cold that I had.

Many years ago, back in late seventies, I was made aware that certain things that we take for granted back in the States, do not operate exactly the same here in Brazil. At that time when I would be visiting Brazil I would often get a case of diarrhea and I would routinely take a drug called enterovioformio. It worked wonders and it was quick. Then I read an article in TIME” magazine about drug dumping in the third world. The drug featured in the article was the same enterovioformio. It was banned by the FDA for its rather severe side effects and fatalities, but the drug manufactures continued to sell the drug in other parts of the world.

This drug is no longer available here in Brazil, but the episode left me with an ongoing suspicion to this day. Each time I get help at the pharmacy, I do a little research on my own to find out exactly what I am taking. First I read the “bule”, which is the insert in the drug package. From this I am able to get the names of the active ingredients. Then I check wikipedia which is an incredible source of information. If I don’t find what I am looking for I have to get a little more persistent in my search…

If you have a headache, muscle ache, toothache, etc, you will most likely be offered Dor-flex, Novalgina, or Anador, all of which contain the same basic ingredient… “Dipirona”. Here is the wikipedia link (Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Brazil: Follow Up to a Moving Experience
Brazil: A Moving Experience

By Ricky Skelton
Like many gringoes who come to Brazil, I was hoping to find an exotic job in an exotic place and improve my language skills (or develop some) along the way by working with exotic Brazilians. The latter was the only one to come true, but not in the way that I’d expected. Teaching English was always the backup plan, and so it came to pass. No surprise to anybody who has tried to find other work in Brazil. I taught (I use the past tense, but I may not be finished with it yet) in a couple of places, with São Paulo being the main one. And what a frustrating experience it was, and not only because I wasn’t very good at it. That wasn’t down to my students, hell no. I generally genuinely liked them: lawyers, doctors, psychologists, journalists, film-makers, and students of all these and more. I was proud of their English because they taught me everything I know about my language. Everyday was a school day. And they paid me for it.

Not much though. As well as the usual traipsing around the hot streets of Sampa for very little money, the same experience that everybody has, the biggest problem for me were the cancellations. The Paulistas I met are loveable people (all conspicuously fair-skinned, sadly), but they have a work ethic that I really struggle to identify with. 14 hour days, 6 days a week! Perhaps they prefer to stay long hours at the office to avoid the reality that they live in São Paulo and there is no beach to go to after work. Admittedly I worked long hours too, or should I say that I was out of the house for 14 hours a day but working for three of four of them as my busy students would ring up to cancel while I travelled for hours between classes. They usually had too much work on. Three or four per day was the average, and then the weekly Bank Holiday on a Thursday meant that I could forget Friday and Saturday too, and only worked a three day week! No wonder I had no money. Not even enough for the Metr fare one day, so I had to cancel one of my own classes. Oh the irony. The emergency credit card wasn’t working either. Bad day.

Still, better than the day one of my students had. She was my best canceller because she always gave me days of notice. I was walking to her house one night thinking that at least I could rely on her. I arrived there to find she’d been car-jacked at gunpoint outside the house 15 minutes before. We had to cancel. And bleeding heart that I’m not, I couldn’t charge her. It is impossible to have a class when somebody is shaking with fear! She took it all in her stride though, it had happened to her before, and made me a hot drink to calm me down, telling me not to be scared.

So I think we’ll put it all down to experience and move on. And my Portuguese? I never spoke a word of it. Just English. All day. Every day. It didn’t improve at all.

You can visit Ricky’s blog at http://redmist-redmist.blogspot.com/

Previous articles by Ricky:

Around Brazil: Lenois Maranhenses
Understanding Brazil: The National Anthem
Around Brazil: Barreirinhas
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara to Barreirinhas
Understanding Brazil: Shopping Centres
Around Brazil: Jericoacoara
Around Brazil: Chapada da Diamantina/Lenois
Brazil vs. Argentina: Statues of Christ
Around Brazil: Salvador
Brazil vs. Argentina: The Buses
Around Brazil: Morro de São Paulo (& Itabuna)
Understanding Brazil: The Workmen
Around Brazil: Praa Pateo do Colegio
Around Brazil: Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Rio de Janeiro to Porto Seguro
Around Brazil: Cristo Redentor
Understanding Brazil: The Sellers
Around Brazil: Ilha de Gigoia
Brazil Journeys: São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro
Understanding Brazil: Dogs Part 2
Brazil: A Lie-In in Downtown São Paulo?
The Best Job in Brazil: Ankle Specialist?
Understanding Brazil: Dogs
Brazilian Places: Ilha do Santa Catarina (Floripa)
Classic Brazilian Journeys: South to Florianopolis
Understanding Brazil – The Shower
Brazil: Boats on the Amazon
Brazil: Understanding Novelas
Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

By James Denison
My wife Cassia and I had the most challenging trip of our lives over the past couple of weeks in Brazil. First, we were planning on staying in Lima, Peru for three days before heading to Brazil. But our travel agent neglected to let us know that we could not get into Brazil from Peru without proof of having had a yellow fever vaccination. So LAN Peru forced us to go straight through to São Paulo.

Once in Brazil we were caught in the middle of the decisive work-slowdown of the air traffic controllers. Since we planned to hit eight different cities in Brazil, we inevitably were stuck in the absolutely worst affected airports in the country: Brasilia and São Paulo.

Since the air traffic controllers were a part of the Brazilian military, they were not technically allowed to go on strike. Instead, they resorted to their only recourse against the injustice of their work conditions and hugely inadequate pay. They conducted a massive work-slowdown which resulted in a near complete work-stoppage. It turned out to be an effective technique to finally force a breakthrough in negotiations with the government and to begin to bring about the necessary changes for this crucial infrastructural sector of the Brazilian economy. In this regard, the air traffic controllers of Brazil should be seen as an inspiration to organized workers around the world. They stood up for their rights and after the crisis was over they respectfully apologized to the Brazilian public for any hardships they may have endured. Cassia and I were not so much upset about the workers effectively going on strike in the middle of our trip, we actually supported and saluted them because their demands were so obviously just. What troubled us was the inability of the airlines to deal with passengers in any kind of an efficient or comprehensive manner. In particular, our disappointment was with the airline TAM.

Our first delay of the crisis occurred in Brasilia when we were waiting for a flight to go to Palmas, (which is a relatively new city that is an hour and a half flight north of Brasilia). The flight was delayed for about two hours. Here TAM gave us a free meal at the airport buffet while we were forced to wait to find out if and when our flight was leaving. While we were eating with a friend that Cassia hadn’t seen for years who happened to be waiting for the same flight, a TAM agent came and told us that our flight was leaving in a half an hour. This was the first and last time TAM worked efficiently during the crisis.

The next leg of our adventure brought us directly into the very heart of the crisis in full-swing. We needed to fly from Palmas to Brasilia to connect to our flight to Natal. Our first flight from Palmas was on-time. The next flight in Brasilia was delayed and the TAM people would not tell us anything except to wait. The airport was full of frustrated people waiting, some sleeping on the floors. There were many more people on their feet crowding around TAM agents who repeatedly told them that they didn’t know anything. As the hours passed we began not to believe the TAM people and passengers began to get hostile and demand answers. People were yelling at TAM representatives in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Eventually the passengers’ discontent was reaching a boiling point and the TAM representatives told us to back off and that we would be put up in a hotel in Brasilia.

After waiting for another hour, until well after midnight, while they put together paperwork for the hotel, we were herded-up like cattle to wait for shuttles to the hotel. The traffic at the airport was beyond chaotic. Waiting in yet another long line for the shuttle, we realized that we would be waiting for at least another hour to get to the hotel, so we opted to grab a taxi and get out of the endless frustration of the airport.

The TAM pass we received said that we had a room at the Hotel Pilar. We went to the Hotel Pilar, which was more like a small 1950’s motel, and the man at the front desk said that there were no vacant rooms and that TAM should not have sent us there. So we went to where the large hotels are and tried the Hotel Naoum. There were people from both TAM and Gol flights trying to get rooms. After finally securing ourselves a room, we went back outside to see our taxi driver who was patiently waiting to give us a tour of the capital at 1:30 in the morning.

Part 2 next week…

Readers comments:

James must be kidding when he says:

… we actually supported and saluted them…”

How come a victim of a criminal act support and salute the perps? If this is trying to be PC it went way too far. Btw, I didn’t suffer from it, but this isn’t reason enough for me to favor an insurrection by armed public servers.

“…their demands were so obviously just…”

Says who?????

“… they respectfully apologized to the Brazilian public for any hardships they may have endured…”

Yeah, right. Not before being charged for their crime.

“… the air traffic controllers of Brazil should be seen as an inspiration to organized workers around the world…”

I sincerily hope they won’t.

— Mario Silvio

By The Curmudgeon
The Ides of March have come and gone, but the end of the month has brought about 3 news stories involving household words in Brazil. On March 22, Petrobras (and others) bought Ipiringa, the only other refiner in Brazil and one of the largest retail gas station owners. On March 28, AmBev, the Brazilian beer giant, bought up one of its small competitors (Cintra); and GOL, the second-largest Brazilian airline, bought the new” Varig.

We notice two underlying features of these Brazilian block-busters: nationalism and the desire for underlying assets.

Nationalism is easy:

  • Petrobras is the most sacred of all Brazilian cows, including the Banco do Brasil, because it’s hard to love a bank. Petrobras will be privatized at 2500 hours on the 12th of Never, also known as “o Dia de São Nunca”. It was rumoured that PDVSA (Chavez) was about to acquire Ipiranga, so the White Knight came to the rescue.
  • GOL is a very Brazilian company, founded by a family that made a fortune by gobbling up inter-city bus lines (1001, Comaeta) and rest stops (Graal). Varig was the darling of the government, like a state-owned company without any oversight from the state. It was rumoured that LAN, (Chilean) and TAP (Portuguese) had the inside track to acquire Varig, so the White Knight came to the rescue.
  • AmBev is OUR beer giant, no matter it’s controlled by Belgians – it’s the world’s second largest brewer and we’re proud of that. We all know AmBev makes better beer than Anheuser Busch or Miller. Cintra has been unviable for some time, just imagine if Coors/Molson (North American) or FEMSA (Mexican) took it over! So, the White (well, OK, Grey) Knight came to the rescue.

    Underlying assets is the name of the game:

  • Petrobras (and its private partners) coveted the refinery and the petrochemical operations of Ipiranga – the service stations are frosting on the cake, a “lagniappe” in Big Easy speak, because Petrobras already has these.
  • Varig has international routes and slots and personnel and experience and a decent brand name, all of which GOL does not have. Varig’s domestic and South American routes are a “lagniappe” because GOL already has these.
  • AmBev is interested in Cintra’s brewing capacity – full stop. It could care less about the Cintra brand (which, to use a technical legal term, sucks big time) or its distribution system (idem, idem) or its technology (which is Portuguese – the Curmudgeon rests his case). No lagniappe needed.

    What the Curmudgeon does NOT like is the other common feature – the certainty that the Brazilian government will support its monopolist/oligopolist favourites and stifle any attempt by Competition Authorities to limit their voracity. Petrobras and its private partners now control ALL Brazil’s refining and petrochemical operations. GOL will now become Brazil’s second-largest airline and will leave travelers with only the TAM option. AmBev – hey, it already had 68% of the market, how can another 5% hurt? Bigger is better, the race is to the (Brazilian) swift and the devil take the (foreign) hindmost. Politics trumps economics.

    The Curmudgeon is a US citizen, resident in Rio since 1977 except for a 5-year stint in SP. He is a practicing lawyer (admitted Rio and SP) in his daytime job which he is not giving up.

    Previous articles by the Curmudgeon:

    Brazil: The Curmudgeon in Alcohol-Induced Dudgeon

  • Lula Grants Land to Indians
    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva granted around 978,000 hectares (2.4 million acres) of land to Indians this Thursday, National Indian Day. The land has been divided into six territories, that the tribes say are their ancestral lands, located in the Amazon rainforest, and southern, and northeastern Brazil. Lula has already distributed 71 territories.

    Lula’s Performance Drops
    A poll by Ibope has shown a significant drop in support for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 49% of respondents rated Lula’s performance as good or very good, a drop of 8 points since December.

    Brazilian Alcohol Powered British Bus
    London has started testing a bus that runs on alcohol derived from Brazilian sugar cane. The Scania OmniCity has two floors, and can carry 81 passengers. The bus is one of several hybrid vehicles on test, which will be increased to 50 by the end of 2008.

    Operation Padrão” Causes Queues
    Federal Police in Cumbica mounted operation “Padrão” in the international airport, Andr Franco Montoro. Normally passengers don’t spend more than a minute passing through the passport control desk, but they decided to check all the passenger’s details as part of the operation, increasing the wait to between 10 and 15 minutes, provoking enormous queues. Irritated passengers clapped their hands and shouted.

    Federal Police Strike
    A strike by the Federal Police this Wednesday also caused enormous queues at airports, with some passengers having to wait over 5 hours to get through passport control.

    Shootouts in Rio
    The number of people that have died in shootouts between the Military Police and drug gangs has hit 25, from Monday night, in Rio de Janeiro. In the worst shootout on Tuesday, 13 people were killed, and 11 suspects taken prisoner. This was concentrated in the Morro da Mineira slum.

    Delay to Troops in Rio
    Despite Rio de Janeiro’s governor Sergio Cabral’s request to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to deploy the military in the city, Cabral has been told that the request must be formalised and then analysed for 15 days by the government. Defence Minister Waldir Pires has said that Lula is obsessed with trying to help Rio, but that a troop deployment cannot be forced until all other measures have been exhausted.

    Brazil Left to Host World Cup
    Colombia has dropped out of the running to host the World Cup, leaving Brazil the only country left to host the 2014 event in South America. Brazil was the only country to submit a bid agreement by the 16th April deadline, and will now have to prove government guarantees and complete the remainder of the bid by the end of July. FIFA will then visit Brazil in September and produce a report in November, naming the host nation later in November.

    This article was sponsored by TABU, located in Sonesta São Paulo, the lodging answer for all your business and leisure needs.

    Tabu Restaurant São Paulo Sonesta Hotel São Paulo

    Meet Pat Moraes, from the USA, who has travelled in Brazil for many years. Read the following interview where she tells us about some of her most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

    1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

    I am a native Californian, recently retired as an escrow officer for a title company. After 36 years of the daily grind, I am starting to explore new interests and looking forward to spending more time here in Brazil.

    2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

    I first came to Brazil in 1969 as a foreign exchange student through the American Field Service program and lived for a year with a Brazilian family in Itapetininga in the interior of the state of São Paulo and completed my senior year of high school. Through the years my husband and I have returned almost yearly to spend our vacations with family and friends. This is our second year of spending an extended period of time here in Brazil. We have been here 4 and half months and we are leaving in ten days for our home in the States.

    3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

    Well, it was love at first sight, as I met my husband, Sidney about three weeks after my arrival when everything was still new and confusing to me. My memories of lush green sugar cane fields, incredibly red dirt, new foods, new friends and a new language are mixed in with memories of meeting him at the innocent Mardi Gras festival of the time and first love and passionate kisses.

    4. What do you miss most about home?

    Our 2 and a half acre property in the United States is in the foothills to the Sierra Mountain Range of California, an hour’s drive from Yosemite National Park. We miss the wide open space around us, drinking a glass of a fine California wine while enjoying the view of the local lake, the wild birds that come to feed, the numerous quail, the coyotes that cry at night and the incredible view of the milky way on a clear night. We miss some intense philosophical conversations with our neighbors about the meaning of life and simpler conversations about the amount of rainfall or how many rattlesnakes have been seen this spring. We miss a feeling of freedom that we have to come and go as we please and the local attitude of live and let live. In other words, we miss casual California living.

    On the other hand, when we go back this week we will miss the sense we have of being connected to Sidney’s family, the daily visit to his mother’s house, the Sunday lunches that last until six in the evening, with four generations joyfully interacting while keeping up with two year old twins. We will miss the parties and more intimate gatherings where we can sit around and visit with friends until the wee hours of the morning and not run out of things to talk about. Above all we will miss the friendly smiles.

    5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

    We undertook a major remodeling of our 15th floor apartment and we were frustrated by the fact that the workmen do not see the same relationship between time and money that we feel in California. It often took a full day to accomplish a task that should take a few hours due to the lack of appropriate tools and basic common sense in planning ahead. The workmen actually accomplished miracles with the old saws, splintered handled screw drivers and a total lack of anything resembling a saw horse.

    6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

    I arrived here in a much simpler time and immediately things happened that made me realize that I was in a very special place. The day I arrived at my new family’s home I was greeted by a small party of friends and neighbors. Not speaking the language and being exhausted by the trip, I soon excused myself and went to bed. As I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a male voice singing outside my bedroom window. It took me a while to realize that I was being serenaded by a young man with a guitar. I was happy to find out that in Itapetininga in the late sixties, this was not uncommon, and I was lucky enough to have the experience repeated.

    7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

    We really enjoy the weather, the scenery and the food. But there is so much more about Brazil that is extraordinary. We look for something special in each day, and we call that The Jewel of the Day”. These are the small encounters and incidences that make life here so special: having your preferences remembered at the bakery, having coffee with the barber after a haircut, the extra banana added to the purchase at the farmer’s market, the treatment received when making a purchase, no matter how small, the innumerable kindnesses, and the warmth of daily interactions.

    8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

    In São Jose dos Campos, we enjoy lunch at the Churrascaria at the Hotel Aquarius or if we are in the mood for pintado na brasa (grilled fresh water fish) we go to the Restaurante Vila Velha downtown. On the road between São Jose dos Campos and Caraguatatuba on the coast by way of the Tamoios Highway we stop for the world’s best coxinha at the mercado in Jambeiro or for more regional flavor we stop for lunch at the Fazenda da Comadre, which offers the typical “comida caseira” .

    No restaurant experience really equals being invited over for a back yard Churrasco at your friend’s place, especially if someone really takes pride in their caipirinha.

    9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

    This is the one that almost sent me packing! Shortly after I arrived in 1969, my host sisters explained that we needed to go across the street and pay a condolence call on a family whose son had been killed that day in a car accident. I was expecting to give my solemn greetings to the family and diligently practiced a few words. What I did not expect was that immediately upon entering the front door I came “face to face” with the young man’s corpse in the open coffin on the dining room table. His face was tied with a kerchief to keep his mouth closed and his hands were tied to keep them in place, and the body was covered with roses. I really don’t remember much after that.

    10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

    The difference in friendship. When you met a Brazilian they offer you 100 percent friendship at the start. As time goes on both sides subtract from the 100 percent based on shared experiences and mutual preferences. In the US when you meet you start at 0 percent friendship and very slowly build up from there if things go well.

    11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

    I am very fluent in Portuguese since I was a student here and also spend quite a bit of time with other Brazilians in the US. My biggest problem is the gender of nouns and adjectives. I still don’t know when I am at the beach, if I want to order dois pasteis or duas pastels.

    12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

    Realize that you came here looking for a life enhancing experience. Be prepared for the cultural differences and different values and try to avoid constant comparisons of here and there. Realize that you have social and ethical responsibilities. You will be greeted and welcomed with open arms and your actions will reflect back on where you came from. Take all you can from the experience, but at the same time, be kind and when you can be generous.

    13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

    If you get a chance to drive to Florianopolis in Santa Catarina, go a little out of the way and find the “Serra da Graciosa”. It is a very windy little road that takes you directly to the heart of the Garden of Eden.

    If you are looking for a thrill ride go on the Highway Osvaldo Cruz between Taubate and Ubatuba.

    Don’t forget to look up for fantastic clouds, tremendous lightening and thunder and if you are lucky enough to be able to see the night sky, you will find the Southern Cross and many different constellations.

    14. What do you recommend for a visitor to avoid in Brazil?

    Avoid Congonhas Airport in São Paulo.

    Avoid driving down to the coast during heavy traffic on a long holiday.

    Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

    To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

    Richard Dougherty – USA
    James Weeds – USA
    Tom Sluberski – USA
    Peter Kefalas – USA
    Sylvie Campbell – UK
    Kathleen Haynes – USA
    Matt Bowlby – USA
    Alan Longbottom – UK
    Eric Karukin – USA
    Eddie Soto – USA
    Kieran Gartlan – Ireland
    Bryan Thomas Scmidt – USA
    Emile Myburgh – South Africa
    Bob Chapman – USA
    David Barnes – USA
    John Milan – USA
    Chris Coates – UK
    Matthew Ward – UK
    Allison Glick – USA
    Drake Smith – USA
    Jim Jones – USA
    Philip Wigan – UK
    Atlanta Foresyth – USA
    Lee Gordon – USA
    Carmen Naidoo – South Africa
    Lee Safian – USA
    Laurie Carneiro – USA
    Dana De Lise – USA
    Richard Gant – USA
    Robin Hoffman – USA
    Wayne Wright – UK
    Walt Kirspel – USA
    Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
    Caitlin McQuilling – USA
    Nicole Rombach – Holland
    Steven Engler – Canada
    Richard Conti – USA
    Zak Burkons – USA
    Ann White – USA
    Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
    Johnny Sweeney – USA
    David Harty – Canada
    Bill McCrossen – USA
    Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
    Ethan Munson – USA
    Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
    Sean McGown – USA
    Condrad Downes – UK
    Jennifer Silva – Australian
    Justin Mounts – USA
    Elliott Zussman – USA
    Jonathan Abernathy – USA
    Steve Koenig – USA
    Kyron Gibbs – USA
    Stephanie Early – USA
    Martin Raw – UK
    Sean Coady – UK
    Hugo Delgado – Mexico
    Sean Terrillon – Canada
    Jessie Simon – USA
    Michael Meehan – USA
    Thales Panagides – Cyprus
    Tammy Montagna – USA
    Samantha Tennant – England
    Ron Finely – United States
    Bob Duprez – United States
    Peter Baines – England
    Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
    Van Wallach – USA
    Lesley Cushing – England
    Alexander von Brincken – Germany
    Hank Avellar – USA
    Ed Catchpole – England
    Penny Freeland – England
    Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
    Amy Williams Lima – USA
    John Naumann – England
    Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
    Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
    John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
    Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
    Lorelei Jones – England
    Adam Glensy – England
    Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
    Aaron Day – Canada
    Graham Debney – New Zealand
    Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
    Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
    Frank de Meijer – Holland
    Carl Emberson – Australia
    Kim Buarque – Wales
    Damiano Pak – South Korea
    Jonas Helding – Denmark
    Pari Seeber – Iran
    John Milton – England
    Ken Marshall – Australia

    By Tamashin
    Here is part 2 of Tamashin’s article on popular expressions in Brazilian Portuguese that he has been collecting. To read part 1 click the relevant link at the end of the article.

    21. Em rio de piranhas, jaquare so nada de costas.
    22. Falem mal, mas falem de mim.
    23. Macaco velho nao poe a mao em cumbuca.
    24. Dois bicudos nao se beijam.
    25. Pobre so anda de carro quando vai preso.

    26. Quem avisa, amigo e.
    27. Isso so pro ingles ver.
    28. Eles São brancos, eles la que entendam.
    29. Quem conta um conto, aumenta um ponto.
    30. Briga de marido e mulher, ninguem mete a colher.

    31. Filho de peixe, peixinho e.
    32. Julga mal quem julga os outros por si mesmo.
    33. Quem canta, seus males espantam.
    34. Confia em Deus, mas amarra o seu camelo.
    35. De casa de pobre, ladrao so leva susto.

    36. Escreveu, nao leu, pau comeu.
    37. O olho do dono engordo o boi.
    38. Gato escaldado nao chega perto de agua fria.
    39. Quem nao chora, nao mama.
    40. Longe da vista, longe do coraao.

    Part 3 next week…

    Editor’s note: Perhaps readers would like to suggest their own interpretations of the phrases, and corrections if necessary.

    Readers comments:

    When my husband first came to Brazil, my mom, who uses a lot of these popular expressions and speak no English, wanted me to translate their meaning to my husband all the time, but it was not a easy task for me. But after all he started enjoying the expressions as much as any other Brazilian. I’m happy to see another gringo enjoying them.

    So here is my contribution:

    Quem meus filhos beija, meu bico adoa
    Devagar com o andor que o santo de barro
    Quem não tem cão, caa com gato
    A Cavalo dado não se olha os dentes
    gua mole em pedra dura tanto bate at que fura
    Gato escaldado tem medo de gua fria
    Em terra de cego quem tem um olhe rei!
    guas passadas não movem moinhos
    Quando o gato sai, os ratos fazem a festa
    Depois da tempestade vem a bonana

    — Chris

    27 – Isso só para ingls ver. – It was published without the ver ser ()

    33 – Quem canta seus males espanta – Quem canta – consequentely – espanta – both verbs are conjugated for the third person singular (voc, ele, ela)

    From the above comment:
    Em terra de cego quem tem um OLHO rei.
    Olhe is from the verb olhar
    Olho is the noun eye.

    — Laize de Lima

    Tamashin is a retired civil engineer who first came to Brazil in 1993 to help build a community centre for street children in Rio. He now lives in João Pessoa with his Brazilian wife and children.

    Previous articles by Tamashin:

    Popular Brazilian Expressions Part 1
    Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 5
    Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 4
    Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 3
    Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 2
    Around Brazil: João Pessoa Part 1
    Brazil: The Great North Road Part 6
    Brazil: The Great North Road Part 5
    Brazil: The Great North Road Part 4
    Brazil: The Great North Road Part 3
    Brazil: The Great North Road Part 2
    Brazil: The Great North Road Part 1

    By Joe Lopes

    Here is part 2 of Joe’s article. To read part 1 please click the relevant link at the end of the article.

    But with all due respect to Seu Chico, that’s as gutsy a response as any to accusations of the Brazilian songwriter’s feigning ignorance of his European literary sources, to say nothing of the difficulty he encountered in obtaining approval beforehand (from authorities in both Rio and Braslia) for the staging of his novel musical experiment.

    What we do have, bottom line, is a third major influence on Chico’s modern street opera, in the subtle but no less tangible model laid out for him by an eighteenth-century English poet’s ever-popular ballad opera” called, suitably enough in Portuguese, pera do Mendigo.

    Nevertheless, to clear the air once and for all regarding this matter, and nudge the debate along as to whether or not Brazilian show-tunes could successfully hold their own against the established “classics”-all the while conveying the same seriousness of purpose in supporting an equally serious social agenda-let us look closely at one of the ballads common to both Brecht-Weill and Buarque: the introductory song, “Die Moritt von Mackie Messer,” or, as it is commonly known in the States, “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” in the widely circulated version by Marc Blitzstein (The Cradle Will Rock) for a 1954 off-Broadway revival starring Weill’s widow, the great Lotte Lenya (Cabaret); and in Chico’s own bowdlerized rendition, “O Malandro,” in wonderfully literate Brazilian Portuguese:

    “Mack the Knife”
    (Marc Blitzstein, after Brecht-Weill)

    Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear
    And he shows them pearly white
    Just a jackknife has Macheath, dear,
    and he keeps it out of sight

    When the shark bites with his teeth, dear,
    scarlet billows start to spread,
    fancy gloves though wears Macheath, dear,
    so there’s not a trace of red

    On the sidewalk, Sunday morning,
    lies a body oozing life,
    someone’s sneaking round the corner,
    is the someone Mack the Knife?

    From a tug boat by the river
    A cement bag’s dropping down
    The cement’s just for the weight, dear
    Bet you Mack is back in town

    Louie Miller disappeared, dear
    After drawing out his cash
    And Macheath spends like a sailor
    Did our boy do something rash?

    Sukey Tawdry, Jenny Diver
    Polly Peachum, Lucy Brown
    Oh the line forms on the right, dear
    Now that Mack is back in town

    “O Malandro”
    (Adapted by Chico Buarque)

    O malandro na dureza
    senta mesa do caf
    bebe um gole de cachaa,
    acha graa e d no pé

    O garom no prejuzo
    sem sorriso, sem fregus
    de passagem pela caixa
    d uma baixa no portugus

    O galego acha estranho
    que o seu ganho t um horror
    pega o lpis soma os canos
    passa os danos pro distribuidor

    Mas o frete v que ao todo
    h engodo nos papéis
    a pra cima do alambique
    d um trambique de cem mil ris

    O usineiro nessa luta
    grita (ponte que partiu)
    não idiota, trunca a nota
    lesa o banco do Brasil

    Nosso banco t cotado
    no mercado exterior
    então taxa a cachaa
    a um preo assustador

    Mas os ianques com seus tanques
    tm bem mais o que fazer
    e proibem os soldados
    aliados de beber

    A cachaa t parada
    rejeitada no barril
    o alambique tem chilique
    contra o banco do Brasil

    O usineiro faz barulho
    com orgulho de produtor
    mas a sua raiva cega
    descarrega no carregador

    Este chega pro galego
    nega arreglo cobra mais
    a cachaa t de graa
    mas o frete como que faz?

    O galego t apertado
    pro seu lado não t bom
    então deixa congelada
    a mesada do garom

    O garom v um malandro
    sai gritando, pega ladrão
    e o malandro autuado
    julgado e condenando culpado
    pela situaão

    (Copyright 1977 Cara Nova Editora Musical Ltda.)

    Part 3 next week…

    Copyright 2007 by Josmar F. Lopes

    A naturalized American citizen born in Brazil, Joe Lopes was raised and educated in New York City, where he worked for many years in the financial sector. In 1996, he moved to Brazil with his wife and daughters. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. and now resides in North Carolina with his family. You can email your comments to JosmarLopes@msn.com.

    To read previous articles by Joe Lopes click below:

    Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 1
    Theater, the Brecht of Life: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera, Part II
    A Walk on the Weill Side: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera Part 2
    A Walk on the Weill Side: The Influences on Chico’s “Modern” Street Opera Part 1
    Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 5
    Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 4
    Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 3
    Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 2
    Heitor Villa-Lobos: The Brazilian Bach Part 1
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 11
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 10
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 9
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 8
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 7
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 6
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 5
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 4
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 3
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 2
    Two Brazilian Charmers Part 1
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 21
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 20
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 19
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 18
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 17
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 16
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 15
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 14
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 13
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 12
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 11
    Brazil: Thrills, Spills, and… Oh Yes, No Ifs, Ands or Head-Butts, Please
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 10
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 9
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 4
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 4
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 3
    Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 2
    Brazilian World Cup Debacle: Just Wait Till 2010! Part 1
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 3
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 2
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 2
    Brazil: A Fever Called Corinthians Part 1
    Brazil: Taking Flight on Florencia’s Fragile Wings Part 1
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 8
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 7
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 6
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 5
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 4
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 3
    Teaching English In Brazil Part 2
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 4
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 3
    Teaching English In Brazil – Part I
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 2
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest Part 1
    “Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 3
    “Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 2
    “Down in Brazil,” with Michael Franks Part 1
    Brazil: A Candid Talk with Gerald Thomas
    Getting to the “bottom” of Brazil’s Gerald Thomas
    A Brazilian Diva Torn Between Europe and Brazil
    The Enraged Genius of Brazil’s Maestro Neschling
    A German Ring in the Brazilian Rainforest
    Brazil’s Musical Polyglots: What Was That You Were Singing?
    Did Bossa Nova Kill Opera in Brazil?