By Celisa Canto
May 31, 2011

We are talking about one of the major languages of the world. It is the sixth most spoken language worldwide, spoken by more than 240 million people – Portuguese! Portugal, Brazil, and former Portuguese colonial territories (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tom, Goa, Macau, East Timor) – all speak PORTUGUESE! To understand a little bit of this so melodic and charming language, we must travel back in time.

Portuguese is one of the so called Romance languages or Romanic languages which evolved from Latin – the language of Latium in ancient Italy, more specifically in Rome. It spread through Galicia, in Spain, and northern Portugal – the Romanized Celts about two thousand years ago. The language was later influenced by both the Germans and then the Arabs after the fall of the Roman Empire.

The Portuguese language was spread worldwide in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries when Portugal set up its colonial and commercial empire which extended from Brazil in South America to Goa in India and Macau in China. During that period, many Creole languages based on the Portuguese language also appeared in other parts of the world including the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.

Nowadays, Portuguese is one of the major languages in the world. It is spoken by more than fifty-one per cent of the South American continent’s population and it is also a major dialect in Africa. It is the official language of nine countries and co-official language in four nations. The Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes once referred to Portuguese as the sweet language” while the Brazilian author Olavo Bilac depicted it as “the last flower of Latium, wild and beautiful”.

Portuguese is also an official language of the European Union, the Organization of American States, the African Union, and Lusophone countries. Because Brazil has been on the rise and is now the world’s seventh largest economy and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity, learning Portuguese became a must for those who want to negotiate with us.

Speaking of Portuguese, shall we take a visit to the Museu da Lngua Portuguesa?

It can be not only interesting, but above all very exciting and motivating.

Praa da Luz – São Paulo
(11) 3326-0775
museu@museulp.org.br

Celisa is a private Portuguese teacher and translator to/from English, Spanish and Danish. You can contact her via celisacanto@hotmail.com. www.lagoavirtual.com/learnportuguese.

Previous articles by Celisa:

Portuguese Tip: Pretrito Imperfeito – Verbos Irregulares
Portuguese Tip: Imperfect Indicative Tense Part 2
Portuguese Tip: Imperfect Indicative Tense

By Alison McGowan
May 31, 2011

This morning once again I woke up in paradise – this time in Pousada Tanara. My eyes opened to an unforgettable scene of dawn breaking over Tiririca beach, a small bay flanked by palm trees and Atlantic rainforest; in the background the sound of the powerful ocean waves which are what have made this such a mecca for surfers. The word tanara” means nature in Pataxo Indian dialect and the 5 rooms of Pousada Tanara blend comfort with nature in an extraordinary location – 10 minutes walk in one direction from all the shopping and nightlife of Itacare village and minutes’ walk in the other direction to Praia da Costa and Praia da Ribeira. Praia de Tiririca is just down the path.

Rooms and bathrooms here are all different and most are small, with steps leading up to them or down to them, but what the pousada lacks in terms of size is more than made up for by the character and quirkiness of the place, the tropical foliage all around, the beautiful deck overlooking the ocean, the superb breakfasts and the wonderful hospitality of Nele and Marcos. For anyone looking for a beautiful place to chill seconds from the beach or surf but still be walking distance from the village you really couldn’t find a better place, and I certainly did not want to leave.

Itacare is situated on the Cocoa Coast of Bahia, the stretch which runs between Ilheus, 65km to the south and Salvador 230kms to the north, just where the Rio das Contas river meets the ocean. The town itself has indigenous origins but became known as Itacare as early as 1732 and countless grandiose mansions attest to the wealth of the town and region during the cocoa boom of the early 20th century.

Rediscovered some 40 years ago by surfers, the town has grown rapidly and there are now countless pousadas, bars, restaurants and nightlife. But for those who prefer more peace or who prefer more ecological tourism there are some wonderful trails and palm tree fringed deserted beaches nearby, many set in spectacular scenery, with mountains and atlantic forest as a backdrop.

Not To Be Missed
– surfing on Tiririca, Engenhoca, Jeribucacu and Prainha beaches
– capoeira, shopping and nightlife in Itacare
– eco adventures: rafting, tiroleza, whale watching (July- November)
– side trips to Taipus de Fora and Peninsula de Marau
– good value, great food at Maluca Beleza restaurant

Starpoints
* Best surf peaks of northeastern Brazil on your doorstep
* Wonderful breakfasts with home made delicacies
* Views over Tiririca beach from lounging deck
* Belgian/Brazilian hosts Nele and Marcos

Try a different place if…
… you prefer pool and spacious grounds to a beach location close to the village

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on alison@hiddenpousadasbrazil.com. Visit her site at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Vila dos Orixas Boutique Hotel, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa da Carmen e do Fernando, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Lagoa das Cores, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Naturalia, Ilha Grande (Abraao), Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ilha de Toque Toque Boutique Hotel, São Sebastiao, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Eco-Rio Lodge, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Amazon Tupana Lodge, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Luar do Rosario, Milho Verde, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Chal Oasis, Galinhos, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijo do Vento, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Artjungle Eco Lodge & Spa, Itacare, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

May 26, 2011

Meet Chris Caballero who first visited Brazil 9 years ago. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

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

I’m 38 yrs. old, orignally from Southern California, now living in Dallas Texas. Before moving to Dallas, I worked as an investment broker for CB Richard Ellis, Inc (CBRE), an elite commercial brokerage firm headquartered in Los Angeles. After 15 yrs. in commercial brokerage, I left to pursue my passion in finance at Southern Methodist University. I also completed studies at the acclaimed Heilbrunn Center for Graham and Dodd at Columbia Business School in New York. Prior to joining my existing firm, I worked for a hedge fund in Dallas where I specialized in security analysis. I’m fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and I read and write Hebrew.

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

I first decided to visit Rio in October of 2002. My first trip was solo and primarily motivated by the advice of my mother. You see, prior to going to Rio, I had been visiting Cuba (where my family is from), and dated a girl there who I was engaged to marry. My mother however, was not thrilled at all with the idea. Since Cuban women can be feisty and hot-tempered, my mother suggested to me that I visit Brazil. When I asked why, she responded that all the beauty pageants that she had ever seen on t.v. had Brazilian contestants winning the grand-prizes. Plus, she had just finished watching a soap-opera based on a Brazilian novel, so she felt inspired to point me in that direction. The curiosity was so great that I didn’t waste any time thinking about the trip. I did some research on Rio and felt it would be a good place to start my Brazilian adventure. Two weeks later I was headed to Rio!

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Like many of us who watch t.v. here in the States, my head was full of stereotypes. At first, I thought there would be dodgy characters on the street corners selling dope and the stench of sewage that is so common in some Latin American countries. The truth, however, was totally different than I had imagined. I recalled being half-asleep from the 11 hr. flight, slouched in the back seat of the cab, when all of a sudden I open my eyes to this gorgeous girl jogging early morning alongside Flamengos beach. I immediately sat up and was awe-struck by the surroundings. The cab-driver said, this ain’t nothing yet. You probably won’t sleep the entire time you’re here.” He was right. Shortly after checking in and freshening-up, I shot down to the local restaurants along Avenida Atlantica and had myself a decent meal. I was so impressed by my surroundings that I literally pinched myself to make sure I was awake! I had finally arrived! The weather was perfect, the women were super-hot, and the food excellent!

4. What do you miss most about home?

I really didn’t miss anything from home with the only exception being the convenience of one-stop shopping like we’re used to here in the States. But that really wasn’t a problem because I wasn’t planning yet to live there, although I was so impressed that I had planned my next trip in advance even before returning to the States.

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

Not answered.

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

It definitely has to be my wedding. This event was one of the highlights of my life. I married Miss Rio de Janeiro in March of 2003 in a gorgeous ceremony held in a French Chateau in the city of Petropolis. The event was so widely recognized that we even got press on the front-page of the city’s local newspaper. I was very impressed by the way everything came together for the wedding.

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

Until Lula was around, I was very impressed with the way the country had grown. Although putting that aside, I do appreciate the culture, the music and its scenic landscape. The country itself has made measurable progress and I hope it continues to be an example to all its neighbors in South America. I really enjoyed “The Sugar Loaf”, the “Christ Redeemer” statue and its incredible 360 degree views, the beaches, climate, the food, and most importantly, the two legged piranhas all over the beach! If someone could describe paradise, then this was it! The people are relatively friendly, the food is good, and the exchange rate was $/R 3.50! I’m telling you, it was the best 4 days I’ve ever had in my life. I’m glad I took my mothers advice.

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

There’s a couple of places I enjoyed while there: Caf Feliz in Ipanema, and Mario’s in Leme, but Mario’s is my favorite. I loved going to Barronetti in Ipanema and visiting places along Playa de Pepe in Baja de Tijuca. I also enjoyed hanging out in Leblon by the beach where you can see the coastline as it bends while enjoying a refreshing coconut juice. Ahhh… good memories!

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

During my flight to Brazil to ask for my wife’s hand in marriage, the girl seated next to me on the plan recalled having met a lady at Newark airport who was also on our flight. During our stop to refuel in São Paulo, she went to the back of the plane and brought this lady to where I was seated. Before I knew it, this lady was asking me all sorts of questions about my soon-to-be wife. The more I answered the more surprised she became. When I asked why was she so surprised, she replied by saying, “you’re marring my best friend from elementary school!” My jaw dropped! I couldn’t believe this! As it turns out, this lady had lost contact with my soon-to-be wife years back after moving herself to Jersey. So having me tell her that I was marrying her best friend was shocker not only to her, but also to my soon-to-be wife who just went crazy at the news that I had found her friend on-board my flight.

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

I see Brazil as operating in a form of semi-organized chaos which somehow seems to work for them. I discovered that Brazilians are never on time to anything, whether here in the US or back in Brazil. I also found that in Brazil you have either poor people or rich people, but there’s no middle class; and if there is a middle class, its hardly noticeable.

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’m now fluent in Portuguese because of my wife. However, I spoke no Portuguese when I met her and during my flight to Brazil to ask for her hand in marriage, I had the girl sitting next to me translate my whole spiel from English to Portuguese. I was real blessed to have her there sitting besides me because that pitch came in real handy – especially when I had to make the best presentation of my life!

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

Before going to Brazil, stop by your local Whole Foods and buy a bottle of “Oil of Oregano.” No, it’s not the oregano you would find on a Pizza. Instead, it’s a vine-extract that’s used for medical reasons. And TRUST ME, if you ever find yourself dying of food-borne poisoning or if you open your mouth while showering, then you will most likely need this in order to kill whatever is killing you. This stuff is so effective that you will be back to normal and on your feet within a few hours. Never again will you have to deal with food poisoning. It works like magic and several of my friends have been grateful they packed this along with their stuff. If you decide to buy it, I strongly recommend getting the liquid form (non-capsules), with the highest concentration of Carvacol. On the same note, do not OPEN YOUR MOUTH while taking a shower! This is only an invitation to swallow germs. If you order water at a restaurant, do so without ice. They tend to make their ice using tap-water which is usually contaminated.

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

Try learning at least some Portuguese. It will carry you a long way and Brazilians tend to respect that. Be polite and don’t treat their women like your girlfriend back home – and you know exactly what I mean by that.

You can contact Chris via hanssolo72@hotmail.com.

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:

Wiliam Stewart – USA
Meredith Noll – USA
Mike Smith – UK
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Don Fenstermaker – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
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 Alison McGowan
May 10, 2011

Pousada Encanto da Lua is one of the most well known of the pousadas on the Peninsula of Mara and one with a superb reputation. It is also one of the bigger ones with 20 suites but it still manages to offer the intimacy of a smaller pousada due to presence of Japanese/Brazilian owners and managers Goichi and Virginia and the family atmosphere they have created for guests.

All the suites here are well appointed with TV, terraces and hammocks, and most overlook the pool, beach and sea beyond. Downstairs there is a great restaurant and for those who just want to chill out there are plenty of sun beds available and an excellent snack and drinks service outside.

The pousada gained its name originally from the magic of the full moon rising over the sea but this is only one of many attractions in an area of outstanding beauty. Definitely a place for a return visit.

The Pousada Encanto de Lua is situated in Taipus de Fora, a 20 minute drive south of the main town of Barra Grande on the Peninsula de Mara, which lies between Salvador in the north and Itacar in the south. It is not exactly traffic free but as most of the roads are either dirt or sand here they are often only passable in 4×4 vehicles.

Easiest access to Mara is by bus to Camam where there is a regular boat service over to Barra Grande in addition to speedboats which leave as soon as they have enough people. Tell the pousada when you arriving and they will provide a free transfer from the port.

The beach in Taipus de Fora with its natural swimming pools and laid back beach bars is one of the main attractions in the area and it has recently been voted by well known guidebook 4 Rodas as one of the top 10 in Brazil. However the area seems miraculously to have escaped the ravages of mass tourism and as a result is almost as sleepy and quiet as it was 20 years ago. Long may it stay that way!

Not to be Missed
– Piscinas naturais, the natural coral swimming pools at low tide
– Boat trip round the Camamu bay
– Quad bike trip round the island
– visit to Barra Grande village
– Sunset at the Ponta do Muta

Starpoints
* beachfront location
* super spacious suites
* wonderful pool overlooking ocean
* all inclusive package with excellent evening buffet
* Japanese/Brazilian family atmosphere

Try a different place if…
…you don’t like eating in the same place every night, or you want to use your high heels

Alison is a British writer, musician, and marketing consultant, based in Rio de Janeiro. She can be contacted on alison@hiddenpousadasbrazil.com. Visit her site at http://www.hiddenpousadasbrazil.com/.

Previous articles by Alison:

Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Baia Grande, South Pantanal (Miranda), Mato Grosso do Sul
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Palafitas Lodge, Rondonia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mangueira, Boipeba (Morere), Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Cote Sud, Porto da Rua, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Spa Casinha Branca, Bananal, nr. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Castelinho 38, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Capao, Serro, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada d’Oleo de Guignard, Tiradentes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Bela Vista, Novo Airão, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Agua de Coco, Ceara
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Alcino Estalagem, Lenois, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada 0031, Cumbuco, Cear
Brazil: Maguire’s Guesthouse, Manaus, Amazonas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel Casa do Amarelindo, Salvador, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel BeloAlter, Alter do Chão, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Fazenda Santa Marina, Santana dos Montes, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casarão da Amaznia, Soure, Ilha de Marajo, Par
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Mila, nr. Ubatuba, São Paulo
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Casa Beleza, Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Bambu Bamboo Pousada and Spa, Parati, Rio de Janeiro
Random Ramblings on the Weather in Brazil
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Beijamar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Hotel 7 Colinas, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada dos Quatro Cantos, Pernambuco
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Estrela do Mar, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Vivenda, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Terra, Minas Gerais
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada Mirante de Pipa, Rio Grande do Norte
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada do Caju, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Pousada da Amendoeira, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Estalagem Caiuia, Alagoas
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Lagoa do Cassange, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Ponta do Muta, Bahia
Brazil: Hidden Pousadas – Santa Clara, Boipeba, Bahia

By Josmar Lopes
May 10, 2011

He’s ba-ack! No, not Arnold, the ex-Governator, and certainly not The Donald, either. But, oh yes, The Gerald – Gerald Thomas, to be exact, the bad boy of Brazilian, American and European theater, and the uncrowned Prince of Puns.”

After a nearly nine-month hiatus, brought on by his near mental and physical exhaustion, along with his annoyance with contemporary theater as a whole, the multi-talented (and multi-national) playwright, producer and stage director has returned to peak avant-garde form by giving “birth,” as it were, to (what else?) a controversial stage vehicle wherein his 9/11 demons are finally confronted and – it is to be hoped – exorcised for all time.

The work in question is the tantalizingly titled Throats – and what a piece of work it is!

To begin with, there’s a superbly realized crucifixion scene (with reverential nods to Monty Python’s irreverent Life of Brian) set in, of all places, the ruins of the World Trade Center Towers. There’s also a recreation, if that’s the right word for it, of the Last Supper (!), in which is unleashed an oral and visual free-for-all; what The New York Times once called “verbal hemorrhage,” and what Thomas refers to as meta-language, i.e. something beyond mere words.

There are hints as well of past stage triumphs, particularly in the disembodied female head resting on the supper table, a disturbing and quite unexpected allusion to his classic Empire of Half Truths, with actress Fernanda Torres, from the early 1990s.

So what does it all mean? Better yet, what does Gerald Thomas’ return mean for the world of the theater?

Fresh from a six-week-long run at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, a secluded London suburb that can only be described as off-off-off-Broadway – about as far from the “Great White Way” as one could possibly get, and from the UK’s West End district – here is The Great Man himself, uncensored and uncut, verbally hemorrhaging in his own inimitable fashion, to shine a lone spotlight on his latest extracurricular accomplishments.

Josmar Lopes – Welcome home, Gerald! Are you glad to be back in the Big Apple?

Gerald Thomas – Am I glad? Joe, I suffer every single day when I don’t wake up with the noise and the smell of this town. You gave me a great intro – for which I’ll be eternally grateful. Do I deserve it? I’ll tell you, there’s always reason (of some kind or another) to moan and groan. But coming home this time was particularly hard because of Ellen Stewart’s death [the late founder of La Mama Experimental Theater in Greenwich Village].

JL – Yes, I was so sorry to hear about her passing. It was an especially hard time for you, I’m sure, since you two were so close. Your Blog tribute to her was very moving. In his column, New York Times’ drama critic Ben Brantley paid her a wonderful compliment for her years of devoted service to up-and-coming artists (such as yourself) and quite a few others besides.

GT – I was going to come back for the service, etc., but Throats was a very demanding rehearsal process (not entirely to my satisfaction). Still, I felt that I should, could and did cry my guts out when I learned of her death in January; but she would have been proud of me, keeping my troops aligned and not skipping rehearsals.

Coming back to being in New York: I can sit for hours looking at the barges and boats and bigger ships float along the East River, where I live. And being back here is almost like being born again because of U.S. politics, my prime interest. You cannot imagine the torture of being stuck with the BBC News revolving [around] the same old and utterly boring stories all day, all night, until dizziness takes over.

JL – There’s never a dull moment! You took a well-deserved break from the theater. Why did you leave it and what brought you back?

GT – I left it because I really had had enough and felt that we (the theater people) had lost ground to a generation of nerds and idiots who Blog, tweet, and text-message each other ABOUT NOTHING, while their ears are covered, insulating them from the realities of the world: them and their iPods, iPads, I-this, I-that. Why did I come back to this craft? Don’t know. Show me evidence that I did.

JL – Well, for one, your newest play Throats is ample evidence of that. What made you decide to stage it in London instead of at La Mama in the Village, or in São Paulo, for that matter?

GT – London is where I learned to be an adult, it’s where I had my first child, it’s where I rented my first apartment and dealt with electricity bills, etc. It’s where I sat, for six years, and studied at the British Museum. Also, what needs to be considered in this equation is that London’s theater scene is amazingly conventional. They are politicized, they deal with Agitprop Theater, but nothing metaphorical or imagetically evocative ever had any ground to hold in London. It took Pina Bausch thirty-odd years to make it across the Channel, and the same goes for [stage director] Bob Wilson. I, though, well, if my return was to be a Parsifal – like proof that I could grab the Holy Grail – then I made it as difficult as possible for myself. And now, after the closing of the play, I was proven right.

JL – Nevertheless, this lengthy “gestation period” did give rise to another vintage Thomas creation. This piece, Throats, has garnered its fair share of criticism, both pro and con.

GT – A fair share of criticism. Indeed. And I must confess that I like all this much ado about nothing. I mean, look at the world. Look at all the shit that’s flying around here in the U.S., with the GOP gaining terrain, with [real estate developer] Donald Trump saying (and getting away with) outrageous claims. Still, people worry about what happens on a stage, or on a canvas, or on some sort of manifestation regarding the arts.

JL – Can you tell me what the play is about? And what is the significance of the title?

GT – Now, I can tell you that Throats isn’t about anything. What does that mean? It means that the same chaos I witnessed on September 11, 2001, in the hole, i.e., the banquet in hell I witnessed, day in, day out, with firefighters, NYPD, police from all over, the Army, etc., all covered in dust and asbestos, burning in hell (all of us, burning in hell), yet trying to sit and have some sort of a meal. I was one of those who served the meals.

JL – A tragic irony, one that you deliberately touched upon in your play. It must have been a true hell on earth for anyone who was there…

GT – Is the play coherent with real events? No, of course not. I take that as a departing point and from there my mind is free to associate and all kinds of thoughts come to mind. And when they do, they need to be staged.

JL – Indeed they do. And much of your work – in fact, I’d say a great deal of it – tends to be autobiographical in nature. This one appears to be no exception.

GT – Precisely. Throats is no exception.

JL – I hear you’re planning to take the play to Brazil. How soon will that take place?

GT – This is my biggest headache at this moment. Touring a play is a nightmare. Some countries can be more nightmarish than others.

JL – Nightmarish in what way, Gerald?

GT – Speaking logistically. São Paulo is quite extraordinary when it comes to organization. SESC [Servio Social do Comrcio – Business Social Service] is one of the best, best organized cultural institutions that I’ve ever been part of. But Munich is chaotic. Most of Austria is chaotic. Not to mention Argentina, one of my favorites, but where the main theaters (such as Colón, San Martin and so on) sometimes DO NOT have electricity and all lights go out during the show. It hasn’t only happened once but almost during every single tour: around ten times or more.

JL – I rather enjoyed Globo News correspondent Silio Boccanera’s thought-provoking interview with you in London (it’s featured on your Blog Orpheus Ascending: Recent Revival of Orfeu in Rio
Brazil: Neither Fish nor Fado Part 3
Brazil: Neither Fish nor Fado Part 2
Brazil: Neither Fish nor Fado Part 1
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 17
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 16
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 15
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 14
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 13
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 12
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 11
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 10
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 9
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 8
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 7
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 6
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 5
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 4
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 3
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 2
Brazil: “Tristeza Não Tem Fim” (“Sadness Has No End”) Part 1
Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 3
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 4
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 3
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 2
Brazil: “Opera” in the Amazon – Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, or The Madness of Foreign Men Part 1
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 5
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 4
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 3
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 2
The Brazilian Beat Goes On: My Own “Best-Of” List of Present-Day Bossa Nova Classics Part 1
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 4
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 3
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 2
Brazil: The “Italian” Composer from Campinas Part 1
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 6
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 5
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 4
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 3
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 2
Bringing People Together: Electronic Voyages to Brazil Part 1
Brecht, Weill & Buarque: The Brazilian Play’s the Thing! Part 2
Misunderstanding Brazil’s National Anthem: A Crash-Course in the Hymn of the Nation
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?

May 10, 2011

Meet Jaya Green who moved to Brazil over 10 years ago. Read the following interview in which he tells us about some of his most memorable experiences 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 from California (Northern) and a self employed cabinet maker, and I love my work, it makes me feel like I’m an artist!

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

I arrived in 1998 in Espirito Santo (Guarapari) as an exchange student. I was tired of high school back home and I really wanted something new. I found out that a friend of mine was going and I made things work out in my favor (earned own money etc).

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

Humid, I remember my hand basically sticking to the handrail coming off the plane. I loved how green it was and also the amazing flowers etc. Also I couldn’t stop looking at all the girls (arrived with sore neck after long car ride).

4. What do you miss most about home?

Family, friends, the summers in the foothills (Yuba River)… oh yeah and Trader Joes, I dreamt that I was shopping there last night, I know I should be embarrassed but…

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

Bureaucracy, everything takes at least 10 times longer. Its completely normal to go to get money and the machine(S) are out of money or broken. You can go to a store to get passport photos and they wont even have a camera because it’s at the other store, or go to the local equivalent of Home Depot and they’re out of black paint to mix my custom paint (all in the same day!). You just have to laugh! I don’t think anybody moves here dreaming about an efficient tropical destiny. Usually that’s what they were trying to get away from (work, work, work).

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

Wow, there are sooooooooooo many! I remember helping the empregadas in the sitio that I was staying peel shrimp and they thought it was the weirdest thing they’d ever seen! I felt like royalty! But since I was raised to help out especially when I was at other peoples houses etc I thought I would do just that.

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

Lots of people always around! The climate, lots of holidays! The soil (just now really getting into gardening here).

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

My house, I pimped it out… hahaha… it’s really comfortable and I’m a Cancer (home body). Oh and my family is awesome!! (me, my wife and our son ;-))

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

Also I remember being on the beach, (Area Preta) with friends and one dude was talking to me in English, and all of a sudden he says pay day”… And I was like, he’s getting his money today? Meanwhile everybody was running away! It didn’t take me long to find out what it meant!

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

Not answered.

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?

Ive been fluent for about 11 years now and what I find the hardest are subtle things like the “o” noise in Portuguese, it’s harder than lets say the “r” which is soo different we pay more attention to it! Also the English words that we are supposed to pronounce with a Brazilian accent, like hamburger!

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

Don’t be afraid to say something wrong, the sooner you get over this fear the quicker you learn! And Brazilians are big on laughing at/with you, don’t take it so seriously. They all really want to help!

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

Dune buggy rides in Natal, when my friends came we loaded up with a cooler of beer since we had a driver, and went from one amazing beach/lake to another!

Jaya is currently living in Nova Parnamirim, in Grande Natal. You can contact him via Jayagreen@hotmail.com

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:

Meredith Noll – USA
Mike Smith – UK
Jan Hillen – Belgium
Arne Rasmussen – Denmark
Don Fenstermaker – USA
Ken Van Zyl – South Africa
Angus Graham – UK
Anne Morddel – USA
Jessica Mullins – Switzerland
Evan Soroka – USA
Mary de Camargo – USA
Brendan Fryer – UK
Aaron Sundquist – USA
Jay Bauman – USA
Alan Williams – USA
Derek Booth – UK
Jim Shattuck – USA
Ruby Souza – Hawaii
Stephan Hughes – Trinidad and Tobago
Louis van der Wiele – Holland
Drew Glaser – USA
Barry Elliott – Canada
Joel Barsky – USA
David Drummond – Canada
Liam Porisse – France
Jim Kelley – USA
Max Ray – USA
Jeremy Clark – Canada
Don Fredrick – USA
Jase Ramsey – USA
Ben Pearce – UK
Nitai Panchmatia – India
Johnnie Kashat – USA
Jeni Bonorino – USA
Eric Jones – USA
Bill Martin – UK
Bernard Morris – USA
John Graves – USA
Deepak Sapra – India
Alison McGowan – UK
Brent Gregory – USA
R Dub – USA
Tara Bianca – USA
Jack Hurley – USA
James Woodward – Canada
Tony O’Sullivan – Ireland
Anna Belavina – Russia
Jim Kirby – USA
Linda Halverstadt – USA
Michelle Monteiro – USA
Chris Mensah – UK
David Sundin – USA
Stephanie Glennon – USA
Julien Porisse – France
Hans Keeling – USA
Jim Adams – USA
Richard Murison – USA
Will Periam – UK
Jan Sandbert – Sweden
Jim Jones – USA
Mike Stricklin – USA
Edward Gowing – Australia
Adrian Woods – USA
Kevin Raub – USA
Pierpaolo Ciarcianelli – Italy
Zachary Heilman – USA
David Johnson – Bermuda
Cipriana Leme – Argentina
Timothy Bell – USA
Patti Beckert – USA
Timothy Bell – USA
Paul James – USA
David McLoughlin – Ireland
Pat Moraes – USA
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