By Ed Catchpole
August 20, 2013

Based on the Pass Notes series in the Guardian newspaper, here is part 1 of Ed’s version for Brazil.

Age: 513 years old

Description: Hot country in South America

I&#145m totally going to Brazil, what’s it like? Well, the first thing you need to know it is very, very big.
How big? Like at its widest point, equivalent in distance as London to Tehran… that big.

Yikes! Looks like my day trip from Recife to Rio is off the cards then. I&#145m afraid so. It would take you three days and nights to drive there, something like London to Morocco, but on worse roads.

Crikey, better take a plane… OK, what else, brush up on my Spanish? No, they speak Portuguese in Brazil.

Same thing right? Not really, Portuguese is probably closer to Italian than Spanish.

But at least those Salsa lessons should come in handy? Sorry, they don&#145t dance Salsa in Brazil; they dance Samba in the South East and Forro in the North East.

For who? Forro. It is derived from the English words For All” from a time when British employees of railway companies based in Brazil invited the Brazilians to their annual dinner and dance.

You&#145re making this up. Nope. You dance with a partner to the sound of an accordion, triangle and bass drum.

You mean to tell me that British Rail invented a Brazilian dance. No, at the time it was called the Great Western Railway Company of Brazil Limited and they didn&#145t invent it they just invited the locals who provided the music.

OK, so I&#145m dancing Forro and speaking Portuguese. What’s next? Next we go to the beach. Brazilians take the beach very, very seriously.

Ah, come on going to the beach is easy; anorak, thermos flask… maybe take the dog. Not so fast, Brazilians use the beach to show off, look at each other, drink and maybe take a dip in the ocean. There are no anoraks involved.

Take a dip in the ocean, I could totally do that! OK, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Remember some beaches in Brazil have big waves, dive under them like the locals as you stride out to sea. Please don&#145t get knocked over by a big wave and then stagger around the beach covered in sand, blowing snot bubbles out of both nostrils… especially if you are sitting next to me.

No snot bubbles. Check! All this beach action is making me thirsty. What’s the local brew? Cachaa.

Ka-who-ha? Ca-cha-a

Right. How does that work? Its sugar based distilled liquor.

A bit like rum then. Nooo, never tell the Brazilians that Cachaa is like rum, they get very, very upset.

What’s the difference? Bagasse.

You can&#145t speak to me like that! Bagasse is the name given to the vestiges of crushed sugar cane. With rum it is thrown into the vat to be distilled along with the cane juice, with Cachaa it is not included. It makes for a cleaner taste apparently.

OK, I&#145ve got my Cachaa what’s next? Next we make a Capirinha.

This is getting complicated… Capi-who-ha? Try to keep up, a Capirinha. It is made with Cachaa, lime juice, sugar and crushed ice.

Sounds lovely, I&#145ll have one. Me too… make mine a double.

Don’t say: Rum and coke please.

Do say: Oba! Capirinhas para tudo mundo!

Previous articles by Ed:

The United States of Brazil
Brazil: Don’t Stop the Party
Brazil: Super Toucans and Little Freddy Seaside
Brazil: Adventures in Portuguese

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