By Maria A Petit
February 20, 2013
TGIF (American slang for Thank God its Friday) was lingering in the air last Friday as it symbolized the beginning of ‘Carnaval’. Although most people had already left early from work to their ‘Carnaval’ destinations, mostly to the north or Rio de Janeiro. For those running away from ‘Carnaval’ they escaped to Punta del Este in neighboring Uruguay. I however decided to stay in São Paulo not sure what to expect.
A São Paulo expat veteran was not reassuring of the idea and I quote him The entire city empties out, you might as well use this time to get organized and watch a movie.” Well I’ll be darned if I stayed home to watch a movie during ‘Carnaval’ and Jaime, The J in JAM felt the same way! Luckily we had been tipped off by our friend Allan Conalves from Kekanto about a bloco (street party and parade) starting at 7PM on Rua Augusta. By 6PM it started to pour down cats and dogs and by 6:30PM Jaime was on the phone with her husband Tim with an urgency that would make a life and death emergency seem tame “Where are you?! What? You’re still at work?! It starts at 7PM!! Come home NOW!”.
And so it was, umbrellas in hand we were off to the bloco in the pouring rain. We arrived for 7:15PM to only a few people on the street, a lot of policeman and a giant truck with music blasting. And then we waited because we obviously forgot Brazilians are on Brazilian time. By 9PM the scene quickly started to unravel with people arriving in crowds, free beer pouring from a truck, people spraying each other with shaving cream and giveaways (t-shirts and ridiculous inflatable props sponsored by Skol) tossed from the main truck.
During our waiting time Jaime spotted a divine creature from heaven that must have spent the entire year working out his body for this occasion. (A lot of guys work out during the months leading up to carnival just so they can look amazingly hot, its almost competitive). We also each drank one beer and 5 shots of tequila (later to prove the perfect formula for such an adventure). Upon the arrival of the ‘bateria’ (Percussionists) we started parading down Rua Augusta (from Paulista) destined for Centro to the Teatro Municipal. Like a moth to a flame I stuck to the bateria, which was perfect because Tim and Jaime always knew where they could find me.
And then it happened, in the middle of the chaos I encountered that divine creature from heaven and before I knew what was on, we were kissing. Followed by “Can I have your phone number?” “Sure” I replied, who would say no to that?! He followed it up with “I’m going to call you tonight” to which I responded “I don’t have my phone on me” to which he responded “no, no no, I have to reach you tonight” to which I responded “Tranquilo (Portuguese for calm down), you can still call me tomorrow.” To which he responded “No, no, no I can’t because my wife returns tomorrow”. OMG! (American slang for ‘Oh my God’)! Shameless!!! He pulled a Brazilian on me! Gross! Since married men are definitely not my scene, I spent the rest of the evening running away from him. However, he eventually caught up with us and his opening line was “Just 5 minutes, come with me for just 5 minutes.” I had no intention of entertaining his request but honestly 5 minutes?!! So I egged him on and replied “5 minutes?!! I need more than 5 minutes!!” To which he replied “Ok. Ok… 10 minutes!!” Jaime, Tim and I could not stop laughing! We were like but “You’re married” and he was like “Mas Carnaval, so Brasileiro!” (But Its ‘Carnaval’ and besides I’m Brazilian).
Maria is a Venezuelan-born American living in São Paulo, Brazil. She has a BA in Finance, Multinational Business and Spanish from Florida State University. She initiated her career at Motorola Inc. as their Europe, Middle East and Africa MDb Commercial Director, leaving in 2009. This was followed by an 18 month sabbatical during which she Co-Founded JAM Language Ltd., studied Arabic and taught English in Sana’a, Yemen, played polo in Argentina and Mexico, in addition to travel stints in Jordan, Spain, USA, Norway, Kenya and Morocco. She returned to Dubai, UAE in 2010 joining Al Habtoor Trading Enterprises as Commercial Director until Spring 2012. Her languages of choice are English, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese. Most recently she co-founded SP Night Market. Maria oversees Sales and Marketing for JAM Language Ltd. Contact Maria at email@example.com