this is me..!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A day adventure in the life of Amy.

I am a firm believer that everyday should be an adventure, whether small or large spending time doing something out of the ordinary can change someones life or your own; this happened yesterday.

I met up with some friends yesterday on Av. Paulista (the main ave. in Sao Paulo) and when I got there I came to find out that they had crashed their car. Well a bus had hit them from behind. Needless to say I got there before the ambulance did and I was riding a bus, only in Sao Paulo.(lol) But this is sad. Then after pointless wondering I decided to go on my way. Of course living by my philosophy I kept wondering the street.

I started to think that I am not really supposed to be a tourist on my stay here. Trying to assimilate is kind of absurd. So what is really left this awkward (there is no translation for "awkard" in Portuguese, by the way) middle spot? I'm a lover of awkward situations and the humor behind it, yet that I doing here? Really living my life here, is not a concept I actually analyzed before coming here. I know that sounds stupid, but I think that I purposely was reluctant to this fact, which does not set harmoniously with my "adventure" philosophy.

While sitting on street corner and contemplating the thought of going home, something caught my attention.

I have been missing my violin like crazy and there was a man on the other side of the avenida playing some Bach. Of course I had to photograph it, this was just a perfect setting. Too perfect.

So then I slowly crossed the street, almost getting run over ( I live on the When I got there I gave the man my change and sat next to him. I expected write an inspiring poem or write something for this blog, but no. The universe had something more interesting in mind.

About five minutes in, this beautiful little girl ran up to the violinist (Leo i later found out) and gave him a real.

I found it rather strange and peculiar that she didn't have shoes on. She laughed. Then sat next to me pickup a paper just sitting on the ground and started to chew on it.

What is going on here? Is this surreal?

"você é mulher de ele?" (are you his woman?)
"Eu moro na rua" (I live on the streets)
"por que?" (why?)
"não sei" ( I don't know)

That was the extent of our conversation.
But then she started again.
"I need to get 50 reais by the end of today or else my mom is going to hit me."
Then she showed me what her mother had done to her a couple of days ago. A horrible cut with badly sown stitches. She could of well been lying to get money out of me, but what if she wasn't? Just what if?

This broke my heart.

We sat in silence for a really long time. What do you ask a homeless girl on the street?

So I did what I always do, I pulled out my camera. Some might think this was a dumb act, but it was the best thing I had done that day. She instantaneously took it out of my hand and begged me to teach her how to photograph.

I wanted to adopt her right then and there. Yes, me, the hater of little children.
She took photographs of everything, little kids other homeless people, the violinist and old ladies and young ladies, the buildings and so forth. People who walked by looked at us with judging, curious and surprised expressions. I wouldn't blame them, I would of probably done the same. She tried playing the violin, then made me play the violin. Thank you Leo.

I hadn't done this adventure thing in a long time, but I knew it would find me.
In Sao Paulo there are a lot of homeless people, like in any other city. Honestly, recently it has been bothering me more and more. Part of the reason I came to South America was to be "uncomfortable" ("american life" was really starting to define me) and I think I found part of what I was looking for. But its not enough.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Tourist Life For ME!

Funny, when someone goes abroad people really want to fit in and not be the typical tourist, well I say " Why NOT!?" People out side of the US are actually really receptive to people from the US (at least in BRAZIL). The treatment received is very helpful and if anything, I think that trying to be like them is kind of insulting, if not insulting but just weird.

Any who, lets begin.

1. ASK where everything is and or located, even if you think you´re on the right way chances are you are not, so ask and ask again. Brazilians are tricky, especially "cariocas", people from RIO. While your at it pull out your dictionary and pronounce every word slowly back to them, then enjoy the expression on their face. Wave your map like its the old red, white and blue.

2. Be LOUD!. REALLY LOUD! Americans can be loud and proud, so do it; BE AMERICAN. Large arm and hand movements and boisterous behavior should be amplified. Blasting onto a foreign scene with your vitality and make the right impression.

3. BRAG and BE SHOWY. Pull out your money and things in public. You might as well yell “I have money and I’m ready to spend it, unless you want to take it from me against my will!”

4. DON'T MIND YOUR PERSONAL SPACE. Why have personal space when you can share with all the people you encounter. When you’re at a counter, for example, spread out your arms; when you’re sitting down on the bus or train, stretch out your legs in a way that might get in someone’s way. Best way to make friends!

5. WEAR YOUR CAMERA AROUND YOUR NECK. When traveling to a foreign country, you are bound to take pictures. Having a camera strap and wearing it around your neck for easy access is a sure way to look like a tourist.

6. ALWAYS ASK FOR KETCHUP. It is a sure giveaway that you are an American tourist. Use the typical condiments in your host country of course, and if you don’t like them or can’t bear to eat without your American condiments, bring your own! Take small packets with you to use.

7. DON'T EAT LOCAL FOOD. Find the nearest McDonald's, and if there isn't one near, your in the wrong country.

8. REQUEST DECAF. Enough said.

9. INSIST on drinking “Coke” with every meal.

10. WEAR ODD SOCKS AND BASEBALL CAPS. While your add it, fanny packs are rather stylish.

*these have been done in front of or have been seen in front of the writer*
**these comments do not accurately represent the writer's point of view, rather her horrible sarcastic humor.**

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bus Ride From Hell.

While enjoying São Paulo's traffic for two hours today I experienced the city in a different way. Through the small window my eyes saw into the outside of the oven on wheels, I call hell. After staring for a half an hour into the streets, I began to analyze my uncomfortableness with São Paulo and so it began.

I thought to myself in a rather disturbing, split-personality, sort of way: "People all have completely different ways of thinking and rationalizing different situation which happen to arise at their feet. Now it takes a remarkable individual to assess the situation and discriminate one bad thought from the other. A weaker less educated individual will follow their instinct on a certain act or thought. Yet the average non- caring paulista will rather not think of any situation that doesn't involve them personally. This is a matter of culture and survival mode perhaps a mix of ignorance."

With this rather complicated situational thought in mind, I really looked out the window.

While passing different stores, shops and vendors I realized something completely disturbing. Within a 3block radius I saw a meat store, fake Channel vendor, an herb stand and a Tiffany & CO. Perhaps a normal thing for the regular paulista, I mean this is their turf.

But why was this so disturbing, why did this bother me so much?
What is the common factor? Why are they all on the same street and really close to each other?

So a common factor that linked these "vendors" was the common thread to make money, the city of São Paulo, good location for selling, for the most part trying to make a living, selling goods and so forth. Other than these simple differences, what do they have in common? Tiffany vendor wouldn't be caught dead talking to herb vendor, would he/she? Why?

Class inequality is something that the rich, politicians and people in general have taken advantage of in Brazil. The rich to make money and stay rich, the politicians to 'win' votes and make the quota, and the average person to help or destroy their self esteem/confidence. This as a foreigner (that has been taught that everyone is the same no matter what kind of financial situation they are in) sickens me, yet I am merely a judgmental observer.

The vendors have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that one may not know the other exists. Or, one may not care that the other exists.

Based on these judgments, I defer to the conclusion that perhaps the original theory was incorrect, perhaps they are linked in more ways that I expected it to be. Doubt.

Is it fair to make these assumptions, after all assuming does make an ass of you and me. Similarities are sometimes seen as coincidences and I laugh, because I am believer that everything does happens for a reason. Perhaps meat shop man does frequent Tiffany's and maybe Channel vendor is best friends with herb vendor, dreadlocks or not.

Just perhaps.

After no more than 4hours of sleep, too much thinking doesn't to a body good. Random blabber isn't a adequate state of mind to be paralleling city observations to personal problems. São Paulo traffic is probably one of the worst in the world, at least South America. And once your stuck, you are stuck. Today was the first day that I was really stuck in REAL traffic. I didn't mind it, because I didn't really have anywhere specific to be. Thank you São Paulo traffic your the best.

By this time in my thought I looked down at my phone/watch and only a half hour had passed by. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dignity Does Not Exisit South of the Equator.

Carnaval is the crazy time before the lent that gives the excuse for people to party like its 1999 (will2k). My favorite memories are told through pictures.

Memories are endless and regrets are almost equal to zero. People from all over the world come to Brazil to experience not only the best MardiGras on earth but the most (non)memorable. For me I was part of the action in a different way, I "desfile" (marched in a parade)which includes but not limited to dancing, parading around in a costume, sweating your butt off, and having an intense tons of fun. This happened in the official Sambodromo with "fantasias" and the whole shebang.

After my ridiculously tiring night dancing in a huge parade, that doesn't have a real way to described it occured to me that Brasil has really commercialized Carnaval in a absurd way.

All in all the experience is one that I will never forget. The sound of the drums will forever be engraved in my musical memory..."el batuque faz la vila magdalenda..." Yes.

After dancing in my fat costume I preceded to hitch a ride to a little town called
São Luís do Paraitinga. The logo says "Destino Aventura," but the truth is the main adventure lies within the streets during Carnaval. Which is aided by different types of drinks. Need I say more?

Sao Luis has the traditional street Carnaval, not like in a Sambodoromo so all kinds of people mix. But a person can only take so much of a Carnaval.

Soon after, my bus (GOSTOSO & DELICIA de bus) headed to Rio. Yes Rio de Janeiro. Relaxation was in need after a mind/Carnaval whirlwind had raped my mind. There are no regrets just mainly new interesting ideas on what life is or could be in Brasil.