Link to footage of uncontacted Amazon tribe

Deep Brazil has high-quality footage of the uncontacted Amazon tribe recently (re-)revealed to the media worldwide. It’s an interesting concept, that they must be contacted visually for them to have a chance to stay uncontacted physically. Does seeing an airplane affect their belief system or is it just a strange bird?

In 2008, the story came out about this tribe (I’m assuming it’s the same one since they appear to be the same) but it was called a fake lost tribe and dismissed in the media for the fact that it was known (big difference between ‘known’ and ‘contacted’).

Living & Learning (Portuguese)

(some of the books I went through)

I read technology news every morning and this morning I read about why Google wanted to buy local coupon site GroupOn. The woman interviewed said, for Google, it’s much easier to buy into a market than to build up from nothing because with the former, you get a team of people who know what they’re doing and they already understand the market. In effect, paying for something saves time. It got me thinking about some of the things I wish I had not done alone and it turns out that learning Portuguese is one of those things. Sure, some people are impressed when they hear that I learned it on my own but I wonder if that is worth the fact that I probably added on a few years to my goal of reaching fluency by doing it the way I did.

I’m not a believer in the notion that one language can be easy to learn while another can be hard. Some folks even say one romance language can be learned more quickly than another. I beg to differ. All major languages require learning vocabulary and grammar rules, sounds and accents as well as formal and informal speech. On top of that, one needs to have determination, an ability to memorize and the will to be consitent. For these reasons, most of us know how hard it can be to learn Portuguese but also how satisfying every small victory feels, whether it is achieved alone or through someone who is able to give you a well-rounded learning experience.

The road I chose was lop-sided and lengthy since my teacher was myself, nudged along by a stubbornness to really be able to understand Brazil, its people and its culture. Several years ago, I didn’t want to just be a linguistic tourist in the land of the Portuguese language, I wanted to live there. Despite the fact that my first two attempts to actually reside (and more importantly, remain) in Brazil were not successful, I still will myself to live in a world of cedilhas and diphthongs, of half-eaten words and tricky verbs. Even when there’s no one to share a spare interjection with, I end up thinking it anyways.

While I fear I cannot come close to the charm of Olavo Bilac’s poetic description of Portuguese (a última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela: the last flower of Latium, wild and beautiful), I do have my own take on its allure. To me, Portuguese has always been a language of rounded words, the kind that should feel at home in the mouth of the one who speaks it. Being as sonorous and full-bodied as it is, I find myself wanting to always know more and be better.

Seven years passed before I considered myself to be fluent and for at least half of the time, I was hitting the books daily, even when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. Part of me would think, “I’ll do it tomorrow” but the other part replied, “No, you do it now!” Needless to say, the latter part won out and I soon found myself able to read magazines, newspapers and novels with an ever-higher degree of difficulty.

The price of admission for finally learning written Portuguese was that I had let my spoken Portuguese remain pretty much non-existent on account of not having a real teacher. I would listen in on conversations while I hung out with Brazilian expats but their unforced Portuguese sounded to me like one long word. Not being confident enough in my ability to carry on a conversation, even though the foundation was there in my head, I resigned myself to trying to pick out individual words. As the months continued, I started to be able to catch on to the moment when one word would end and another would begin, but by that time, the current conversation I was listening to was either over or on another subject.

There were times when I’d join in, ready to take a linguistic beating if need be. The results were limited but necessary. Pushing boundaries in language-learning is an important part of the process, even if you sometimes push too far. Of course, no one will ever hear me confirm this, but there may have possibly been a few forced laughs and nods of the head when in fact I didn’t get the joke or the idea at hand. Yes, there may have been an “é, né“, an “ah, tá” or a “…tendi” when perhaps I should have said I didn’t understand. It’s hard to know which choice would have been best but I just chalked it up to growing pains.

One choice I’ve always been happy with is when, around 2002, I first picked up a Portuguese-language learning book. All the time in between didn’t turn me into Euclides da Cunha because I still make small intermediate-level mistakes. There’s also more to learn on the advanced side but I’m generally satisfied with how much I’ve learned and to what degree I can navigate a conversation. The one thing that hasn’t changed in all these years is the fact that I still have the same desire for the language. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t either listen to, read, write or speak Portuguese. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.

Originally written for Street Smart Brazil.

Panty Chat – Danielle in Brazil

Over at Danielle’s blog, she discusses Panty Chat, a show from Globo where young women sit around and….well, I’ll let you read her post (see comments, too). I’ll reproduce my comment here, by the way…

“Yeah, you don’t want to understand it, it’s a bit crap. These women encompass what is being called the Female Chauvinist Pig. And sad, it is. There is a show on Globo which is kinda similar to Panty Chat, it’s called Amor e Sexo.”

Wish – Drummond

Wish/Synthesis of Happiness
by Carlos Drummond de Andrade*

I wish for you …
Fruit from the jungle
The scent of the garden
Flirting at the front gate
Sunday without rain
Monday without a bad mood
Saturday with your love
To hear a kind word
To have a pleasant surprise
A full moon
Re-examining an old friendship
To have faith in God
Not having to hear the word ‘no’
Nor ‘never’, ‘never ever’ or ‘goodbye’.
Laughing like a child
Listening to a bird song
To write a poem of love
That will never be torn
To form an ideal pair
Bathing in the waterfall
To learn a new song
To expect someone at the station
Cheese with guava
Sunset on the farm
A feast
A guitar
A serenade
To remember an old love
To always have a friendly shoulder
Clapping with joy
A mild afternoon
To put on old slippers
Sitting in an old armchair
Play guitar for someone
To listen to the rain on the roof
White wine
Bolero by Ravel …
And my great affection.

Apparently, there are two versions, one with a little more cultural reference and the one above. Here’s the former in Portuguese, which also goes by the name “Síntese da felicidade”. Also, this is a poem that has been attributed to Drummond but lacks proper citation*.

Minha Mulher Não Deixa, Não – Reginho

At the risk of being a slight hypocrite (by saying I’m allergic to BS), I’d like to “like” the efforts of Reginho who is doing “tecnobrega” (ie, not tecnobrega, but perhaps produced in the same manner). He’s got a catchy tune with a rather créu-like dance, and in time, of course, for Carnival. Apparently, it’s been a hit for the last two months (and, hey, anything is better than “Rebolation”)


“Olha o Globo!” – Brothers, Biscuits & Beaches

(with Two Brothers in the background)

Ask any beach-going Brazilian that has been to Rio de Janeiro what images come to mind when they think of Rio and I’d bet Biscoito Globo is one of them. The famous doughnut-shaped powder biscuits are as common a sight as the sunbathers in Ipanema applauding the beautiful sunsets, silhouetted by Two Brothers hill. Speaking of brothers, three from São Paulo deserve some applause, too, as they are responsible for another pleasing sight, one that can be sweet, like catching some rays, or salty, like the sea itself.

The brothers’ success lies in the simplicity of their product. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Two flavors – Sweet or salty
  • Easy to recognize – Always the same packaging
  • Easy to open – Good for kids (though bad for those who want to close it, meaning you should eat them all)
  • Strictly word of mouth – No advertising costs and savings passed on to the customer
  • Great with another favorite – Often sold with soft-drink Matte-Leão (and vendors wear Matte-Leão shirts)
  • Easy to remember – Globo is a name everyone knows

The rest is history (or, at least the next part is)…


According to the Biscoito Globo site, it all started in 1953 when, after their parents separated, the three Ponce brothers went to live with their cousin who had a bakery in Ipiranga, in São Paulo. It was there that they learned to make powder biscuits with their cousin, which were sold on the streets of downtown São Paulo.

In 1954, taking advantage of a large religious conference in Rio de Janeiro, the brothers decided to sell their biscuits in the carioca capital. With their recipe for success, the Ponce brothers foresaw that, given the biscuits characteristics, Rio de Janeiro would be the ideal market for what they were selling.

The powder biscuit was given the name Globo in honor of the bakery contracted to make them in Botafogo. The year was 1955 and the biscuits were sold in the Globo bakery and in seven others, owned by the same people. Realizing the large demand for them, the Ponce brothers started to sell them to other bakery chains and in 1963, they formed a partnership with a Portuguese baker, an expert in breads.


There are other positive aspects that accompany a bag of Biscoito Globo, such as the fact that it’s perfect for making one’s stomach believe it’s fuller than it is. After all, who wants to swim on a full stomach? Other associated benefits mean the customer receives something that is low in calories, low in fat, without neither coloring nor preservatives.

The biscuit vendors are called ‘ambulantes‘ and they can buy a package for 60 cents then turn around and sell it for an average price of R$1 on the beach. A pretty good deal where everyone walks away happy. Since the famous snacks don’t contain the aforementioned preservatives, they aren’t sold to the supermarkets, meaning the customers must seek out the individual vendors if they want to get their hands on the biscuits. On the beaches of Rio, that’s not a hard thing to do because the vendors are omnipresent, the packaging is unique (save for a few imitators), and the holler is the same…”Olha o Globo!”

Originally written for Street Smart Brazil.

Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Just a note before you begin. Interesting the ideas of conquering the ‘unknown’, of primitiveness/otherness shown in the silent film.

“In 1913, Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit joined Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon in an expedition to Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest, sponsored by the Brazilian government and the American Museum of Natural History. They explored the recently “discovered” River of Doubt (now named the Roosevelt River) in the Amazon, deep within the interior of the country, in the sparsely populated Rondônia State. The expedition was quite difficult, and Roosevelt nearly died from an infected wound. He published an account of the expedition the following year, entitled Through The Brazilian Wilderness, replete with photographs taken by his son during the trip.” Theodore Roosevelt is on the left.

More Info

Several Pictures – Flickr
Digital Book – World Digital Library

Tal Phrases

A seguir, umas frases e tal ; )
Below, some phrases and stuff

Tal – Such, Like (or Said)
Ex. Falam que tal livro conta a história de nosso povo.
Ex. They say that said book tells the history of our people.

E tal / Coisa e tal – …and stuff / and things like that / etc.
Ex. O livro se trata de dragões e tal.
Ex. The book is about dragons and stuff.

Tal…tal… – Like…like…
Ex. Tal mãe, tal filha.
Ex. Like mother, like daughter.

Que tal… – How about…
Ex. Que tal a gente se encontrar na quarta-feira que vem?
Ex. How about we meet up this Wednesday?

*the title of the post, if written in Portuguese, would be ‘tais frases’ since ‘tal’ becomes ‘tais’ in plural form.