Wednesday, February 09, 2005


photos & cia

I've heard the word cia translated as "conversation" and here in Brazil it seems like every other restaurant or shop is called "____ & Cia". Like "Sorvete & Cia" (Ice Cream and Conversation) or "Frango & Cia" (Chicken and Conversation). I recently figured out the secret of inserting photos in my text, so unlike past photo dumps these pictures will be commented along the way rather than just all coming in a pack at the end: hence "Photos & Conversation". My blogging skills are now unmatched.

I've once again been having trouble keeping up with all the things I might like to say. I still have several untouched topics on the Forum (microfinance among them!) but, in the meantime, Carnaval has happened. For those who might not know, Carnaval is a 6-day nationwide party involving nearly nonstop parading, drinking, dancing, and sex. I was lucky enough to get a bad cold just in time for Carnaval, probably from overexertion at the Forum, which made Carnaval all the more fun. Also there were torrential downpours the last two days. There are stories, and they are coming some day soon.

In the meantime, I'm due to clear out the dustbin of old photos. I'll do it thematically-ish.

The first theme is people in funny costumes. For some reason in our house people are always being made to put on funny costumes, which is one of the reasons I like living here. First we have my friend Paizão (which I should mention means "Big Daddy") wearing a dress and pretending to be pregnant.

Next up are three gringos (Sharon, Lisa, and Manuel) wearing the fantasias for Cortejo Afro. During Carnaval, a good way to go out without getting physically crushed is to join a bloco, which is basically a bunch of people all dressed in the same silly outfits (fantasias) all grouped around a Mack truck with giant speakers, protected by an outer ring of people with a cord who will only let in people with such costumes, all moving down the road at about 1000 feet an hour. I joined Cortejo Afro because I know several people who play with them (Márica and Paizão among them), but unfortunately this meant wearing these costumes all the time. Note the red feather in the hat. According to many people, I looked like some wannabe sheik. There is sadly no quality picture of me in the costume.

And finally there is a combo picture, taken today, of our gringo friend Mike wearing the fantasia of Ilê Aiyê and playing a berimbau, while Márcia wears my clothes and tries to look "American".

The next theme is the tiny weak little kitten that Márcia picked up on the street and that lived with us until recently, when he was farmed out to Márcia's mom's house. This cat was about the size of a large hamster, and significantly less charming. It had been abandoned by its mom and Márcia, ever the champion of underdogs (cats?) and lost causes, couldn't just pass it by. It lived in the box my parents sent my birthday presents in, and screeched all the time. It could hardly walk, spilled milk everywhere every time we tried to feed it, had a tail that looked like it had been sat on my an elephant. Every day I was certain it would die. We came to call it gatinho chatinho, which rhymes and means "annoying little cat". Here Márcia feeds the bugger, and I hold him in one hand.

Next there are some photos from my all time favorite theme, which is Márcia doing stuff. In the first picture she talks on two cellphones at once, not at all in jest.

Next we have Márcia coming home drunk one night and demonstrating how she had just danced with a girl and kissed her, using of course a chair as the girl-substitute.

Oh wait, my photo-blogging has been interrupted in midstream. I just made the silly mistake of upgrading Hello, the program I use to post photos, to the new version. Silly me, I thought maybe it might go faster. Now it doesn't work at all. Remind me never to update a program that is working fine. So no more photos for now, but hopefully I'll work it out soon.

UPDATE: Someone had given me a bad translation. Cia doesn't mean conversation at all. Instead, it's like the "Co." in "& Co." So disregard this entire post.

I know the point of the kitten story was that it was annoying, but the picture of it is super cute and was appreciated by my sucker self and all the gay men in my office. Maybe if you encountered more Brazilian street kittens and fewer tragic Brazilian street kids, your blog would be cuter. Just a helpful tip.

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