O meu irlandês sobre o Brasil - 2ª edição - parte I


Como prometido, aqui está o post que o meu querido R. escreveu sobre a nossa segunda visita ao Brasil. Eu dividi o post em 3 partes porque são vários assuntos e, ao contrário da outra vez, em que traduzi os quatro posts dele, resolvi não traduzir dessa vez. Primeiro porque acho tradução um trabalho do cão e não farei jus à qualidade da escrita dele na língua original; segundo porque ora bolas, google translator tá aí pra quê, né, minha gente? Não editei absolutamente nada e as palavras/frases em português no meio do texto foram ele que escreveu, ok?


opinião irlandês sobre o brasil


Oi gente!

It’s R. here again – Bárbara asked me whether I’d be interested in writing about Brazil for a second time, so I figured why not?  While my Portuguese has improved a little since that time, I still can’t speak or write all that much, so I’ll have to rely on Bárbara to translate for me.

The last time I wrote here it was following my first visit to Brazil, so the differences between Ireland and Brazil really stood out.  On this occasion, things were much more familiar to me – no big surprises.  As a result, this text will instead discuss more minor differences between Ireland and Brazil that struck me – some of these I noticed on my first trip and omitted from the posts from that time.

Car alarms

In São Paulo I frequently heard car alarms going off.  In and of itself, that’s not so strange – it’s a big city with lots of cars, hence alarms are more likely to be heard.  What is a bit weird to me is the sound they make – in Ireland most car alarms make a simple repeating siren that doesn’t change.  However in Brazil I heard car alarms that had 5 or 6 different sounds – it would play one type for a few seconds, and then switch to another, then another and so on.

I’m left wondering why this is the case – perhaps it’s to make them stand out from other types of alarms (seems to work), make it a little less irritating to other listeners (if so, it doesn’t work) or perhaps just to try to get more attention (again, I don’t think that works either).  Also, when I heard car alarms, they frequently were running for much longer than I usually hear in Ireland.
One theory I have is that the alarms were being set off inadvertently by people – perhaps by having more sensitive triggers.  In Ireland, car alarms mostly tend to go off for a short amount of time if a person doesn’t lock their car properly, or tries to open it without unlocking it, in which case they switch off the alarm pretty quickly.

So yeah, car alarms – not exactly an earth-shatteringly significant observation, but it was something that caught my attention which I thought I’d share.

Light bulbs and shades

Another thing I noticed in Brazil is how bright the lights are in houses and many businesses.  I saw that CFL bulbs and other modern types are used almost universally instead of the older incandescent bulbs which are less energy efficient, but still commonplace in Ireland.  Don’t get me wrong – lots of places in Ireland use the modern types too, but it’s still pretty normal to see the old ones.  I don’t think I saw a single old style bulb in Brazil.  However, as I mentioned, the bulbs that are used there seem to be very bright in general, with very white light.  In Ireland the lights tend to look a bit more yellow and the colour is a little easier on the eyes – or at least mine.  Also, in Ireland we use lamp shades on ceiling lights – this seems to be less common in Brazil.

Automatic lights in toilets

In keeping with my illuminating insights (let’s see if that pun translates), I noticed that the lights in restaurant bathrooms are often activated by a motion sensor when the person enters.  This is not specific to Brazil, but seems to be much more common there than in Ireland.  It’s a good idea to save electricity – that is, assuming that the energy used by the motion sensor doesn’t use much itself.

 Despite this, in most cases the sensor seems to be set up in such a way that:

1. The light stays on for a stupidly short amount of time, forcing you to wave around to trigger it,
2. The sensor can’t see you from your position inside the toilet while you are using it, forcing you to move around, or
3. Both :)

Coisa de português, não é???

Flushing toilet paper

While I’m on (the subject of) the toilet, any visitor to Brazil should be advised well in advance that plumbing in Brazil is different to that in Europe, and that in general toilet tissue should not be flushed:

R. So where does it go?
B. In the bin of course!
R. But... doesn’t it smell bad?
B. Generally not.  It’s in the bin
R. But... doesn’t the bin get dirty?
B. Mostly not, but it does need to be cleaned if that happens
R. I don’t know about this... it might not work out between you and me

Bárbara did tell me about this before our first trip, and it takes some getting used to.  Even then, I forgot a couple of times on this latest visit.  Toilets are a place where cultural differences are often less than charming.  I’m pleased to say that although it shocked me when I first heard about it, in practice it was fine – although the positioning of the bin usually leaves something to be desired (how are you supposed to reach it all the way over there???).  Nevertheless, it’s one thing from Brazil that I’m happy to leave where it is :)
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