A quem interessar possa

quinta-feira, julho 28, 2005


Whenever I say I would like to live permanently in Canada, people ask me what is the biggest problem of Brazil. It´s really just as hard to find the worst as it is to find the best thing about Brazil. But I´ve just come up with a very good exemple. It's a very long reasoning and it may sound like bullshit in the beginning, but I hope it will make sense on the long run.

In countries such as US and Canada, men might release their "excess of masculinity" by buying big cars or guns. In Brazil the people who can´t afford a big car and (fortunately) are not allowed to have a gun may buy a fierce dog or build up their bodies. After several disasters involving people being seriously injured by pit bulls being walked unleashed without any security measures, it was time for the law to interfere.

Since laws are seldom respected in Brazil, the typical way of showing the people our polititians are going to work is creating strict laws with severe penalties for those who don't follow it. In this case, the "solution" was a law restricting pit bulls to be walked at night only, always wearing a gag. If gags and leashes do what they are made for, than why should there be a time restriction? It doesn´t matter, in Brazil the law doesn't need to make any sense, what matters is that it looks serious.

Now comes the fun part. There is a breed that might represent a much greater danger worldwide than any dog: Lawyers. Using previous emmendments or animal rights, many dog owners are now free to walk their beasts at any time, without gags nor leashes, "but they´re all very sweet and harmless, they will only attack those who really ask for it". I´m sure the 7 year old kid in the hospital now was really asking for it.

People might find it weird that I will give such a big importance to this issue, since I have never been that interested in dogs. That was just an example of what is the role of the law in this country. Now imagine the same thing going on in politics and business. This is Brazil.

terça-feira, julho 26, 2005

more bored fiction: Customs

-Your name please.
-Matias Couto
-That´s not what is written on your passport.
-Matias Andrade Martins Couto then.
-Which is your christian name and which is your family name? Your passport does not specify.
-Christian name: Matias, family name: Andrade Martins Couto
-What name do you use most frequently?
-Well...Matias Couto, I´ve told you in the first place.
-Will you be patient, sir? Why did you not fill the field "purpose of your trip to USA"?
-I don´t have a purpose, I´m on transit to Brazil.
-Then you should write "transit to Brazil".
-Ok, here it is.
-You should also write the address where you´re staying in America.
-I'm staying right here in the airport.
-Then you should also write "transit to Brazil"
-ok, ok...
-What is the purpose of your trip to Brazil?
-I LIVE there!!
-What was the purpose of your trip to Canada?
-I notice you´ve been to Europe before going back to Brazil. Why did you go there?
-I was just visiting, on vacation.
-Have you been to London around the 6th of july?
-No, I was in Canada by then.
-Was your passport issued in Brazil?
-It´s a question sir, is there a problem?
-There have been too many already!
-There WILL be more. Can you please open you carry on allowance?
-Do I have a choice?
-You can stay in Canada and miss your flight.
-Go on then.
-There are many condoms here sir, they were made in april this year. Looks like you haven´t been very successfull lately.
-That´s my problem, sir. Thank you for the remark.
-You have 6 here, they usually come in packages of 12, who did you use the other 6 with?
-That´s none of your business!
-Was it with a woman?
-Did you use them to assemble explosives or transport drugs to Brazil in your stomach?
-Does it really make sense to you that someone would smuggle drugs from Canada to Brazil?
-Was it for explosives then?
-What was it used for sir?
-What do YOU use them for?
-Will you calm down sir? I´m the one who makes questions here. I´ll let this one go. What is in those cans?
-Maple Syrup, it is written on the label.
-I can read sir. You can´t smuggle canadian maple syrup.
-I´m not smuggling, it´s for myself!
-Will you eat 6 cans of maple syrup by yourself?
-On the long term, yes.
-You will have to leave 3 of them here, maximum allowed is 3.
-Ohhh... what will you do with it?
-Noooooooo... this is good maple syrup! Keep is for yourself, but don´t throw it away!
-Are you trying to bribe me?
-Bribe you for what?
-I´m not sure about those condoms...I´ll have to take you to the x-ray examination room.
-What!!?? No, this has to be a joke. It´s absurd!

That day, Matias was arrested with 4 other latin american men, each carrying around 70 latex condom pellets in their stomachs, the condoms were filled with maple syrup. American and Canadian authorities keep their united effort to stop the international traffic.

segunda-feira, julho 04, 2005

About beer, cheese, diamonds, waffles, comic books and raw meat

Here I am, writing a late post about my trip to Belgium. Going to belgium was a very important part of my trip and I´m glad to have finally met this wonderful country.

It´s very common for some countries who don´t have an exclusive language to be compared to their neighbours. Canada is compared to US, Argentina to Uruguay, Belgium to France and Netherlands, Brazil to... err, no that´s an exception. I think Belgium feels more similar to Netherlands than to France, but maybe that´s just because I never got to know Netherlands or France or Belgium that well.

I found out on the first day that I had been very lucky to find an unusual good weather in Belgium. I never got to know the cloudy rainy usual days the belgians have to put up with. I was blessed with sunny warm days all along. I was also lucky to be hosted by Gaël and his family, which allowed me to know a lot more about the belgians.

The things I saw can be seen here in pictures, but the things I ate, drank and learnt unfortunately cannot be shared that easily. I´ve seen the cities of Braines l´Alleud (where Gaël lives), Antwerp, Brugges, Liège and Brussels. In Liège I saw a Techno Parade and realized once again why the Carnaval in Brazil is so famous worldwide. I also learnt in Liège that people get drunk and stupid everywhere in the world, not only in subdeveloped countries.

I also learnt there is no arguments for certain matters: Belgian beer is hors concours. I really loved Canadian beer, but belgian beer has really knocked my expectations. Belgian waffels are also very good but I admit it made miss maple syrup and two persons in Brazil who bake waffels just as delicious as those I found in Brugges and Brussels. Competition is the key to improvement.

Well, this post didn´t come out as interesting as I had planned. I think I should go pack. Tomorrow I´m returning to Canada, and since I don´t have an Internet connection there, you should not expect to have posts that frequently anymore. Back in Brazil on july 23!

domingo, julho 03, 2005

AAhh, really loved the water pumps in Antwerp, you quench your thirst and you make exercise turning the wheel! Posted by Picasa

The city of Antwerpe, as you can see, has very well kept squares. The whole europe, in fact, will be a lot prettier once I have left.  Posted by Picasa

This is in the Diamondland. No free samples unfortunately. Funny how they have a gun store right in front of it. Most diamonds in the world go through Antwerpe, where they are dealt by people with very weird haircuts. A good hairdresser in Antwerpe must be very expensive. The most important factors in a diamond are CCCC, I think it stands for Carat (weight), Cut, Colour, Clarity, but there sure are better interpretations, I�ll leave those to the readers. Posted by Picasa

We went to Ruben�s house, but he was not home, and we could not take pictures inside. So we took one ilegally, I like to live dangerously, you know. Posted by Picasa

This is the famous Butcher�s House. Half kilo of ground meat please. Posted by Picasa

This is Steer, the fortress where the canadian army freed the city during WWII. Posted by Picasa

The little men are looking at the giant, but I can�t tell at which part of the giant�s body. Posted by Picasa

A beer store, for tourists, I imagine, with over 180 brands of beer. And that�s not the biggest I�ve seen. Oh how I miss skol, bavaria, antartica, etaipava, xixicariol (add some sarcasm here, please)  Posted by Picasa

The Hero, holding the giant�s hand. Posted by Picasa

And the sculpture is also a waterfountain. Very convenient on warm and sunny days. If only there were more of that in Belgium (sunny days, I mean...) Posted by Picasa

The City Hall. The legend says the city was founded after some guy cut off the hands of a giant and threw it in the river. Very good story :c| Posted by Picasa

The Antwerpe Cathedral took a very long time to be built. Posted by Picasa

Second day: Antwerpe, the city of diamonds. The train station is an attraction itself. The city is the stage of the first scenes in the film Snatch (with the rabbies, remember?) Posted by Picasa

That�s nice! Posted by Picasa

This is what the belgian countryside looks like. Now I notice the dustbin makes me a bit homesick. Posted by Picasa

This is the lion, I would need a really powerfull zoom to get a view from a better angle, so no complaints here please. Posted by Picasa

It is tall indeed. This round house on the bottom is a 360 degrees painting of the battlesight, which we didn�t really want to check. Posted by Picasa

This is the Butte du Lion, we have a lion on the top of an obelisc to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon on the battle of Waterloo, that took place here, in Waterloo (daaah). Actually, we�re still in Braines l�Alleud, but you can�t really give such a long name to a battle. The Obelisc, however was covered by an artificial hill, like a cone of dirt covered with grass. Looks very big when you�re in a flat country like the Walonnie. Very good sight! Posted by Picasa

I was hosted all the time with my friend Ga�l and his very kind Family. And we had a great time! Posted by Picasa