my stay in brazil has been quite good. lots of new contacts made, several new friends and certainly an introduction to another vital culture. tonight a group of us went out karaokeing, and zack even got up and offered a rendition of new york new york with a few of the guys. the place also had a bowling alley, a pool hall and a dance club with a live band playing.
the taxi ride home was a bit of an adventure: the taxi driver that was driving zack and myself didn't know how to get to the hotel and had to stop to ask for directions. at one point as we were going through a small neighbourhood street with lots of graffiti everywhere and he slows down a bit, honks his horn and turns on an interior light. we were a little concerned about whether we were going to end in an "interesting" situation, but all was well. apparently just saying 'hi' to someone in one of the houses.
something else we noticed was the disparity between rich and poor here. there are slum neighbourhoods in the city made up of houses built out of corrugated tin and scavenged wood that are densely packed around small winding dirt trails. we passed one such settlement every day on the way to the fisl event.
other things i've learned about brazil:
0) there are certainly pretty women here, but not as many as i was led to believe by media back home. rather it seems the distribution is normal. =)
1) eating a dinner meal at 02:00 am: normal
2) bowling (or doing just about anything) at 02:00 am: normal
3) you pay your bar tab at a club on the way out. they give you a card on the way in and when you order a drink it gets recorded on this card. you clear your debt at the door.
4) walk signals on streets don't mean much of anything. watch out for cars going through the red light even if it says "walk".
5) they know how to pour a drink here
6) bbq has been perfected here (and i thought the koreans had that title, with south africans coming in close behind). this has come at the expense of vegetarian cuisine, however ;)
7) people are easy going, but knowing portuguese is a -definite- plus
8) it's a friendly place where there is much fun to be had
i hope to come back again next year and perhaps meet up with some of the people i met for the first time this year.