I am in Rio de Janeiro, which appears to be pronounced as in my title by the Cariocas (people who live here, I don~t know why they aren~t called Rio de Janeirians – oh wait, now I do). I~m borrowing a computer – it is clearly a computer with some sort of crazy Brazilian voodoo put on it, since most of my typical punctuation marks are not what they are supposed to be. For instance, this is what comes up when you hit the question mark key :
It~s been . . . a trip. I have several more days. Wireless doesn~t appear to work anywhere for me, so I~ll post pictures and details later. It~s been good, bad, and ugly, but I~ve settled in at this point. I was troubled at first to be in a country where not a single person speaks a single word of English (except here in the university). Luckily, two of our group speak some limited Portuguese, so I have been able to rely on them somewhat and also to learn a great deal. I can now, for example, as for sparkling water in a restaurant (agua com gas, which sounds like awa coh-eeeng geydzhe) and also recharge my Metro card (por favor recharge, which sounds like he-ka-ga). It~s the pronunciation that~s wack down here – wack to our ears at least – and it makes it hard for a non-speaker to guess the letters in the words that people are saying, which makes it hard for ME anyway to have any kind of guess at the meaning.
Anyway. People come up to me all the time speaking in Portuguese, so I must look like I belong here. I~m finding my way, hungry most of the time (too afraid to make any transaction by myself, without an interpreter!), and very tired all of the time (not enough sleep), and meeting lots of people and seeing lots of things and bathing my blisters in the cold shower at night. I can~t wait to tell you all about it – with pictures! I also can~t wait to squeeze my boys again – all three. I have not been able to call home, so we just communicate by email, which is fine. But I~ll be glad when we are close again – being so far from them has been surprisingly difficult for me. I know they~re fine, but I rest more easily when I am in a position to swiftly swoop in and come to the rescue if they get in trouble.
In any cse, I~m off to brave the wide world out there and try to convey to someone who doesnt~speak my language that I am desperate for coffee and a muffin of some kind.