Sunday, 14 February 2010

Brazilian Habits

When Brazilians leave their home, they carry folding chairs with them.

The first time I became aware of this was in Teresina, Piaui. It was a Sunday and the town was deserted. I was about to cross an empty square when I saw a man park his car, get out, open the trunk and take out a folding chair which he put on the pavement. He then sat there by himself watching what was going on which, at that time, wasn't much. He was in his sixties and didn't really understand my curiosity as to why he was doing what he did. He thought my asking him strange, I thought his behaviour strange. Well, that was then. By now I have spent enough time in Brazil to stop wondering why somebody would park his car in the middle of nowhere, take out a folding chair and then sit there drinking beer, chimarrão or whatever. It is just what Brazilians do.

I have also seen people putting their chairs on the pavement right in front of their house. For quite some time I've found this rather peculiar. I mean, why would anybody prefer to sit on the boardwalk (exposed to exhaust fumes) and block the way of Swiss pedestrians as well as Brazilian cyclists when (s)he could sit comfortably at home and enjoy watching TV?
This is the way I see it: at home you're alone, on the street you are among others, and to sit out there is an invitation to chat - one of the all-time favourite Brazilian pastimes.

3 comments:

Débora Mel said...

I don't think it's quite right to generalize like that. I'm Brazilian and I never met someone who did that. Brazil is huge. There's so many kinds of people it would amaze you. It's like saying that all Americans are the same.

=D

Hans Durrer said...

Well, Débora, I do love generalisations and, at the same time, do not take them really seriously.

Liliana said...

If you go to the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, you will see that as well. Hahahaha. I tell you why, as I come from there. It's much interesting sitting on the street, where you can observe people, than staying inside the house.