Wednesday, January 12, 2005

brazilian t-shirts

12 Jan more or less

One of the amusing things about the third world is the t-shirt in english. Of course, the wearer of the shirt often hasn´t the foggiest idea what the t-shirt says and, I must say, I often don´t understand them exactly either. Yesterday there was a guy waiting for the bus with a t-shirt which said ``Freshness!`´. Another with `´Hard Flip`´ (pronounced rgee fleepee in portuguese) Later I saw a tall beautiful blonde girl swaggering along with `´Enjoy`´ printed across her breasts. I suspect that she may have completely understood that subtle message. Anyhow, this whole t-shirt thing makes for great sport and something to do while you´re just hanging around.

Went down to the `´Camelodromo`´ yesterday with Jorge and Mauricio.You take the metro to Uruguiana and when you exit, you´re in Paraguay. Everything you can imagine has been illegally imported and is sold at bargain prices. If it makes you feel any better, monsters like sony and microsoft are getting ripped off by the millions here. The deal is that a new video game here costs about $R 200. The minimum wage is $R 300. A pirate copy is $R 25. Do the math. The place is huge. They have everything. If you want to take souvenirs such as t-shirts back home, this is a good place to start. It´s easy to get to and away from and almost all merchants take plastic. Very safe but don´t take your wallet or any of the other stuff that draws attention. And remember, if they ask ``Where are you from?``, it´s Japan. Shortens the follow up conversation.

Went to Suzano´s class at 2000. This class is kind of at a bad time as it interferes with my usual musical adventures but it´s definitely worth it. Suzano is really a prince of a guy. Very patient. Likes everyone. Last night was much better in that the school built up a stage and provided microphones. While the morons plinked away on their pandeiros, I was able to stand right beside the stage and really watch what he does. His idea is genious. His playing is virtuoso level. However, the whole thing is really very simple in theory. You just have to put in the time. It´s just a matter of coordination of movement and spending the time (lots and lots of time) making sure that the sounds are all perfect and falling exactly where you want them. There is zero slop in Suzano´s playing. 100% of it is variations of alternating 16th notes but it sounds amazing.
So there you have it!! Now we´re all masters.

But seriously folks...we spent the class going over Coco, Baiao, Ciranda, and Maracatu. Interestingly, Suzano has a real love of funk so he puts a back beat in just about everything. He even puts a back beat in Maracatu which really fills it in. The back beat requires that you start the pattern with your finger tips rather than your thumb because you can only get a slap coming off your palm and onto your fingers. Trust me on this. I can explain it to you better with pencil and paper.There are seven basic tones not counting bends of opens which are done with the left thumb. The slap is done off the finger side of the hand which requires that it come on an upbeat which equires that you start the pattern (the one) with your finger tips. IN summary, practice playing all your rides starting on your finger tips rather than on your thumb. This may be more than you want to know about this.

Anyhow, after the class we met up with some friends at a rodizio de pizza on the LArgo do Machado called Gambino. It´s a little pricey but good if you´re hungry and want to treat yourself. The place has 120 flavors of pizza. Remember the bicycles from the Island of Doctor Moreau from last year? This is the pizza equivalent. They may be violating some kind of natural law by making some of these pizzas. Chicken stroganoff pizza. Bacalhao pizza (salted codfish). Of course they had all the usual suspects as well. They bring the pizza by your table and you eat until you pass out. They drag you over to a little cot and, when you wake up, they bring out the dessert pizza. They have strawberry ice cream and chocolate pizza. If you can imagine it, they can make it. Thought you had me right? Yes!! They even had sushi pizza. I must admit that I found that one a little creepy and chose to skip it.

Gotta take a waddle on the beach to work off some of this pizza. j