Monday, December 13, 2010

How do you tell a gringa from a brasiliera?

Turns out that anyone not from Brasil is considered a gringo. Even if they speak the most perfect portuguese you've ever heard, know how to make exquisite bananes e quejo com tapioca, and can fasten a sarong into every conceivable form of covering. It´s not a bad thing to be a gringo here, it´s actually rather endearing. I received a discount from the boy at the mercado who said normally he is R$300 but for me, gringa, he was only R$50. Well, well, it pays to be a gringa, I suppose.

I've heard various interpretations of the history of "gringo", but Paola, my hostel comrade from Uruguay who studied history before becoming a line cook and traveling 7 months out of the year, says it came from Mexico when they were demanding that the US military leave. The US military wore green and the people would shout "Green, Go Home!" which turned into green-go...gringo. Hadn't heard that one before, can anyone of my many readers confirm that?

Paola gave me this colorful explanation as we swam  in the river Imbassai this evening. We walked down along the beach with only the moon and stars and twinkling beach pousada lights to guide us. Again, the ink black water was warm like a relaxing bath and after my day of napping and feeling crummy I was reinvigorated. If you dipped your feet down too far you would hit the cold water and maybe some algae which felt a little unnerving given the absolute blackness of the sweet water river. Some kids trounced down the bank with a little radio, laughing, our heads bobbing in the water like coconuts as we watched them.

The other way you tell a gringa (me) from a brasiliera (not me) is by my shoes (and lack of wearing a bra--these gals love 'em high and dry). Which leads me to the next little ditty about Imbassai:

One outfit, three days. I hopped the onibus to Imbassai thinking I would take a day trip. I stayed three nights. I didn´t bring any extra clothes and have rinsed my shirt and skirt out in the brownish tap water of the hostel and blasted them dry with the room fan. Just goes to show you don´t need much. I did manage to bring my toothbrush and an eyelash curler (why that was floating in my bag, who knows...). I also made the transition from my brown slip on loafers (one size too big) to the traditional Havaianas sandles. This is how I shed my New Yorker and embrace my brasilian surroundings. Quando na praia...

ay, gringa!

havaianas, the bahian flip flop--a must.

done and done.

tchau e beijos little shoes!

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