Questions posed by family members:

“Where are you going – Portugal?”

“Why does the institute have a swimming pool?”

“You’ll be studying folk music?”  No, Brazilian popular music in the 20s and 30s.
“What on earth interests you in that?”


travel tips

Spectacularly bad pre-departure information session at the University a couple weeks ago.  One of the students who’d traveled to Brazil last year was chock-full of xenophobic bits of wisdom.  For example:

“Some Brazilians are two-faced.”

“When Brazilians find out that you’re American, you can see dollar signs in their eyes.”

And a categorical “Stay away from Copacabana.”

Her parting advice (well, it wasn’t precisely the end of the meeting, but it became parting advice once I walked out early):  students traveling to Brazil should really consider watching City of God and Bus 174, just so we’re forewarned. 

With that in mind, I am foreswearing guide books and State Department dossiers and taking all my travel advice from Brazilian films. Continue reading