My Puerto Rican Mother

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South America » Brazil
January 2nd 2011
Published: September 30th 2017
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I have a Puerto Rican mother - at least according to Caritas. I've somehow been adopted by Sheylla and Raphael, with them taking me out for Reveillon, and today taking me to the little beach town of Prainha. I'm not sure how this could've happened, since she's at least five years younger than me - I suspect it has something to do with time travel, a la the first Terminator movie. But having a Puerto Rican mother makes sense ... perhaps this somehow explains why I learned to speak Spanish.

Since Caritas told us that Sheylla is now my Puerto Rican mother, I told Caritas that she must be my Brazilian sister. And who would my grandmother be? Well, it'd would be pouca louca (Portuguese for a little crazy), the name we gave the crazy lady staying in my dorm room! Ok, ok ... I admit that It was I who gave her the name, but when everybody laughed, I took that as a sign that we were all in agreement with the choice. She's a nice old lady but honestly, quite strange ... Adilton, Washington, and myself further discussed this today. Obviously, what happened the other day when she got separated from her daughter was weird. But that's only part of the story ...

It's been great over the past few days, getting in tons of Portuguese practice with Adilton and Washington (hereafter referred to as A&W, to save typing), leaving me feeling that I'd finally had a breakthrough with the language. But a few times pouca louca has tried speaking to me, and I've never had any clue what she's said to me. The other day it was "Blah blah blah blah blah blah praia!" Excuse me? "Blah blah blah blah blah blah praia!" Say that again? "Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah praia! Blah blah blah blah blah?" Huh??!?!??!?

A&W later told me that she had been asking everybody if they wanted to go to the beach with her. We suspected she was perhaps hitting on various young men in the hostel, because she also has the habit of dressing, as A&W put it - not quite appropriate for her age. Then, sadly it dawned on me ... my Brazilian granny is a bit of a ho! Further stories of her craziness included "accidentally" walking in on Adilton while he showered. Now, in her defence I must say that the lock on the bathroom door is broken, but there is a card hanging from the door that can be flipped to say "occupied", so it's obvious when the bathroom is in use. But then, it happened again with Washington. I don't think it was an accident ...

Then there are the fights the mother and daughter have every morning, apparently over the most trivial of things. A&W were shocked that I knew nothing about the fights, and I responded that I only hear her speaking rather loudly early every morning, usually around 7:30 or 8, but can't tell the tone because I'm always wearing earplugs. A&W both looked at me with a look of envy and in Portuguese, called me "inteligente".

So we finally made our way out to Prainha, a neat little beach because it's also got a calm little lake just a short distance from the shore. Though it's not visibly connected to the ocean in any way, it's still filled with salt water, I'm guessing through some underground connection. Prainha was crowded since it was a Sunday, but nowhere near as bad as Praia do Futuro. It's a nice spot, but not the cleanest, with some spots on the beach piled with litter, and the lake looking a little green with algae, and a few piles of trash along its shores.

The nice thing about Brazil's barracas is that you can find one and sit there all day long, all for the price of a few beers. Though they would love for you to order some food or other items, there's never any real pressure to do so, and you can just sit there enjoying the day, slowly sipping some beer and even munching on your own snacks. We eventually made our way back to town, saying goodbye to my adopted Puerto Rican parents.

A&W and I had made plans to head down for dinner along the waterfront, where there are seafood markets selling fish, lobster, and shrimp. You buy whatever looks good and take it to one of the restaurants just a twenty second walk away, and pay one of them to cook it up and to supply some side dishes and drinks. We rounded up a few others and made our way over via local bus.

All the seafood was overcooked, which was especially a shame for those in our group who had never eaten lobster before, and who were trying it for the first time tonight. As far as food goes, it wasn't that great, but the experience itself was wonderful. The sights, sounds, and smells ... sitting under the stars, just a few steps from the ocean, watching fishing boats bob up and down, and seeing boisterous Brazilian families stuff themselves with food ... unforgettable!

Additional photos below
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A Bargain ...A Bargain ...
A Bargain ...

These little shacks only charged us 20 Reais to cook all our food. Side dishes were 8, and drinks were about 4.
Azulejos ...Azulejos ...
Azulejos ...

This neat little church was decked out with them, the famous Portuguese blue tiles.

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