(Ed. Note: Brianna is currently in Brazil, the 6th continent she’s competed on this season.)
The few words I know in Portuguese are the ones that happen to be the same in Spanish. Things like, Si, leche, agua, uno…dos…tres. It’s almost enough to call me bilingual. Anybody from southern California knows enough Spanish to get their point across so I try to do the same out here but sometimes I get stuck and there is simply no way to get on the same page. The Brazilians are relentless too. They will continue to talk, at a rapid speed no less, in Portuguese after it has already been determined we don’t understand each other. Us Americans are no better though. We expect people to understand and speak English, no matter where we are. It’s a sense of entitlement that is at best, annoying. A couple of incidents though, have made me wish I carried around a small translator in my purse.
Through a friend of a friend, we had our own personal driver taking us around the city on a tour of some of the most famous sights in Rio yesterday. We had the privilege of visiting the Christo Redenter, a huge statue of Christ that sits on top of a mountain and looks over the city. The driver spoke no English, we spoke seven words of Portuguese, but all was good. Until…as we were on our way up the mountain we noticed a huge, scary, frightening grasshopper had found its way into the car and was now precariously perched on the drivers seat right above his shoulder.
I hate critters. I’m absolutely terrified of them. And myself along with the other three ladies traveling with me had determined that this was a matter of dire importance that needed to be dealt with immediately. We started frantically trying to warn him but he was none the wiser. So, because we are on our way up this winding road and did not want this creature to start hopping around and truly send the car into an absolute frenzy, we motioned for the driver to stop in the middle of the road, so we could escort Pepe out. He understood stop and did so with a wondering look on his face. Once he stops, the grasshopper makes his way onto the driver and we are trying to convey this information to him through words and the flapping of our arms in what we think is a good rendition of “bug” if we are playing charades, but with no luck. I hopped out of the car in the backseat as Grace does the same on the other side, Becky tries to point out the critter on his shoulder before hopping out of the front seat, and because he doesn’t know what else to do, the driver gets out too. We then motion for him to turn around…once, twice. Somehow Pepe has disappeared off of his shoulder so we inspect the car to make sure he’s no longer occupying it, and then gingerly climb back in, except now Becky and Grace have changed seats. We just did a Chinese fire drill in the middle of the road, as well as make our driver spin and shake while we yell and scream at him. As much as we tried to convey the presence of a grasshopper was the reason behind all of this, I’m sure he probably thought we were all just nuts! We continued up the mountain and arrived at our destination chuckling over what the driver must be thinking in his head about these crazy, American tourists.
And just in case you are dying to see what we encountered when we made it up the mountain, here are a few pictures!