April 30, 2010

Challenge: What time is it? | Diga-me se for capaz: Que horas são?

Yesterday, I went to a hospital 'cause my sore throat was getting worse. In the waiting room, I saw these two clocks. What do they mean? Why two clocks? Do they show the same time?

Funny how they put the hours in our system (24h). We just say 19 o'clock, for example, but our analogical clocks actually show 7 (pm). Never seen one like that, have you?

But the one from the left... It's more complicated, right? Realize this: you're sick and trying to figure out what time is it. Detail: they were both not working.

So now answer me, please, what time was it, according to those clocks?


Ontem, fui fazer um tour pelo hospital daqui, porque estou com uma baita dor de garganta (brasileira) desde que cheguei. Na sala de espera, vi esses dois relógios. Fala sério: dois relógios, um do lado do outro? Porque cargas d'água?

O da direita, tudo bem, engraçado ver como eles colocam as horas no nosso sistema (24h). Nunca tinha visto um assim, vc já? Mas o da esquerda... Difícil, né? Acho que é pra vc passar o tempo quebrando a cabeça enquanto espera! hahaha

Detalhe: os dois estavam parados. Então, falaí, que horas eram de acordo com esses relógios?

April 27, 2010

Psychic powers, please! | Meio-fio vermelho = multa, sabia?

Just a simple warning on the curb, 
like this one, could've prevented me 
from getting a ticket
Today the City of Los Angeles gave me its first gift: a ticket for parking violation. Of course it doesn't seem fair to me because I know very well how to drive, but I would never had imagined that a red curb indicates that I can't park in that spot. In fact, according to my hostess, any kind of colored curb means that is forbidden to park.

How could I know? Only if I was a psychic! It's not an international signing system. Huh... Whatever... I can't say this to them to get rid of the ticket, can I? So I have to shut my mouth and pay US$ 80. Anyway, it's cheaper than any ticket in Brazil, I guess. Welcome to America, I hear. It's touristic city for God's sake!

April 26, 2010

Homestay - epilogue | A piada do ano: descobri de onde surgiu Roberta!

Remember I told you there's been a misunderstanding about my aplication to a homestay service? They took me for a certain Roberta and placed me with a Phillipine family in a Latin neighborhood. All I didn't order for. At that time, I complained about the service and compared it to the Brazilian one.

Nothing like a day after another. Today I went to Universal Student Housing office to pay my invoice and... discovered it's owned by a Brazilian!!! hahaha

He explained (and apologized): a Brazilian girl named Roberta told them that her friend was going to apply for a homestay the very next day but didn't told them the girl's name. Coincidentally, I applied. So they assumed I was Roberta's friend and would stay with her. A very Brazilian situation. hahaha

Fortunally, everything was solved. But it's a huge irony, isn't it? The joke of the year. By the way, they're very friendly and concerned about my confort. I recommend them! If you're comming to LA and want a nice place to stay try USH. They also have apartments near UCLA.

April 25, 2010

I'm here in LA! | Cheguei em Los Angeles!

The trip was smooth but too long. More than 20 hours from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles. When I finally arrived on Dallas, after a 10-hour flight, I've been informed that my next flight have been cancelled. So American Airlines booked me to another one, two hours later.

It's sad that a country has to be so concerned about security, isn't it? How can you get so much enemies? Americans should think about it. Nobody is a victim out of nowhere. I had to take off my shoes so they can examine them! It's a new carreer: foot odor checker! Applications are open!

Dallas Fort Worth international Airport is a little bit boring. Just a bunch of expensive stores that sell stuff like french perfums and bottles of whisky (wich you can acquire for half of the price at a duty free shop).

Texas always seemed to me, let's say, a little cheesy. And to prove my theory, DFW has a multimillion dollar Public Art Program. Check one of it's centerpieces (the picture I took from my mobile). Financing art is cool but this monument... Well it's cool for a child like me!

PS: from now on all my posts will be titled in English with the Portuguese translation right after.

April 13, 2010

What's more expensive: renting a car in US or Brazil?

Two months ago, I've rented a car for a holyday here in Brazil. A well known company sent me an e-mail with a great offer. I accepted and almost lost it on the counter when they told me the true price. Yes, because here they tell you only the rent rate without insurance fees and all that stuff. But those extras just doubled the total amount. It's outrageous, I know.

Today, I was searching rent a car companies over the internet. And I realized two things. First, companies hide the total amount in Brazil. And those same companies show the total price in US (with and without extra fees). Why is that? They use the same software in both countries, I guess.

Second and most important: renting a Hyundai Accent in US or a Chevrolet Celta in Brazil for 10 days costs virtually the same amount (without insurance fees), wich means almost $ 290 USD. Can you believe that? I compared Brazilian and American rates from Hertz and Avis. It's preposterous.

Don't even try to lecture me about taxes. I've been an economics reporter for a long time. Let me just clear this. The minimum wage in Brazil is $ 3.680 USD/year. And 49% of Brazilian families (4 members) live with $ 8.570 USD/year.

Now you can try to explain me why do we have to pay the same as Americans to rent a car in Brazil. I guess we can start this conversation by comparing the profits that American companies earn in Third World Countries with the ones they get at home. Would it be too much to say that we somehow are financing America? I don't know the answer for that but I'm sure I want to learn from Americans how to make movies and how to make money as well.

PS: I've rented a car for 10 days from Alamo for $ 360 USD with all included. Hope's been a great deal or I'll shoot myself. hahaha (Try this if you're looking for a bargain: www.holidaycars.com.)

April 07, 2010

Almost free (is it good?)

Today I've sent the last report to my major client. The end. I have to elaborate another one until Friday and that's it. Absolutely free to dedicate myself to L.A. project.

But when I realize that I feel butterflies on my stomach. Why? Isn't what I always dreamed all my life?

Why do we have this mixed feelings, like fear and joy, when something potencially great is coming? Sometimes is hard to believe this is really happening to me.

I started to tell everyone that I'm going to travel. Maybe as a kind of way to convince myself. And to be sure there's no turning back.

I've always been an untamed person, but this is by far the craziest thing I've done ever (more here and here). Yeah, yeah... Is the "mother" inside of me talking. Shut up! There's no room for you here anymore!

April 02, 2010

Homestay soap opera - Happy ending?

That's the difference between third world countries and "first class mankind", I guess.

Remember I told you there's been a misunderstanding about my aplication to a homestay service? They took me for a certain Roberta and placed me with a Phillipine family in a Latin neighborhood. All I didn't order for.

Well, I complained and they apologized, than fixed it! I'll stay in 100% American townhouse in Valley Village. Cool! Is this a happy ending? I hope so!

By the way, I'm officially unemployed since yesterday.