Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comparing apples and oranges

After a few days with temperatures a little above freezing Oslo has turned into a slide: blocks and blocks lined with slippery ice. It is amazing how graceful Norwegians are when they slide. The just skid for a short distance and then fall right into step as if skating and walking are perfect complements. I, on the other hand, make a fool of myself by raising my arms, trying to keep my balance which throws me off some more, then raise one leg and then sometimes land not-so-gracefully on my bum...
Yesterday, while walking on the streets and concentrating hard on the path ahead to be able to plan where to put my foot a few seconds ahead of time I heard some noise... and woosh! Some ice came flying down from a roof ahead of me, almost hitting the couple that was walking in my direction. The girl screamed and jumped, while the guy also looked a little frazzled. A-ha! I knew these Norwegians had some bottled up emotions inside! But I can surely say Brazilians would hold up much better in a similar situation.

What situation am I talking about? Ice falling from the roof is certainly not happening in Brazil anytime soon... Well, the city I lived in for a while, Belém is called the city of mango trees. They line most downtown streets, from major avenues to residential streets. These fruit trees are very large and old (some say centuries old) and were planted for the dense shade that is so tremendously needed in the equatorial Amazon weather. Which would be perfect except the city planners forgot one small detail: the big, heavy fruit! So when it is mango season in Belém people avoid parking cars on the streets, otherwise you might get a big dent on the rooftop, or, as what happened with a friend, a broken windshield! And people on the sidewalk are also prime targets for the fruit that occasionally comes flying down... but, with grace, we halt for a second and then fall right into step again.


  1. Awww so sad to see a yummy mango go splat on the street, what were the city planners thinking :)

    I can deal with ice :) not sure I would be holding my own gracefully threatened by a mango LOL
    At first in Bangalore the coconut crashing down on my neighbour's roof made my jumpy inside my own apartment :)

  2. Don't worry Cyn, there are always kids waiting for a mango to drop to go and get it!
    Coconuts are a bit worse than mangoes though...