Thursday, August 18, 2011

Indian in Brazil

It's been a while... A. has arrived in Brazil, spent 2 weeks in Brasília and is now in São Paulo. I'm really proud of his courage and fearlessness in taking on the challenge of a new country. Different from the other places we've lived, now he is a foreigner and I'm a local. Previously we had both always been foreigners which has good and bad sides to it. If both are foreigners you can both bitch and sigh at the idiosyncratic ways of the new place but you have to figure your way around. If one is a local, figuring things out is easier but sensitivities about the new place are also higher (in this case, from my side).

Not this one...

For example, there are tons of bakeries in Brazil, usually one every few blocks (in cities) since Brazilians like to get their breakfast bread fresh each day. This is something that I always missed while living abroad so I did not take it too nicely when A. asked: "Where can I find bread like in France?". Well, first of, the French are renown worldwide for the quality of their bread so it seems a bit much to expect to find it in any bakery in São Paulo. I think it is a matter of adjusting expectations with what the country has to offer and also about figuring out what is out there.

This one!!

Like I was super surprised when A. said he found an Indian place close to his apartment. And it even sells dosas! After a few visits his enthusiasm died down though: their dosas were rice flour only and their biryani was made with local rice. Oh well... the last visit sealed it: a Brazilian that went with him had beef (!) curry and had to ask for extra chilly! I guess it will be a place to go when all else fails and home food, despite being fake, is missed.

And finally a note on the abundance of Indians in Brazil: none! I mean, for a country with a huge population like India, with large immigrant communities in so many places it is astonishing to find out there are 200 families in the entire country of Brazil! As the embassy here in Brasília told A. when he visited: "Congratulations! On your arrival you have increased the population of Indians in this city by 10-20%!"

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