They're so weird! 

Felipe Nascimento 

Upon returning from trips to distant places, some people usually gather relatives and friends to show pictures, tell amazing tales and talk of the feelings they had about the places and people they have got to know.

On his last vacation, an American man from Boston visited a friend in Porto Alegre and then went back home with his luggage full of photographs and tales to tell. The same happened to a Porto-alegrense man who spent his vacation in Boston. As they showed their photos and talked of their feelings, both came up with similar points.

One of the first common questions made was about food habits.

The Porto-alegrense man was thrilled at how fast Bostonians eat, and he said:

Do you believe they will phone a restaurant, book a table and arrange the exact time they want the meal to be served? When they arrive at the restaurant, the waiter serves the food immediately. Thus, they will not have missed more than 20 minutes having their meal!

Then they go back to work soon. In fact, many take food from home and they eat at the workplace. Is this life?

The Bostonian man, on his part, commented on how much time Porto-alegrenses waste to have their meals.

Can you imagine that they arrive at a restaurant and they wait for a table to be made available? Then they spend 10 more minutes ordering the meal. They eat slowly, then they drink coffee, smoke a cigarette, chat around, and it takes 10 more minutes for the bill to be produced.

One of the persons present there asked:

Are they macrobiotic? No! answered the Bostonian man. I think they do this not to have to go back to work soon!

And the coffee, is it true that they drink a lot of coffee?

Americans drink buckets of coffee! They usually have coffee in a large cup, about 30 millilitres. And they also add milk or cream. But it is a weak coffee, looks like dirty water!

Brazilians have to so-called “cafezinho", served in a cup the size of a thimble, and very strong. It is as if you were injecting caffeine into one of your veins. In meetings, at bars and restaurants, there is always a cafezinho. However little the cafezinho may be, they take long to finish drinking it!

What about the traffic? Much different from ours?

You know, the traffic is slow, and drivers are usually calm. When you are driving and get to a corner where there are no traffic lights, you have to wait until no cars are coming in order to turn, just like here. But in Boston, most drivers go up to the middle of the street and stop the car. After having put the traffic to a halt, they shamelessly thank the driver that had to stop, and they go ahead. How funny it is that nobody gets mad at them!

The traffic is crazy. The traffic signs are completely different. In Porto Alegre the yellow colour means "accelerate”! When they see the yellow sign, they step on the accelerator in order to pass the traffic lights at full speed. And the green colour means "honk". When the green light appears, all cars but the first one in the line start to honk. They are very obedient at that!

And this picture? What is that man carrying in his hand?

Ah! It is the big cup of coffee I told you about. This one is entering the underground with a cup of coffee that looks like a thermal bottle. They drink coffee on the underground, on the bus, at the streets. They think it is normal!

Ah! That is the so-called "chimarrão".. A type of tea that they drink all day long. They walk the streets carrying that cup, which they call "cuia", and a thermal bottle with hot water. This one is taking a walk at a park on a Sunday morning. They think it is normal!

After having looked at the pictures and heard the comments made by their returning friends, Porto-alegrenses and Bostonians figured out something on one another: They're so weird!

Translated by Traduzca