I looked through the comments on this excuse for a blog, and noticed that spammers have taken to auto-spamming blog entries. For the example on mine, see the entry I want to axé you a question. I guess Radiohead inspires penis growth advertisements. I would delete them, but it is awfully amusing that there are two comments made in December on a post from June. Who is going to read that far back? Me, I guess.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the hippy-feira, a sort of artisan street fair that happens every Sunday in Ipanema. Apparently it used to be real hippies, but now it’s hippies with cellphones and distribution systems. Ram’s sister Lakshmi helped me negotiate some good deals, since the rule there is to haggle, and as I noted before, I should have learned more Portuguese.

Later we went to a free concert on the Copacabana beach — the first act was Maria Rita, and she was three shades of enh. The second act was Lenini, which makes one thing of some sort of opera guy, but in fact was more rockin’ out. Hard to place him in terms of American music, but he veered near Blues Traveler, Spacehog, and RHCP at times. Not too close, but in a nebulous middle ground between the three. The metropolitan bus systems in Brazil are cooler than the US. There’s a second guy who sits in the bus and gives change (within reason), so the driver doesn’t have to be responsible for fare collection as well. Much smarter than in Boston, where they used to get pissed off at you for not having exact change all the time.

So my inability to detect racism in Brazil was explained by Ram, who said that discrimination here is based on economic grounds, and less on skin color. But there is a correlation between the two. Some of the complexities of 19th century race are exemplified by the author Machado de Assis. Thanks to Dan Good for introducing me to him. The hosting site of that previous link is pretty cool in its own right. The Library of Latin America series has a wide range of information about 19th century Brazil, from history to literature to essays and commentary. All of Machado de Assis’s novels have a very informative essay at the front to put the novel in context. Well worth reading!