Thursday, 20 May 2010

Taxistas em Sao Paulo

One of the best sources of Portuguese for me are the taxi drivers. Like most taxi drivers around the world they can entertain you on your journey with stories of their lives and families, their opinions on the economy, their favourite restaurant or football team.

There is a Ponto de Taxi just around the corner from where we live and every morning when I walk by they shout out their 'Bom Dia's' and 'Tudo Bom's' as I've probably caught a ride with almost all of them, if not once then at least a couple of times. I know some of them by name and some of them go to Cesar's barquinho too. My taxi rides double up as portuguese lessons too (that's how I justify it to my husband!).

I have a list of questions that I use to initiate a conversation:

'Você e Paulistano?'
'Você tem crianças?'
'Onde você mora?'

Some of them take into account that I'm just learning and speak slowly, stay on topic and we can have a reasonable conversation. Others lose me on the second sentence and even though I can catch a word or two, I just take a wild guess at what he's talking about. I'll then answer completely off topic which just allows him to either ignore me and continue or start on this new topic. I'll never know!

- One taxi driver told me I spoke really good Portuguese and that he could understand about 50%...
- Another told me about his three ex-wives and how 'loca' they were
- I've discussed the pros and cons of bringing up children in the country vs the city with another
- Tim can get them really going about last night's football game
- I thought one 68 year old driver knew the way until he got out at a traffic stop to walk over to another taxi 2 lanes over to ask directions

The one thing you can't avoid here in Sao Paulo is traffic (well unless you have a helicopter) but instead of getting really stressed about being late (everyone is late here anyhow), take it in your stride and use the time to practice a little more Portuguese!

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