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DIVERSIONS


Hacking Brazilian Culture: Magically Transform Your Dear Brazilians into Prompt, Respectful People

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Minchia ch’è beddu! 20 Minutes to Feigning Fluent-ish Sicilian

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Neapolitan in 20 Minutes: Learn Just Enough for Any Conversation in Southern Italy

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Why do Brazilians act the way they do? We don’t know either. But over our decades of dealing with them, we have discovered some strategies for turning our favorite Brazilians into (slightly) more respectful, prompt, and reliable people. We’re not going to claim that you can wave your hands over your favorite Brazilians and turn …

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How interesting was Michael Barbaro’s podcast today? Would he deploy his now-trademarked catch-interjection? First, he had to ask a question. “That’s a really interesting question,” responded his guest on queue, followed by measured background from a slightly left-leaning perspective but also acknowledging the truths of the right, as related tangentially to some batshit crazy thing …

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Today we’ll learn to count in Serbian / Bosnian / Croatian. But this South Slavic linguistic shitshow is crazy, so all we’re really going to understand is the number one. If we get really masochistic, we may cover the numbers two, three, maybe even four and more in some other article. This is a grammar …

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What is the essential Brazilian body part that mainly exists to be sniffed and kissed, and that we have no word for in English? How many delightful ways can we talk about quivering, trembling, shimmying and swaying in Portuguese? The answers to these questions and more wisdom can be gleaned from the lyrics of the classic, …

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The horrors of Serbian/Croatian/Bosian hit you one after another: cases, verb aspect, and conjugations… And then at some point, probably later in the process, the bizarre and seemingly random distinctions between više and još will also start to get on your nerves. These words can be translated, variously, as “more”, “even more”, “yet”, “any more”, “still”, etc. …

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If you want to joke, flirt, and gripe with the locals in Sicily, you could do so in Italian. But if you manage to do so in Sicilian you’re going to have way more fun. Sicilian is the language of the island of Sicily. Some refer to it as a “dialect” — but, prior to …

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If you want to joke, flirt, and make a proper toast in the south of Italy, you could certainly speak Italian. Or English — or Bosnian, Galician, or Russian, for that matter, as Italians are generally delighted to carry on a conversation without the slightest comprehension. But if you really want a truly local adventure, you must speak at least a little Neapolitan. …

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I see you here in Europe, backpackers, hobbling across the continent strapped to the bottom those crushing mobile billboards for everything that’s wrong with your travel philosophy: backpacks. Yes, those 70-liter-and-up backpacker packs are what you live out of for weeks or months on the road, so it’s natural that you want them to contain everything. The impractical but common wisdom from travel bloggers and review sites is to use a backpack …

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Wherever we roam, we can forrozear. It’s getting ever-easier to find this passionate, silly Brazilian dance in the world’s major cities. Since I wrote our piece on forró’s surging popularity outside Brazil (and its sister on forrozeiras’ sexiest moments on the dance floor), I’ve received many, many updates from readers on the changing and birthing of cities’ forró scenes. Thanks, dears! Continue to update …

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Pétanque (a.k.a. boules) is the French cousin to lawn bowling or bocce, once removed from horseshoes, twice removed from darts. Depending on your perspective, it’s a game of rigor and strategy, or else of standing around and drinking Ricard (a.k.a. pastis, an anise-flavored spirit) or rosé. So we’re somewhere on the midpoint here between chess and beer …

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“Of course locals should take priority over those traveling through,” says a friend, vis-a-vis city politics. Really? Her assumption is widely shared, even among the most loving, lefty, freedom-and-equality-for-all humanists. So it seems like a good time to question it a bit. Here’s How We Mistreat Nomads I get bored with new claims of victimization; oh how groups …

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Tipsy Pilgrim on using Tinder for travel

Road-Tindering gets you into the coffee shops, pants, and hearts of the locals, sure. But the app can also lead you to truly weird adventures in lovely spots that you’d never have found in hours of searches through forums and travel sites. So it is that this rogue nomad has signed up on Tinder — you know, for research purposes, and not due …

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How can you take a dance style that is unknown in your area and create a thriving community with parties, workshops, and classes?

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Bosnian is uniquely rich among its Slavic brethren in shortened informal expressions. Here’s a quick guide; master these few words and you’ll sound like a local.

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  The world thinks it knows what a French person sounds like: a derisive laugh that somehow pulls phlegm through the nostrils, a sarcastic oh-la-la between pinched puffs of smoke… But what do the French think the French sound like? And what can you say and do to pass as one of them? As part of our Fluent …

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It’s hard to complete a Catalan sentence without merda. Shit is always on the tip of the Catalan tongue, whether used to describe speed, cowardice, disappointment, avarice, explosive mushrooms, etc., etc., literally ad nauseum. In my quest to speak Catalan like a native, I’ve compiled an exhaustive list of shit-based expressions from friends and academic sources. Previously here …

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Samba de gafieira — Brazil’s groovy answer to tango — is a flashy, complicated dance that lends itself to spectacle. There are many videos of performances by outrageously talented professionals online, but this is not one of them. These dancers are talented, but this is not a formal performance with all of the flashy silliness that …

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This is Bebeto‘s “Segura a Nega” performed by Clube do Balanço. It is one of the greatest samba rock songs ever performed, and if you have a less-than-perfect command of spoken Brazilian Portuguese, you may be wondering what the hell the lyrics are about. I offer here my translation; the emphasis here is on accuracy in meaning and achieving a …

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NASA and others make travel porn for those feeling constrained by our solar system.

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The best adventures in foreign lands usually involve locals who have a couple of generations on me. They didn’t learn to dance from MTV, and they haven’t taken up the lowest-common-denominator drinks wrought on the world’s youth by globalization (Heineken, absolut, mojitos, cosmopolitans). These are the locals with stories to tell, cultural wisdom to share. The lame cell-phone photos above and …

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As part of the our Fluent in 20 Minutes series, this post provides EVERYTHING you need to participate in conversations with Brazilians, whether or not you have any idea what anyone is saying. Why learn (a bit of) Portuguese? Well, there’s good evidence that this language has the best music, and then there are the Brazilians themselves, their dancing, …

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Your buddy is tipsy. Would you rather express this with a gesture referencing an 18th-century alcoholic carpenter’s tzar-given neck tattoo, or just mime tipping a bottle to your lips? Almost invariably, Russian gestures are more interesting and/or emphatic than their international counterparts. We at TP suggest that the following be immediately adopted into everyone’s physical …

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Catalan statehood is in vogue, which leads many to ask: What makes Catalans so different? This blog has previously covered Catalans’ vermut for breakfast, super-hot girls in bad haircuts, screwy sounds, etc., etc., etc. — we’re huge fans. But more than anything, it’s Catalans’ glorification of excrement that proves that they are a truly singular people who deserve their own passports …

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  Surrounded by Americans? The following key gestures and words will allow you to fake a high level of American English, even and especially when you have no idea what anyone is saying. This is derived from the Tipsy Pilgrim Language Method, which targets language’s true purpose: amusement. Rarely, we believe, does/should language serve a communicative …

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Is it random luck that so many of the world’s great songs are in Portuguese, or does the language itself have something to do with it?

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Over the past decade, forró events have been springing up in major Western cities (e.g. London, Moscow, New York, Barcelona, Paris…) as well as some smaller ones. This is an odd journey for a simple dance from the Brazilian northeast, as usually the world’s folk dances barely leave their town or region, let alone cross …

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The route from masturbatory mapmaking to viral meme to mainstream media coverage

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It’s late at night, you’re a gentleman dung beetle, and you’ve packed together a delicious ball of shit. Now, for safe-keeping, you’d like to roll it far, far away from the other feasting critters at the dung pile. If you can do that, you just might be able to convince a lady dung beetle to fuck …

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You can’t speak Portuguese without moving your hands. And, as you might expect from a people with their own style of kissing, Brazilians have a grand repertoire of unique gestures. Among them: “big fat liar”, “this person’s quality stuff”, and “in the hood”.

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Independentista and blogger El Fem Fatal speaks Catalan not only to foreigners like me, but also to the inanimate objects in her home. “Li fas plas!” she explained to me, flailing at her lightswitch. “You’ve gotta really slap this fucker!” is how I would translate that. “Plas” is a Catalan onomatopeia for “smack”, and can …

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Eating in Paris should be all about small, charming restaurants; exquisite chocolates; and bohemian bars — not the standard tourist nightmare of snarling waiters, seven-language menus, and bland food.

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The following table will aid in communication with inanimate French objects. Tipsy Pilgrim also has a guide for communicating with the young and animate French.

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Welcome to Verlan, France’s answer to Cockney rhyming slang or Pig Latin (and an exact parallel to Serbian’s Šatrovački). Verlan became common in the ’80s among poor young folks in Parisian suburbs, and was diffused through hip hop and pop music. Today, anyone of the MTV Europe age or younger employs it to some degree. The …

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This is just one of the countless gestures integral to communication in Brazil, and never taught in any Portuguese class. The estalo brasileiro, or Brazilian snap, is used to indicate speed; sometimes it’s used to (rather rudely) tell someone to pick up the pace. To snap like a Brazilian, start with your hand pretty much …

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Pauistanos (folks from São Paulo city) are known for being all about stress, fine eating and money. Their street carnival takes a bit of a back seat. The Tipsy editorial board, however, loves to rock the backseat. We took a jaunt down to Sampa during its carnaval, and a few locals showed us their moves.  

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Turn to the Kanun, the oral tradition of Albanian law that was codified in the 1500s and whose roots go back possibly to the Bronze Age. First set down in print and published as a handy reference in the early 1900s, it provides guidance on, for example: The etiquette of dinnertime sheep debraining An appropriate …

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The fine folk of Normandy have a solution: the trou normand, or Norman break. In the midst of a decadent, endless-course meal (especially during holidays), les normands are known to take a pause with a small glass of the region’s aged apple-juice brandy, calvados. This supposedly helps to reset digestion and enables one to take …

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The Comédie Française, the oldest national theater in the world, is an actor-centered company that has produced some of the world’s greatest talent (e.g. Adrienne Lecouvreur, Sarah Bernhardt, Jean-Louis Barrault). It has not, however, always succeeded on its merits alone: Year Action Result 1680 Louis XIV combines the two extant acting companies to create the …

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