Taking Portuguese Idioms Literally

By Mercedes Bourgaize on January 18, 2016

Portuguese idioms literally translated sound amusing in English.  Below is a literal look at five common Portuguese idioms.

To feed a donkey sponge cake
Portuguese: alimentar burro a pão de ló

This idiom means treating someone well who does not deserve it.

Eating fish doesn’t pull wagons
Portuguese: comer peixe não puxa carroça

This implies that fish is not suitable food for someone doing manual labor.

Your neighbour’s chicken is always fatter
Portuguese: a galinha do vizinho é sempre mais gorda

This is equivalent in meaning to “the grass is always greener on the other side.”

An old donkey doesn’t learn languages
Portuguese: burro velho não aprende línguas

The equivalent in English is “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Searching for horns on a horse’s head
Portuguese: procurar chifre em cabeça de cavalo

This idiom does not have an equivalent in English. Searching for a needle in a haystack is closest in meaning but not equivalent because the ‘needle’ in question exists and may be located, while a ‘horse’s horns’, do not.

Oxford Dictionaries
25 February 2015

Ban on Plastic Bags

By Mercedes Bourgaize on September 12, 2015

The city of São Paulo, Brazil has implemented a new law banning giveaway plastic bags in stores and supermarkets, which could soon be implemented in other major Brazilian cities.

The law states that plastics bags must be composed of at least 51 percent renewable materials, such as corn or sugar cane. However, the new green bags being sold at supermarkets for R$0.08 to R$0.10 each is causing an uproar, as people do not like the idea of paying for bags that were previously free.

Although the website of the world leading producer of biopolymers, Braskem, highlights the advantages of green polyethylene products made of dehydrated sugarcane ethanol, the new recyclable bags, unfortunately, are not biodegradable or compostable.

The main issue with the new bags is that garbage collection and disposal in Brazil is a serious problem. Although it has improved in the past few years, half the garbage produced across the country still ends up in open dumps in the countryside, rivers, and the ocean. From an environmental point of view, the new green bag is not a great improvement over conventional plastic bags, but one hopes that [plastic_bags_are_killing_us] charging for bags at supermarkets and stores may help reduce the amount of bags in garbage dumps.

Largest Marine Aquarium in South America to Open in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

By Mercedes Bourgaize on August 13, 2015

Residents and visitors to Rio de Janeiro will soon be able to swim with sharks at the new marine aquarium (Aquário Marinho do Rio de Janeiro). South America’s largest marine aquarium is scheduled to open in March 2016.

Located in the Port Area in a former warehouse, “Aqua Rio” will house 8,000 animals of 350 different species, including sharks, sea turtles,  and stingrays.

Members of the public will be able to dive among sharks and many other species in a 7-metre deep diving tank holding approximately 3.3 million liters of water.

Also, it will be possible to walk underneath the aquarium through a six-ton acrylic tunnel. Children will be able to spend the night at the aquarium, sleep in the tunnel and watch the underwater world.

Aqua Rio works in partnership with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro’s Research Center of Marine Biology. The aquarium has been financed by the private sector. Visitors will be charged a R$40 entrance fee. Schools and staff will enter for free.

First Latin American Elephant Sanctuary in Brazil

By Mercedes Bourgaize on July 3, 2015

In 2016, Brazil will be the site of the first elephant sanctuary in Latin America. The Brazil Elephant Sanctuary (SEB), a non-governmental organization, has purchased an area of 1,100 hectares in the state of Mato Grosso near the Guimaraes mountains national park.

The project site, authorized by the Brazilian federal environmental agency,  has forested areas, headwaters, slopes, and pastureland.

The sanctuary is a partner of the US Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Ramba, an Asian female in her 50s with permanent scars and kidney problems, after working for decades in circuses in Argentina and Chile, is one of the first three females to call the sanctuary home. Her other two companions are Guida and Maia, both in their 40s.

Brazil was selected for three main reasons: location, mild climate, and relatively low maintenance costs, compared to other countries.

The sanctuary, which is expected to be fully operational in five years, will house over 50 elephants. However, it won’t be open to the public.

Music Streaming Popular in Brazil

By Mercedes Bourgaize on May 13, 2015

Music streaming is growing fast in Brazil, outpacing downloading, according to industry data. Streaming currently represents 51% of digital sales in the country, followed by iTunes downloads with a total of 30% and mobile ringtones with 19%.

Streaming allows a subscriber to access and listen to millions of tracks without manipulating files. It reached 53.6% in Brazil, in contrast with 39% worldwide.  Roger Machado, Napster’s Latin America business director says this growth is difficult to analyze because it is exponential. Paulo Rosa, president of the Brazilian Association of Record Producers (ABPD) considers the increasing use of smartphones responsible for the industry’s significant growth. Also, the Phonographic Industry International Federation announced that, for the first time, digital revenues matched CD and DVD sales revenues.