Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vancouver x Brasília

Vancouver x Brasília

I find comparing my hometown, Brasília, to Vancouver quite easy. It means there are both similarities and differences. In terms of nature, population, life and tourism they are similar. As Vancouver, Brasília has a lot of green areas and parks, and there is a big park in the center of the city as well, called City Park, where people can walk, cycle and roller skate, like in Stanley Park. I can also see a kind of similarity in the population. Both cities have a good number of inhabitants. Of course in my city there are not many people from different countries and nationalities, but most of them are from all parts of Brazil. I mean that its population, as in Vancouver, is based not only in who was born in these cities, but also in people from different places. Although there are some poor and homeless people in Vancouver, the city has a high standard of living. Likewise, in Brasilia happens the same. Both cities receive a large number of tourists and have a lot of touristy activities. Consequently, they suffer the effects of mass tourism in their economy and environment.

On the other hand, in terms of language, weather, views, and people they are different. In Brasília, as in all cities of Brasil, Portuguese is the only official language. Brazil is neither an English speaking country nor a bilingual one. The weather is really different too. My city is normally very hot and dry, and even the winter is not that cold and we never have snow. However, the weather in Vancouver is pretty cold and it rains a lot. Something really beautiful in Vancouver is that it has both mountains and sea. Brasília is a flat city and it does not have sea, only a large lake. Brazilian people, in general, are very friendly and outgoing. In the other side, Canadian people are closer and more serious.

In my point of view, globalization has changed my hometown in the last fifteen years. The plans to build the capital of Brazil in a specific area in the center of the country was always present. It took a while for the city to get off the ground, but now its importance is really big. Brasília is a new city (only forty eight years) and has gone global because of globalization. It has also brought people to visit the city, both for tourism and business, since it is a political centre. It introduced the American way of life in people's habits as well. As the years went by, letters and newspapers gave way to emails and the access to Internet, that allows people to have information from around the world and its country in a real time. As far as I'm concerned, globalization has brought positive things to my city. I can't think in a disadvantage, because as far as I know, it helped this new city to develop its potential.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Toronto's airport...

The first challenge I've experienced in Canada was on my first day in this country. I arrived in Toronto after almost 13 hours flying. I was really hungry, tired and homesick. I forgot to ask for vegetarian meal, so I didn't eat anything in the airplane. I was also worried I wouldn't have sufficient time to go to the baggage reclaim to collect my bags and put them in the right place so they could go to Vancouver. I arrived in the aiport at 7:00am and my flight to Vancouver was supposed to be at 9:30am, but it was delayed. I was going to go to Vancouver only at 11:30am. I felt chuffed because I would have time to eat, to find the place to put my bags and also to go through immigration. However, something strange happened. My boyfriend went thhrough immigration, but not me. They told me it was not necessary, but I knew it was. I needed my study permit and also my work permit. I felt downcast. I couldn't believe that something went wrong just on my first day travelling abroad. First, I decided to find the place to put my bags. It was very stressed, because I received a wrong information and lost a lot of time. Then, I started asking a lot of people what I should do about the immigration and they were very rude with me. I was desperate, because I couldn't find a solution. I continued asking until someone decided to help me. I had to go to five different places in the airport to solve my problem and when I got to the right place the man asked me a lot of times how I didn't go through immigration. I wanted to know the answer as well. After almost 3 hours, I decided to have something to eat. There was another problem. I couldn't find anything to eat because my food habits are very different from canadian ones. I had to eat something, and I ate a terrible croissant. I was feeling miserable. It was very difficult to leave my family, my friends and my country and just on the first day I had such problems. I was also insecure, because it is not easy to deal with problems in another language. Fortunately, I could solve all of them, but it was for sure an unpleasant and stressed situation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Today I was in a line, waiting my turn to buy some pizza. The cashier started a conversation with the person in front of me. She asked if the man spoke spanish. He wondered why she was asking this question and she responded that it was because of his appearance and different accent. He told her that he was neither from Vancouver nor from a Spanish speaking country. He commented that he speaks Portuguese and is from Brazil. She added that she was from Mexico and was studying english in Inlingua until the beginning of December. She confessed that she was very tired of both working and studying and that she wanted to stay in the city until march, but she didn't want to be at Christmas here. She said that Christmas without friends and family is not Christmas. The brazilian guy told her he had arrived in Vancouver in July and that he is going to be here until the end of February. He noted that his parents are going to came to be with him at Christmas. He agreed that study and work must be very hard and commented that he is going to work when he finishes his english course. Finally, he received his slices of pizza and wished her a good day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Truth and lies...

I am 19 and I have a sister from my father's first marriage. Although we have a sort of love-hate relationship, she is my best friend.

You may not believe this, but I used to do lots of things when I was younger, such as dance, swimming, tennis, painting, horse-riding, gymnastics, English and Spanish. I completed my language courses, but the only thing that I did not stop to do was dancing. I have been dancing jazz for ten years, and it is one of the most important things in my life. Last year, my group entered in our first competition. We never count our chickens until they are hatched, and it was the best thing we could do. We came second place and it was so unexpected that we went round shouting and smiling at everybody. Jazz is also the only style of dance that I have ever tried.

I have been vegetarian for 7 years and I do not eat any kind of meat. I stopped eating not because of the animals, I just do not like it. If what I say seems hard to believe, read on... you may be surprised. I suffered from anorexia as well. I was 14 and I did not understand a word of it. My family, my teachers, my friends, they were all worried about me, but I though it wasn't a problem.

My first job was as a salesperson in a store of beach wear. It was one of the best experiences in my life, because everyone had the same age as me, and we had a lot of fun together. The day used to pass so fast while we were working. Even though I worked only for two months, they are my friends until nowadays.

Before starting my law course this year, I tried two different courses, architecture and math. However, I really want to be a dancer, but it is a very difficult and suffering carrier.

Believe it or not I have been dating my boyfriend for 2 years and 4 months. He is my other half and I fell for him as soon as I met him. It is my third love relationship and it is the best one. My last boyfriend was always making an excuse for everything and I used to take his word for it. My friends were always telling me that he was a love-rat, led a double life and would get caught out in the end. I tought they were telling tales to me until I discovered the truth. My friends were right! He tried to make an excuse again, telling me that he only told fibs and white lies. I pulled myself together and broke up with him. And my first relationship was a puppy love.

Last year, I travelled to New York to do a dance workshop. I had time to visit lots of cities in the US and I also visit Canada. Because of my wonderful experience in this country, I decided to study English here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Camel-trekking in the Sinai

An excellent opportunity to get away from it all and have the most wonderful experience you could ever hope to have.

Location Details

St. Katherine is well and truly the best and ideal place to begin a moutain trek on camel. It is located in the center of South Sinai's high mountain region. You can also arrange camel trips into the mountains lining the coast in the next best place in Sinai, Nuweiba.


Expeditions into the Sinai Desert range from an afternoon or late night meander up Mount Sinai to a multi-day or week trek. The circuits usually take three or four days and sometimes also five days or a week, depends on which you choose to face.

Things to have

Make sure you have some water purification tablets, comfortable walking shoes, a hat and sunglasses, sun block, a warm jacket, a good sleeping bag, and toilet paper on hand. Remember it must be a carefully thought out trip and that you are in an out of the way desert. It is also good to have 5 and 10 Egyptian pound notes for the inevitable purchases.

Things to see and do

One of the most common circuits goes to the Galt al-Azraq (Blue Pools). It passes through Wadi Shagg, where you can find springs, water holes and lush, walled gardens. The track then travels through Wadi Zuweitin (Valley of the Olives), where there are ancient olive trees said by local Bedouin to have been planted by the founder of the Jebaliyya tribe. It continues to Wadi Gibal, through high passes and along the valleys of Farsh Asara and Farsh Arnab. Do you want to see more? You can also visit the crystal clear and icy waters of the Galt al-Azraq, a deep pool in the rock. Ever wanted to see something unusual? You must visit the ruined palace that the 19th-century viceroy Abbas Hilmi I built there and the colorful sandstone canyons, Wadi Huweiyit and Colored Canyon. It is interesting to see the largest oasis Ain Umm Ahmed as well.


If you feel mighty adventurous, you must check out Sheikh Awad, the Nugra Waterfall, which is reached through a winding canyon called Wadi Nugra and Naqb al-Faria, a camel path with rock inscriptions. Want more? You can hike to the top of Gebel Katarina, Egypt's highest peak at 8668 feet. You are going to spend about five hours to reach the top, but the views are unmatched.


Although camels allow you to reach places that are inaccessible to vehicles, you have to keep in mind that they are slower and a more expensive way to travel. You will not be able to buzz around the desert with them. Do you want to have a pleasant and safe tour? So, it must be done with a Bedouin guide, who knows the terrain and how to safely navigate it better than anyone. It is also better to register with the police before beginning the trek and to pay the camel driver only in the end of your journey. Doing these, you can come along with them without fear. Finally, you have to pay attention to one important thing: this is not recommended for weak backs.


Expect to pay around E300 for the camel experience per person per day for a three-day trek, including all food and water, or E150 without lunch.


According to Christian tradition, Moses received the tablets of Law known as the Ten Commandments in Mount Sinai's. You can attempt to climb this 7497 feet mountain. The camel track is easy, but indirect, and the ride up the steep camel track is rough at times. Then, to get to the top, you have to walk.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Would you...?

There are lots of things in life that we definitely would never do, would secretly do or have already done. In my opinion never is a very strong word. I'd say never for a lot of things, but maybe someday it'd be necessary for me to do these things, so I prefer to avoid this word. Everyone has secrets, and a lot of them are very funny and interesting. Things that we have alrealdy done can be also interesting, but sometimes commom or maybe unusual.
I would 'never' dye my hair bright purple or orange or have it shaved . I have already dyed my hair red, but I think a bright purple or orange hair would stand out against a red one. This is not my purpose, I really prefer not to draw attention to myself. I wouldn't have my hair shaved because I really like and care about my long hair, so I would certainly spend more than $100 on a haircut, as I have done many times. I would 'never' go to dinner in a restaurant wearing trainers if it was a chic place. I feel that wearing them is out of keeping with this kind of situation. I also would 'never' wear leather trousers or cover my walls with photos of my favourite rocky star or football team, I don't like these things.
Now I'll point out things I would secretly like to do. I would get a tatoo and have my navel pierced. I have already pierced my nose, but it was so painful that I'm really afraid to pierce my navel and to get a tatoo (also because it is something permanent). As a person that appreciates good food and places, I'd pay $100 a head for a meal in a chic restaurant. Although I would 'invest' half a month's salary on a well-cut classic suit, I'd also buy my clothes from a second-hand shop. The most important thing for me is the comfort. I'd dress up an eye-catching shirt with a 'loud' psychedelic pattern and paint my bedroom lime green or bright purple. I love colourful and unconventional things. I would fill my home with antique furniture and with abstract art. I'd put something contemporary too, I'd like to mix old things with modern ones. However, I'd avoid cluttered and not tidy spots, because I really like airy spaces. I would spend $500 on an ornament that I loved or buy myself a flashy sports car. Even thought I don't need it, I think it's good to satisfy our desires sometimes.
I have already bought a cute cuddly toy to put on my bed. In addition, I have lots of toys in my bed and I sleep with the one that my boyfriend gave to me. I have already worn pyjamas with cute cartoon characters on them, specially when I was a child. However, I still use them. I love funny things.
In my opinion, we do have to do what we really want to do (if it's possible, of course). We do have to live life to the full!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Does socialization influence gender roles?

The aim of this report is to discuss if male and female socialization influences in gender roles. Information was collected via a survey from a group of 9 students (4 female and 5 male) aged 18-26 at Tamwood International College. The students were asked some few questions about the topic and the answers were compared and analyzed for significant similarities and differences.
The first part of the survey dealt with the way men and women were brought up and if it encouraged them to be ‘typically’ female or male. Almost all the interviewed people answered yes to this question. They said their parents used to dress them as boys, with shorts and pants, put them in some self-defense sports and also tell them to be strong and responsible; or as girls, with dresses and skirts, putting them in arts or ballet classes. Only one of the students felt he could choose what he really wanted to dress or do.
The other part of the survey shows what kind of things they used to do when they were a child. The vast majority of female students reported that they used to win lots of dolls and play outside the house. In contrast, all the males in the group used to win cars, robots and balls and play some video games or computer games and also some sports, as soccer, basketball, tennis and judo.
In addition, it was said by the female group that in the house they had to do the dishes, clean their bedroom and sometimes cooking. Rather surprisingly, the entire male group had the same jobs to do in the house.
Apparently, they all had the same subjects at school. As high school students, subjects would be usually the same for almost all the students.
A significant minority of those interviewed thought they were told off for the same things as their brother, sister or friends of the opposite sex. However, it was generally felt that they were not told off for the same things as those people. The reasons given for this were that usually men have more freedom and advantages than women. They could spend more time out and do dangerous things. Women did not have the same freedom and they were also thought as too fragile and delicate.
In conclusion, the survey suggests that the way people are socialized significantly influences gender roles. It also appears that we still have things specially designed for men or for women and that we are always following the society stereotype.