Happy 2009 to everyone!
First, I want to say that I am really happy to be a blogger for a month. It is an honor and a great way to start a year. During this time I hope to improve my English, and I expect that you help me. I hope to hear about you and I wish that you help me to write this blog during this month.
Let me talk about myself. I am 31 years-old and I live in Fortaleza, the capital of the State of Ceará in Brazil. Fortaleza is a sunny city near beach. But I was not born here. I was born in São Paulo (the Brazilian biggest city ), and when I was 3 years-old I had to move with my parents to Pereiro (one of the smallest). I came to Fortaleza when I was 15 years-old. I had to do it because there was not good schools in Pereiro. I wanted to go to the university, so I had to move to a city with better schools.
I studied economics at Universidade Federal do Ceará. Actually, I am doing Master’s Degree in Transportation Engineering at the same university. About my job, I’m working as independent consultant (I will talk about it later). Before, I worked in a construction company, in a bank and in a railway company.
When I was 18 years-old I started to study english. Since the first class I enjoy this language. But I had to interrupt my studies for sometime because I had to work and there was not much free time. Now I am back (and in a great style, don't you agree?).
I want to thank to BBC for the opportunity to write this blog. And a special thanks to Dima Kostenko (from BBC).
Happy 2009 to everyone!!!
posted on Friday, 02 January 2009 | comment on this post
Thank you for your warm welcome
Thank you for your warm welcome, Teacher Helen Mehta! It will be nice to work with you during this month. I read some of your entries last November. When I saw you are from Sri Lanka immediately came on my mind: "the country of the little lion". I will explain. In my childhood my father showed me flags from all countries of the world (in a World Atlas). And I never forgot the flag of your country because the image of the lion with a sword always came in my mind when I heard "Sri Lanka" (or “Ceilão”, the other name of your country in Portuguese). But, to tell you the truth, I don’t know many things about your country.
Well, let me start to answer your questions. At Christmas I went to my parents' house in Pereiro. From Fortaleza (where I live) to Pereiro (where my parents live) is about 340 km. We had a great time there. My parents, my two brothers, my sister, my nephew, my sister-in-law, my girlfriend... Everyone was at my parents' house at Christmas night. It was a special night.
On New Years' eve I went to Iracema Beach here in Fortaleza to watch the fireworks displays at midnight. After that, there was a big party on the beach to celebrate the coming of the New Year! It was amazing!
I saw the pictures from your daughter. She is so cute! And I have to tell you something: we eat ‘milk rice’ here in Ceará. It’s delicious! In some places this kind of food is named “arroz piamontese” (piamontese rice).
In the next post I will tell you more about the city where I live.
Ana Paula, Naheed, and Ewa: thank you for your comments!
Ewa: I think your country is really cold (specially during the winter). What do you think about came to Brazil next year? It will be a pleasure for us.
Naheed: Yes, I knew that the Statue of Christ the Redeemer was elected as one of the 7 new wonders of the world. Thank you for remember. But the picture that was published in the previous post is not from the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The Statue of Christ the Redeemer in that picture is located in Pereiro, Ceará. The Statue in Rio de Janeiro stands 38 metres (120 ft) tall. The other statue in that picture stands 12 m (39 ft) tall. Many cities here in Brazil have replicas of Statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Ana Paula: I'm telling you more about Fortaleza and my life here soon. And I will publish some pictures too.
Thank you once again to everyone!
posted on Saturday, 03 January 2009 | comment on this post
Wow! How many comments! I read all the messages and I´ll reply later. Now I have to do my homework. In her post last friday (January 2, 2009),Teacher Hellen proposed a challenge. She asked us how many different tenses she used in that post and what they were. I´ll try to answer now and I suggest you do the same before continue to read.
So, let´s start...
The first tense she used was the present simple to say: "I can't wait to get acquainted with you". Then she asked using the past simple: "how did you spend your Christmas and new year?".
When she asks "How long have you been blogging?" she used the present perfect continuous. She used the present continuous to say "Here is a picture of her on Christmas day eating a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast of kiribath", and the past continuous when she said "It was really exciting this year as she could actually tear open the presents with very little assistance from us".
The present continuous is used to say "My father is coming to stay with us for 3 weeks..." and the future simple in "I will bring him into our virtual classroom to chat with you".
In my opinion, she used 6 tenses in her text last friday. Am I right?
About Helen's last post (January 5, 2009), I think she is right. She thinks I don't explain well my sentences because I'm affraid... I agree with her. I will try to write more and explain better my ideas.
Thank you, Helen!
See you soon!
posted on Tuesday, 06 January 2009 | comment on this post
Excuse me for the last days. I have been worked a lot and I have not had much time to write. But I am here again!
As I told you before, I will talk about the city I live: Fortaleza. Its name is an allusion to the Fort Schoonenborch, built by the Dutch when they were here between 1637 and 1654. In 1654, the Portuguese took control of the Fort Schoonenborch and renamed it as Fortress of “Nossa Senhora da Assunção”. “Fortaleza” means Fortress in English.
A note before continue. Brazil was a Portuguese colony since the beginning of the XVI century until the declaration of its independence in September 7th, 1822. But in the XVII century the Dutch tried to establish a colony in the Brazilian northeast. They were interested in cultivate sugar cane in this region. The French also tried to take the control of a part of the territory (Brazil).
The “Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística” (IBGE), a Brazilian government agency that collects and disseminates demographic data, estimated that lived in Fortaleza 2.473.614 inhabitants in 2008. This makes Fortaleza the 5th most populous city in Brazil. The biggest is São Paulo, with a population of 10.990.249 inhabitants. Above there is a table with the largest cities in Brazil
Fortaleza is located near the Atlantic Ocean (see above, in the map, Fortaleza in South American context - the region called CE is the State of Ceará in Brazil). The annual average temperature is 26°C (while I’m writing this text the temperature is 28°C). The hottest month is December. For the next three days the maximum temperature is expected to 31°C and the minimum 26°C. From January to May is the rainy season. Even in these months is difficult for the sun to hide itself completely among the clouds. From June to November the wind blows freely. Note that Fortaleza is next to the line of the Equator. So, we just have the rainy season and the sunny season. But the city is becoming hotter because near the beach there are many tall buildings that block the wind coming from the sea to reach the rest of the city. Additionally, there is the global warming.
There are many places that I like to go here. One of these is the “Ponte dos Ingleses” (or the Bridge of the English). It was originally a pier built by the English to receive goods that came by vessel from other states in Brazil and from other countries. This pier was also used to load cotton that was produced in the State of Ceará and was exported to other countries in the end of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century. Today, this “bridge” is a touristic place where you can see the sunset.
"Ponte dos Inlgeses"
Another note before continue. Some companies and entrepreneurs from England helped to develop the public infrastructure in Brazil and here in the State of Ceará too many years ago.
Other place that I like to go is the “Praia do Futuro” (Future beach). I think that it is the best beach of this city. I prefer to go there in the afternoon to drink coconut water or a cold beer, eat crabs and cameroons, and swim in the sea.
"Praia do Futuro"
However, in my opinion, the best beaches of the Ceará is not in here in Fortaleza. There is a lot of other fantastic beaches in cities near here. And other far away from here. One of my favorite beaches is “Praia das Fontes”. In this beach, there is sources of water over the cliffs. Another great place to go is Camocim, a city located 347 km from Fortaleza. In this city there is many restaurants and hotels, and an unbelievable sunrise. I’ve been there last month. When I went to “Praia das Fontes” and “Camocim” I forgot my camera, so I don’t have any picture with me. Camocim is near to Jericoacoara (or just “Jeri”) – the most famous beach of Ceará and some say it is the most beautiful. Unhappiness, I’ve never been in Jeri.
If you are a tourist here, there are also two places that you have to visit: the Central Market (“Mercado Central”) and the Beira-Mar Fair (“Feira da Beira-Mar”), where you can find some nice souvenirs made by local artisans.
As Adriana remembered commenting the last post, there are some foods that you have to eat if you were here. “Tapioca” with butter, a food made of wheat flour is one of them. Other foods are “Pamonha” and “Cuscuz” (both made from maize), “Baião-de-Dois” (rice and bean cooked together with butter and cheese), “Carne-de-sol” (a delicious beef) and “Macaxeira frita” (almost like potato fries, but you use cassava and not potato). With this menu you know that you are in Ceará. But be careful. Some of these foods are really spicy.
So, we have many fantastic places to go, beaches and delicious food… But there is one thing that I really love in this city: the people. I have been lived here for 16 years and, everyday, the people here surprising me. They are friendly, funny, talkative and helpful. Here you are never be alone!
Before finish, let me show you some more pictures.
Cathedral in downtown
"Dragão do Mar" Cultural Center
Have a nice weekend!
posted on Saturday, 10 January 2009 | comment on this post
I want to start telling to teacher Helen that your challenges are one of the best things writing this blog. It had forced me to review some themes in grammar (the case of the first challenge), some tips about how to write better, and how to use the expressions that you write in your texts. Thank you, Helen!
Now let me go back to work!
Teacher Helen proposed a new challenge. She wants that I write about a trip using the same expressions she used in her post last Friday on Teacher blog (see the “Teacher Blog” clicking in the link on right). I will tell you about a trip that I did to Camocim early last December. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. So, I did not take any picture.
One day I received a phone call. It was a client inviting me for a meeting in Camocim, a city 347 km far from Fortaleza . He was thinkin about construct a new hotel in the city and he thought that, maybe, I could help him to take the decision (as I told you before, I work as independent consultant). When he talked about the project and asked if I could go, I thought with myself: “I will head off to this city!”. And I said to him “Yes! Sure! I will be there tomorrow”. Then I called for a hotel in Camocim and I made a reservation.
I took the bus to Camocim the next day. It was a Friday. In the same day at night I was in the that city (the meeting was Saturday morning). From the bus station I went to the hotel immediately. When I came there, I had an unpleasant surprise. They did not have any room. The receptionist confirmed my reservation. He saw in the registries that I called the day before. But they did not had any room for me. This was not a boded well.
I asked the receptionist if I could talk to the manager. The manager came and explained the problem - they had more reserves than rooms . The manager said that he would send me to another hotel, hassle-free and with no extra expenses. Then he called for a taxi and I went to the other hotel.
Few minutes later, the taxi-driver left me in the new hotel. The first hotel was pretty decent. But the other hotel (the one that I stayed) was amazing!
After the check-in I went to the bedroom and I took a shower. After it I went to the window and saw the stars in the sky… What a beautiful night! And what wonderful city!!!
I was almost forgotten that I was hungry! I decided to ask for something to eat in the room. I looked for something in the menu. There was a wide selection of pastas, fishes, steaks, sandwiches… I wanted something that came quickly, but I was not sure what choose. I was so hungry! So I ordered a sandwich - the biggest. When I started to eat the sandwich thought with myself: “bang on target"! The sandwich was quite tasty! It was everything that I needed. When I was firmly ensconced in the bed, I called Renata (my girlfriend). We talked for a few minutes. Then I slept.
Saturday morning I woke up at 5 p.m. because I forgot the curtains opened the night before and the sun rises early there. I went at the window and I stayed there for half-an-hour. To help stay alert, I took another shower. Then I had the breakfast.
It was 8 a.m when I closed the account and I went out to walk around to see the people there, the things… It was incredible!
At 9 a.m. the meeting started. We discussed about plans, projects and other things. And at 11:30 a.m. I was taking the bus went back to home. But the images and the smell of that city still on my mind. I hope to go back there soon!
Here is some links to see pictures of Camocim:
posted on Sunday, 18 January 2009 | comment on this post
I´ve been working hard and I did not write everything that I wanted to say to you. Now I’m a little less busy, so I will try to post new texts every day.
I want to start with a question to Teacher Helen: could you talk about “direct” and “indirect” speech? I think it is an important subject and I think I need to improve my knowledge about this theme.
Now I will reply to some of the comments you made before. I'd like to remeber that the BBC don´t publish all the comments. But even so, try to leave your message!
Naheed (from Pakistan), Ana Paula (my compatriot) and Ewa (from Poland): thank you for your comments and suggestions. It´s good to hear you. By the way, Naheed, I read “The Kite Runner”. Did you read this book? What do you think about it?
Ewa (from Poland): I think you should go to India. After it, you come to Brazil. :-)
Mercè (from Spain): I’d like to visit your country. Some friends of mine told me a lot of interesting things about Spain.
Cristina (from Argentina): I´ve heard about Buenos Aires and, soon, I´ll be there in your country.
Toni (from Spain): Write this blog is an unique experience. Unfortunately, I´ve been busy. But now I want to write all day from today until January 31. The month is almost in the end and I want to work hard with your help.
Wisarut (from Thailand): I hope that the number 9 help all of us to have a great year. Some people are living a terrible time because they are losing their jobs (effect of the financial crisis). Other people are being deprived of food and health because they living in an insane war. I hope that at the end of this year we can celebrate 2009 as a great year. We have a hard work to do, but "Yes, we can" build a better world.
Kiran Gautam (from Nepal): I´m thinking to write a post about Renewable Energy. What do you think?
Adriana (from Brazil): I studied economics and transportation engineering, but I´m not good cooking. I prefer to eat. Why don´t you visit us and learn how to prepare our typical foods? We are waiting for you!
Tiasha (from Sri Lanka): I´m trying to study hard, but I’ve been busy. I like to read the teacher blog… But I think I could do more. What do you suggest?
Guzin (from Turkey): We have beautiful beaches here in Fortaleza. However, Brazil is a large country… There are many beautiful beaches and other places here. I will write about some of them soon.
Paulo Roberto dos Santos (from Brazil): I´m waiting you, Cassia and Ayrton soon. You have a lot of things to see here.
Maurício (from Brazil), Kosal (from Cambodia), James Wu (from Taiwan), Karoun (from Iran), Tanya (from Russia), Deepak (from India), Simone (from Brazil), Anjana (from Nepal), Rabail (from UK), Sara (from Tunisia), and Shanmugam (from India), Hyoshil (from UK), Waldek (from Poland), Beatriz (from Uruguay), Vito (from Italy), Thienloi (from Vietnam), Christhine (from Germany), (Filippo, from Italy), Anita (from Slovakia), Dandrea (from Brazil), Varun (from India), Bruna (from Italy), Kriszta (from Hungary), Bismarck (from Benin), Hai Van Nguyen (from Vietnam) : Thank you for your comments. I hope you continue to visit this blog. And I want to hear more about you.
If you want to know me better, you can find me at:
Thank you for all comments!
posted on Sunday, 18 January 2009 | comment on this post
Amazon Forest and environmental responsibility
I think we all have to do basic things to guarantee the continuity of the life in the world. We are responsible for ours homes, and we are responsible for the Earth. However, over the years we - the human beings - have ravaged our forests, we have polluted rivers, and we have contributed to extinct animal species. Now the entire world is looking to the Amazon Rainforest and we all are concerned about its future. But what is exactly the Amazon Jungle? What this forest represent to us?
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the biggest forests of the world. Its total area is about 7 million square kilometers. The forest extends itself for nine countries: Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil. About 60% of the area of the forest is in Brazilian territory.
We are talking about a place that has the biggest biodiversity of the world and works like a big bank of DNA. I'm not sure if I should refer to the forest as being "a place". Maybe I should call it "an organism". If you sum the plant species of North America and Europe, this number is inferior of the diversity of plants in this forest. The Amazon River, the biggest of the world, crosses the jungle and has 6.500 km long. Just in Brazil, in Amazon Jungle are more than 170 different indigenous languages. There is gold there. There are diamonds, natural gas, oil, and many other natural resources, too. Maybe the cures for most diseases are there - but we don´t know yet. We have not studied what the jungle can give to us.
Amazon Forest helps to control humidity and temperature in the entire world. To comprehend this, you should see the world as a system. I live in a region within Brazil that depends on the forest directly. If there was not the Amazon Forest, the Brazilian Northeast would be a desert.
Despite its importance we continue to devastate it. In 2008 we lose almost 25 thousand of square kilometers of the Amazonia Forest just in Brazil. A big part of this area was destined to cultivate soybeans and sugar cane, and to raise cattle. And a part of the noble wood that was illegally extracted was exported to many countries.
Here in Brazil we witnessed a heated debate between those who want its conservation, the ones that want its sustainable exploitation, and the minor group (but the most powerful) wants to exploit the riches of the forest.
The first group arguments the jungle must be untouchable. The second defends its exploitation by community in a sustainable basis, without destroy the jungle. The third group, in general, has no environmental responsibility.
The politicians here dislike when an important vehicle of the media (like BBC or New York Times) criticizes their inability to deal with the problems of devastation in Amazon Jungle or any other forest. They just listen to those who finance their campaigns. When they express any concern about enviroment it is just rethoric. Their words almost never are translated in actions to protect the enviroment.
But we have to recognize the problem and we must to improve our skills to lead with it. Including the politicians.
You should observe that I’m NOT talking about sovereignty or property rights. I’m talking about deforestation and environmental responsibility.
Now you should think about your home, your city, and your country.
Try to answer these questions:
1)Are you concerned about the future?
2)Do you use rationally resources like water, electricity, gas and paper?
3)Do you have many forests in your country? If not, why? Was they deforested? Why?
4)Are you a part of the problem or you work hard for a solution?
I think it is hard to talk about it but we have do something.
posted on Monday, 19 January 2009 | comment on this post
The legend of the Pink River Dolphin
We had some technical problems last days and some comments could not be published. Now everything is working well. We apologize.
In the last post I wrote about The Amazon Forest. The cultural diversity in the Amazon is enormous. Even to the Brazilians that have not been there is difficult to think about it. For us is like to go to another country. So I choose to talk to you about a legend well known for the people that live there: the legend of the Pink River Dolphin.
Says the legend that especially during the June Festival (or “Festas Juninas” in Portuguese - when are celebrated the days of San Antonio, Saint John, San Peter and San Paul) a Pink Dolphin comes from the river and, with a special power, it becomes man. He uses a white hat to cover his face and disguise his big nose and he dresses white clothes.
The Pink Dolphin, now a talkative and seductive man, likes to go to the celebrations that happened at the communities next the river where he lives. He looks for the most beautiful girl in the party and tries to involve her. In love with him, the girl is invited for a dip in the river. When the girl comes home she is already pregnant by the “Boto” (“Boto Cor-de-Rosa” or just “Boto” is how the riverine people call the Pink River Dolphin). In the next morning the man becomes a Pink Dolphin again.
The legend was a way found to justify a pregnancy of woman that was not married, or pregnacy of a married woman but the father of her children was not her husband.
The indigenous tribes in Amazon believe that the “Boto” is a god protector of the rivers and fishes. They call it as “Uiara”.
Scientists named the Amazon River Dolphin as Inia geoffrensis. It is a species of freshwater dolphin just found in the South America. Some believe that kill an Amazon River Dolphin is sign of bad luck. Despite beliefs, the Amazon River Dolphin is a species threatened with extinction.
I was thinking to stop here, but I couldn’t. Today is 21 January and I have just more ten days as blogger. It has been difficult to me to think about it. I was remebering the day I sent the e-mail to BBC. It was 20 October 2008. In the first reply they said “thank you, but we have many people interested” (or something like this). But soon I received another e-mail telling that I would be a blogger for a month. I was happy. I’m still happy. But the happiness has a date to finish. It has been a great experience for me and I hope that you click at the link on the right (“be our blogger”) and tell to the staff of BBC Learning English why you want to be a blogger. I'm sure it will be an honor for you. It has been an honor for me.
posted on Thursday, 22 January 2009 | comment on this post