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“Imagina na Copa!”

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Brazil is working hard to have everything ready for the upcoming Copa do Mundo, the World Cup of soccer, in 2014. The internationally famous Maracanã stadium is undergoing a complete renovation. Streets and roads are being improved. The subway (metrô) is adding more stations. Major airports are scheduled for upgrades before the first whistle blows.

Brazilians are a little cynical about their government’s ability to get everything done on time. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has been pressuring Brazil to step up the activity. But the authorities assure all that everything will work out just fine.

Public opinion is that, as usual, it will all come together at the last possible moment, based on the famous “jeitinho brasileiro,” Brazilians’ knack for finding a solution to anything by using unexpected and/or unconventional methods.

People are getting nervous. They fear that the normal delays and inefficiencies that make Brazil “charming” will multiply and make life miserable for the residents. Will the increased traffic, restaurant waits, airport delays, and (most important!) the demand for cerveja (beer) and petiscos (snacks) simply overwhelm the local infrastructure? It’s become a common topic of conversation, the subject of jokes.

Based on a popular youtube entry, “S—t New Yorkers say”, a video called ”Jeitinho Carioca” has become viral on the internet. Carioca means “from Rio”, so the title translates as “Rio’s special knack”). Dá uma olhadinha (have a look):


Unless you’re an advanced student of Portuguese, the language on this video will be hard to understand. Pay attention to the gestures and facial expressions while you pick up words and phrases, some listed below.

The backgrounds are well-known spots in Rio. The two mountain peaks of Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers), are seen from the calçadão (wide sidewalk with black and white mosaic designs) of Ipanema, a popular place to have a chopp (draft beer, also spelled chope) and watch the sunset.

The elevator scene is funny. First they complain about the heat, then they are bundled up (agasalhados) and worried that the temperature will get down to a “freezing” 20 degrees (vinte graus) Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). There’s a joke that, once when the temperature in Rio got down to 55 degrees, the mayor started a campaign to host the Winter Olympics.

A street scene shows a carioca trying to hail a bus on a busy street, but telling his friend on the phone to wait where they had agreed to meet, that he’s just getting off the bus, that he’s almost there. He says: “Agüenta aí, que eu estou chegando” (Hold on there, I’m arriving”). For anyone who knows the streets of Rio, it’s obvious that he’s in an area miles away from where his friend is waiting, and it might take him an hour to get there.

Look for the following phrases. If you can commit them to memory, you can use the same structure, substituting a word here and there, to express many ideas:

“Eu detesto o funk”: I detest funk (Brazilian electronic dance music).

“Moça bonita não paga. Mas também não leva”: Pretty girls don’t pay. But they don’t get (the snacks) either.

“Que gracinha”: How cute/charming!

“Três mil reais o aluguel de um quarto e sala no Catete!”: Three thousand reals (about US$1500) rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Catete!

“Eu vazo do Rio de Janeiro antes disso”: I’m getting the heck out of Rio before that.

“Posso pagar na volta?”: Can I pay when I come back? She’s trying to avoid paying a flanelinha, the illegal “parking attendants” that charge for “guarding” your car. For a more detailed description of these pests, see our article “O Português na Rua” elsewhere on this site.

“Estão sempre gravando alguma coisa aqui no Leblon”: They´re always filming something here in Leblon.

“Com certeza”: For sure.

“Nunca vi na vida”: I never saw him in my life.

Pode dar uma olhadinha para mim, por favor?”: Can you keep an eye on this for me, please?

“Imagina na Copa!”: Imagine what things will be like during the World Cup!


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