Sunday, August 19, 2012

Portuguese Language Museum




Museu da Língua Portuguesa [Portuguese Language Museum] is  one of my favorite places in São Paulo. I’ve gone there several times – in general with friends to present it to them – and I always see something new, a detail, an angle, a word, beyond the exhibitions on the first floor that change from time to time. In 2007 it hosted a really beautiful exhibition on Clarice Lispector – one of my favorite Brazilian writers, maybe my favorite one. I remember there were some ‘furniture’ with drawers that could be open (sometimes you needed a ladder to reach these drawers) and then you could see hand-written texts or personal letters. The last exhibition I saw there was Oswald de Andrade’s – comparing to other exhibitions it was not so good.

Fernando Pessoa (Portuguese poet), temporary exhibition, 2010

The museum was inaugurated in March of 2006 and is placed in the building of Luz [Subway/Train] Station, built in 1867, remodeled in 1901 and restored along the last century. It presents a British architecture of the beginning of the 20th century, so the similarity between its clock tower and the Clock Tower [which people call ‘Big Ben’] in London is not a coincidence. As the subway/train station still works, the best way to get to Museu da Língua Portuguesa using public transportation is taking the subway train to Estação da Luz (Luz Station – blue line).

Luz Train Station

As you leave the elevator on the second floor (the first one are dedicated to temporary exhibitions), you can see and hear projections of people speaking about Brazilian culture in Portuguese – these images are projected along a 106-meter [348-feet] screen on the wall. On this floor you can also play with words in Beco das Palavras [Words Alley] – if you and other players are able to join syllables projected on a table and form a word you can read/hear its meaning and curiosities; there are several syllables ‘swimming’ on the table. Another great thing to see is an area where you can hear different accents spoken in Brazil and in other Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola and Mozambique.

Entrance of the 2nd floor 

Beco das Palavras [Words Alley], 2nd floor

On the third floor, the most amazing experience of the museum: Praça da Língua [Language Square], where famous artists read Brazilian and Portuguese poems and small texts while words, sounds and images related to the text being read are projected on the ceiling and walls – as the room is dark, it seems you’re looking at a wonderful night sky full of shining stars-words. At the end of the projection these poems and texts can be seen/read on the floor. Even if you don’t speak Portuguese this is an amazing experience.

Praça da Língua [Language Square]

We can only live near another one,
and know another person without fearing hate,
if we have love.

Any love is already a
little of health,
a rest in the crazyness.

~João Guimarães Rosa, Brazilian writer (1908-1967)


The museum is in a central area of São Paulo and other interesting nearby places to visit are: Pinacoteca (Art Museum in front of the Portuguese Language Museum) and Estação Pinacoteca (Art Museum Station). Next to Pinacoteca there’s a garden/park with sculptures but nowadays there are prostitutes working there.

Tip: the central area is not the safest place of the city, so avoid carrying great amounts of cash, credit cards, jewelry and expensive belongings.

Services

Address
Museu da Língua Portuguesa
Praça da Luz, Centro
São Paulo,SP - Brasil

Opening Hours
Ticket office: Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Museum: Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Closed: On Mondays throughout the year (including holidays); January 1st; Carnival Tuesday; December 24th, 25th and December 31st.

Ticket Sales/Admissions

Payment can be made only in cash.
Full price: R$ 6,00 (around US$ 3)
Half-price: R$ 3,00 (around US$ 1.50)
On Saturdays admissions are free.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

'If I catch oh my God'

Brazil was ‘discovered’ by Pedro Álvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator and explorer, in 1500, when he was sailing to reach India (from Portugal), according to a teacher I had when I was 7. [I had to memorize this information because she would ask it in our History test later.] It was a colony of Portugal, that’s why we speak Portuguese and not Spanish like other countries in Latin America.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world but its population is distributed irregularly – sometimes it seems 90% of the population (whose total was around 191,000,000 in 2010) live in the city of São Paulo, mainly when you have to take the subway train during rush hour.

Even if Rio de Janeiro is our most famous city, it’s not the capital – Brasília (Distrito Federal) is. I guess Rio is now more widely known because of the animated film Rio (2011), directed by Carlos Saldanha. Places we see in the film really exist – it’s amazing. And maybe people are more interested in Brazil because we’ll host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

As I’m not a big fan of soccer, samba, Carnival and Michel Teló (incredibly one of the most famous Brazilian singer nowadays, here and abroad – have you ever listened to this: ‘Wow Wow / This way you’re gonna kill me / Oh if I catch, Oh my God, if I catch you / Delicious, delicious’? If not, I’m sure you will – it doesn’t matter if you’re in Hawaii, China or Bangladesh), I’ll try to show you Brazil as I see it. See Brazil through my eyes.



Reference sites:
- Biblioteca Virtual (data of the city of São Paulo)
- IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (population statistics of Brazil)
- Espaço Educar (map of Brazil)
- IMDb (animated movie Rio)
- YouTube (music video by Michel Teló, song 'If I catch you')