Vendors are overcharging me and I'm really starting to get offended. You see, I live here. I speak your freaking confusing language. I know the game. Do not try to play me!
It is not helping that I'm with my Super Gringa Mother. She is adorable with her white skin, blonde hair, and super duper blue eyes. You just want to pinch her cheeks and then grab her butt, she's so darn cute.
But there's a price to this cuteness.
It first started at the Hippie Fair in Ipanema. I know the Hippie Fair is quickly becoming a tourist trap these days. It's sad to see it get to this point, not that it ever was the place to get a particularly fair price on anything. But this incidence was insulting.
Mom and I were looking at a dress she thought was cute when a guy came up and mumbled "R$95." I looked at him and asked "for what?" I was honestly confused. He stated "for that" and nodded towards the dress.
I just looked at him. I'm sorry, I've yet to see a Hippie Fair dress actually worth anything near that, thank you very much. I smiled and told him "No thank you." FYI, this entire transaction, or lack there of, happened in Portuguese.
Then he did the most insulting thing, he called me cheap! He called me cheap and knew I would understand!
That's when I busted out a kick to his head! No, not really. I'm a pacifist and too uncoordinated so I walked away.
You see, my husband taught me early on not to get into arguments on the street, especially with men. The argumentative American did not like this advice but I am in a different country. Sadly, it stuck with me, even in situations where I could totally call the guy an ass and have it be within my right. But there was no point. This ass had made up his mind about me. I was some stupid, rich Gringa. Bummer he's wrong about the rich part...
The next incident happen right in my neighborhood. My 2 yr old asked for popcorn so I got some from a vendor next to the metro station. No biggie. As I went to pay I had a momentary laps in memory and asked "R$1 right?" In Laranjeiras, that's how much a small bag of popcorn costs. At least it did 7 weeks ago before my trip. She hesitated and then said R$2.
You know, I expect this kind of treatment at the Hippie Fair but not in my neighborhood. I looked at her, in front of her two little friends, and asked "Is this that price for Gringas or has the price for everyone gone up?" Her friends laughed in her face. She held back a smile and said "Everyone of course."
What could I do? I'm a pain in the ass but I wasn't about to rip the popcorn out of my 2 yr olds mouth over R$1.
But this does make a girl ask, what is happening to my city?! I really used to feel that Brazilians were equal opportunity opportunists. The overcharged everyone, not just the foreigners. That was, of course, unless you were at a Gringa ripoff point like the shops near the trolley in Santa Teresa.
But Largo do Machado! Do we no longer have our messed up little standards?! I fear for the times before the Olympics. I'm going to have to work on my accents and declare that I'm from Florianopolis or something.
That's it, this Gringa is going undercover! Oh the insanity.