Mac Love in Brazil – Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Mac Love in Brazil

Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

I think I’m dating my computer. She’s a tender vixen, full of love and deception. She is at once both my sweetest dream and my most hideous nightmare. Her touch sensitive, her bite deliciously sharp. She is a Macintosh. I love her. And I fear her.

The life of a Macintosh owner in Brazil is a complicated, treacherous dance. All of the benefits of the Mac – the ease of use, the tightly knit program suite, I could go on – are offset by the fact that any minor problem is tough to fix for cheap. Sadly, Macs are virtually obsolete here, and if anything should go wrong, one would be up a creek without a paddle, flying a plane with no wings, [insert your expression here], SOL. The support infrastructure just isn’t there if something fails. It’s a risky relationship.

But aren’t all relationships inherently risky? What would they be without drama? The problems help us face our fears, learn who we are, experiment with different solutions to see what works. Real relationships have problems, and working through these issues makes us stronger. It is with this attitude that I approached my relationship in this new country with my beloved Miss Mac and her cute friend Miss ‘Net. Shall we begin?

When I first arrived here, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that many of my family members had DSL in their homes. This was gonna be easy! So I tried to connect to the internet using our DSL modem here at home. Nothing. Then I tried across the hall at the neighbors. Nothing. Tried again at my tia Nati’s house. Something, but not everything. The dance had begun. My baby was flirting with me, showin’ a little skin. I could get on the internet, but couldn’t download my email nor chat. How was this possible? I was vexed. I was captivated.

At first, as with any companion playing hard-to-get, I was at once entranced and appalled – intrigued by the enigma of the computer’s ill-function and yet quite fearful I’d never be able to access her inner being – her true, full self. The moderate success at Tia Nati’s apartment had me reeling trying to figure out what prevented me from getting access at the other locations. What sweet nothings could I whisper? What did she want to hear? Did she really want a relationship with me? Was it too soon? Did she just have culture shock? Like I said, I was reeling.

I got my first hint of real success with my baby in Florianopolis, a month-and-a-half after I arrived in Brazil. I’m not sure if it was the salty beach air or Pedro in the authorized Mac support shop (leanin’ toward the latter), but my baby and I successfully sent an email, visited a webpage, and chatted. I even downloaded a picture of Britney Spears. When your girlfriend not only permits but helps you download pictures of hot women, you know you’ve got a keeper. That’s when I got my first hint that this relationship wasn’t just a tease. I was gonna figure out a way to make it work – on my terms, not just when we were out in a store that suited her tastes.

After that, our first successful outing together, I took her back to my place, beaming inside but cautiously guarding my hope that this just might be the start of something big. The real test would be if I could connect at our beach house, with the old-school telephone modem, and do all the above. Again and again.

To my delight, she obliged. This was February 16th. Day 50.

If you’re a smoker, imagine being without a cigarette for 50 days. If you’re a girl in love, imagine that your boyfriend shipped off to some far-off land for a summer internship. If you are a mother, think of sending your kid off to college for the first time. I have no idea what any of those feel like, but being without my baby Mac with her magical internet access was tough. And getting her to work again, to see her full beauty, getting to read my emails again was incredible. It was like an orphan getting to see his biological mother for the first time.

Okay, I’m exaggerating.

But it was nice. The first month of our courtship had been tough, but the payoff was amazing. For the next 2 weeks I would logon at 12 midnight in the kitchen of the beach house (when the rates were cheapest), chat with the friends back home, download tracks at my leisure (and at a leisurely 45kbps), and soak up the light from her 14″ TFT display. All was right with the world.

But as often is the case, just when things finally appear to be heading in the right direction, something happens to end the honeymoon. My baby wasn’t gonna go that easy. She had one more test for me.

And it is here where this of the story ends.

To be continued…

Carl Winter is a Taiwan-born Brazilian/American dual-citizen, living in Brazil for the first time at the age of 28. The posted stories, pictures, flix and digit$ on his website are meant to give an indication of the daily fabric of Brazil — from an outsider’s inside perspective.

If you are planning a trip to Brazil, or just want to say hi, email him at carl @

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