It’s been a while…

… since my last post. And I’m sorry for it! Life outside blogging is taking up my entire time, but I’m feeling things will cool off next week. In the meantime you can just browse thru my archives and read all that madness. Hope to see you soon!

Bananas, bananas, who wants bananas?

Vegetables on display

Vegetables on display

My Brazilian Brasil is a blog about Brazil and everything in it. So, in this post, you’ll find something pretty typical from here. The urban open market of fish, fruits and vegetables.

Named “feira livre” (which means open market in english), this legal congregation of several fish, fruit and vegetables producers happens from sunday to monday in most of brazilian cities, in several neighborhoods at the same time. Vendors set up their tents from 7 a.m. ’till 3 p.m. in specific streets or squares determined by local city halls.

When I say streets, I really mean streets. Traffic is closed in the period of the open market, and only gets back to normal after everything is cleaned up. 

Fruits on display

Fruits on display

Normally, this is not a problem for cities traffic flow, because the open markets generally occurs in specific secondary streets, always leaving drivers an alternative way to get from A to B with no delay.

There’s an open market every monday on the street next to mine. It’s always something like a party with fruit and fish scent. Vendors shouting, fighting for the client, giving discounts; housewives and househusbands jumping from tent to tent, choosing the best looking tomato and the greener lettuce, sometimes with a little arguing about who caught the bigger papaya first; a traffic jam of small fruit carts taking food up and down the road; and the thing I like most: the visual sea of bright colors and kinds of people everywhere.

Bananas! Who wants bananas?!

Bananas! Who wants bananas?!

I’m 24 and I can remember open markets since I was a baby. It’s a true tradition. I’ve also been to fruit open markets in France and England, and I can tell you for sure: the brazilian ones have nothing to do with those. Ours are funnier and more colorful.

Other cool characteristic of these open markets is that you may not find only it’s regular products. I’ll take my neighbor market as an example once again: I’ve seen portable butchers (small frigo-carts with pieces of meat inside, like a hot dog cart), tents of fried food, like chips and “pastéis” (pastéis is the plural of pastel, in portuguese, which is a sort of brazilian tortilla, but well.. not a tortilla.. actually, I think there’s nothing like it anywhere, come here and taste it), and several other stuff, like even clothes tents (more rare, but I’ve seen).

Credit cards welcome

Credit cards welcome

Despite the visual aspect of the open market, it has, in fact, a positive impact on family’s income. According to Rio de Janeiro’s city hall, there are 182 legal open markets in this city nowadays. Together, they serve as employment for over 6.000 legal producers, helping to raise 30 thousand people indirectly.

For consumers, it’s always a good deal. You’ll pay cheaper for fresh fruits and vegetables than if you were buying in the supermarket. Because of that, open markets make more than 15 million Reais flow (something like US$ 8 million) monthly, with 12 thousand tons of food being sold.

Tip: when the open market day is coming to an end, prices go down. In a matter of minutes, you can save up to 70% in some items. Also, it’s a rule to bargain. Never accept the first price, throw an offer! For last, if you’re short on cash, relax: take your credit card: it’s welcome in some tents.

Eating fruits and vegetables is surely a great way of keeping up your health safe and your body fit – keep that in mind.

Church and State: secularism in politics

Sarkozy and Pope Benedict XVI in France

Sarkozy and Pope Benedict XVI in France

In the speech Pope Benedict XVI made in front of a huge crowd of 260 thousand people yesterday, in hist first visit to France as a Pope, as well as in interviews the Church’s leader gave, relations between Church and State were brought to attention when the message of religion and State being more open to each other was passed.

The french President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has a history of bringing religion to the spotlight, also spoke words about a new perspective in secularism, which he called “positive secularism”. Such declarations immediately got opposition responses from the french Socialist Party and from the Secular State Defense Association.

Discussions about the bonds between religion and government should be made more often. We brazilians could take a good dose of this subject with our cities mayoral elections coming up next month.

Rio de Janeiro has a particular interest in this subject, since the city has one of it’s two main candidates as an ex-bishop of the largest pentecostal churchs in Brazil, the Assembly of God.

A modern Assembly of God temple in Brazil

A modern Assembly of God temple in Brazil

Pentecostal churches, specially the Assembly of God, have reached an amazing power level in Brazil. They have large acceptance in lower class citizens, and their temples are spread throughout the country. These temples, most of them large and modern auditoriums, get packed to capacity when services are being held. Preachers “speak the language” of simple people, having an amazing power of argument and persuasion with their audience.

Just like the Catholic Church, Assembly of God has built it’s empire with the money of the poor. Money enough to buy the second largest TV network in Brazil, several radio stations, newspapers, magazines, publishers, have their sessions transmitted nationally in other smaller TV networks, and so on. Politics, of course, are on their list of main objectives too.

danger zone.

Religious influence on people: danger zone.

Now, with the elections period nearing it’s peek, Rio de Janeiro citizens are facing a true possibility of having a pentecostal mayor next year.

Mixing religion with State affairs is a dangerous move. I feel it’s wrong to make decisions that will affect the entire society with the light of a determined religious concept shining over. Just as an example, issues like drugs, abortion, marriage, gay rights, medical procedures and freedom of speech and belief could be seriously in risk of not being treated with the true balanced and reasonable sence of fairness they deserve.

Not a Constitution

Not a Constitution

And religious fanatism, of course, should never be forgotten as one of the ugly faces of any religion.

Religion is and will always be a part of political campaigns. For a strange reason beyond my actual comprehension, it’s still important for people to know if a candidate believes in God or not, which God, and stuff like that. But we must pay attention in order to not let a Devil in disguise run our lives preaching the Lord’s word.

Wikipedia has an interesting article about pentecostalism. Click here to read.
The New York Times story about the Pope in France, click here.

Becoming a true brazilian beach queen

If you are a woman and have never heard about brazilian bikinis, prepare to be astounded with a new world of beach fashion. If you are a man… well, enjoy your reading!

First of all: I think Brazil carrying it’s name worldwide because of a bikini suit is nothing wrong. You have already seen me talk against sex tourism in the past, but let’s not get things mixed up here.

Low waist and large laces, a true brazilian bikini

Low waist and large laces, a true brazilian bikini

As far as I understand the bikini issue, the fact we have a model baptized with our country’s name only proves we are capable of creating and providing influence in the world of fashion. If someone uses this image in a bad way, than the story is different. But that’s not the subject of this post.

Brazilian bikinis are totally different from other bikinis I’ve seen, and I must say: there’s no doubt ours fit women better. They put the american style bikini on the floor. Forgive me american bikini lovers, but, in my opinion, they look like diapers. No, no good at all.

Our two-piece swimsuits are mostly made with colorful patterns and interesting design details. I can list here the pretty laces on the side of both the lower and the upper parts, that gives the bikini a sweet, delicate look; along with these laces, I must not forget to talk about the main characteristic of brazilian bikinis: their size.

Not all have laces. Feel free to accesorize with necklaces and bracelets.

Not all have laces. Feel free to accesorize with necklaces and bracelets.

Women are, most of the time, amazed on how tiny these pieces are. Some are even afraid to try them on, with fear of getting naked in a situation not so proper to be naked. I say: don’t worry, be happy! Brazilian bikinis will expose more your body – but if you feel comfortable with yourself, you will enjoy wearing those.

And I can also tell you: men surely loves it. Am I wrong, guys?

Two piece brazilian bikini

Two piece brazilian bikini

It’s easy to find stores on the web that sells brazilian bikinis worldwide. But I recommend coming here and buying them here. I’ll tell you an important thing: street vendors and beach vendors sell bikinis as beautiful as the shops ones. And price is way, way cheaper. If you see a bunch of girls choosing bikinis on a vendor’s tent, go there and you’ll be happy.

There’s only one thing you must dedicate attention before walking around with your bikini: be sure you don’t have any pubic hair coming out! You can try the brazilian wax before buying a brazilian bikini. Let me stop here to laugh a little. It’s so funny to have a waxing style named after my country! Man, who thought of that?

The diaper. No.

The diaper. No.

Brazilian waxing is becoming more and more requested in foreign countries. Here we don’t call it “brazilian waxing”, of course. I believe it’s just normal waxing. I can’t write properly about that, I’ll call my lovely lady to write about it for me. If you want to learn how to “brazilian wax” yourself, you can click here. And, if you’re a men, there’s waxing for you too. Click here if you’re interested to kiss your hair goodbye.

There’s also an interesting reading here. It’s an interview with a beauty specialist, that shares her feelings about doing the brazilian wax in other women.

So, are you prepared to feel sexy and becoming the beach queen, or will you keep on passing unnoticed with your diaper-suit?

To view an interesting fashion blog, click here.
To read a story about getting bikini waxed, click here.
To view a bikini every woman would love to have, click here.

Disrespect for the five stars emblem: Brazil vs. Bolivia

Brazil’s national soccer team, five times champion of the world, all-time top ranked in FIFA’s table, gave an incredible demonstration of weak playing last night, here in Rio de Janeiro, against the bolivian team. (click here to see FIFA’s ranking)

A sea of blue chairs in the stadium

A sea of blue chairs in the stadium

In front of a tiny crowd of 20 thousand supporters (40 thousand tickets were put on sale), coach Dunga’s team has given a true victory for our rivals: a zero to zero draw. Click here to watch highlights from the match.

Bolivia celebrated the pitiful score like they had won the World Cup. Of course: Brazil gave them the air they needed after 13 losses in a row playing an away game. Stars like Robinho, Ronaldinho Gaúcho and Julio Baptista did nothing to them. The five stars emblem sewed on the yellow jerseys represented nothing to Bolivia, represented by their 10 men on field (one was sent to the shower by the referee). Unfortunately, nothing to our players either. 

worthy the celebration

Tie with Brazil: worthy the celebration

As you probably know, soccer is almost a matter of State in Brazil (in fact, our president gave some interviews last week saying that our national team should be more aggressive, like Argentina. In case you don’t know, Brazil and Argentina are the lead characters of a true case of love and hate. One can’t live without the other, but take every chance to poke the colleague in the eye. Knowing that, you can imagine the dimension our president’s declarations took).

Being almost a matter of State, Brazilian national team has been questioned all the time for their lack of attitude in the field. The main reason, most brazilians think, is coach Dunga.

Dunga was one of the main players in the 1994 World Cup title campaign. A true leader of the entire team, and a wall in the defensive area. He was the personification of will, strenght and determination. When he assumed the role of national coach, we thought: yes! that’s what we need.

Coach Dunga watching his team suffer against Bolivia

Coach Dunga watching his teamsuffer against Bolivia

Things came out a little different. In his first games as a coach, he used his visible position to wear clothes designed by his daughter, most of them absolutely terrible. A position like that should be taken seriously, and what he did was wrong. He looked like a clown and also used the national team for personal objectives. We brazilians are used to see politicians do that too, and we consent to this situation with our society’s silence. But don’t come mess with our national soccer team!

After that, he started to line up players we never heard about. Very few athletes from our own brazilian soccer teams were summoned to represent. We waited to see, and we saw bad results.

Now, things are getting more and more tight for Dunga and his crew. He couldn’t even hold on to the tiny cloud of success after beating up Chile 3-0 last week. I believe it’s time for him to let other assume the position. He’s still remembered as a great player, and I don’t want to see that image blowing away.

All that said, coach Dunga is one of the possible reasons to such a tiny crowd last night. The other was the game being held in the Engenhão stadium, one of the most modern arenas in the country.

Engenhão stadium lit-up

Engenhão stadium lit-up

Engenhão stadium is placed here in Rio de Janeiro and, as a native, I can tell you: it’s hard to get there. Starting from the city centre, you must take the subway, than change to the rail system to get there. Our rail system is nothing like american, french, german, italian… you get the picture. Also, there’s no proper parking lots around the stadium and I won’t even talk about buses. You get the picture too.

For you to have an idea, last october Brazil terminated the ecuatorian national team with a 5-0 win here in Rio de Janeiro also, but with the game being held in the world-famous Maracanã stadium. 85 thousand people were there, including myself. It was awesome.

The question unanswered: why our soccer federation decided for the Engenhão instead of Maracanã? We don’t know the reason, but the result came out to everyone.

Give a little respect to me

Give a little respect to me

Let’s see if things get better for Brazil team from now on. I hope they remember all the time that we are qualifying for the World Cup, and that demands the most of each player and coach.

To visit FIFA’s official website, click here.
To visit the brazilian national team official website, click here. (In portuguese)
To check search results for “Bolivia” in FIFA’s website, click here.

Second in Formula One; and remembering Ayrton Senna

The word “second” has suddenly got an amazing importance for Brazil in the Formula One championship this week, after the Spa Francorchamps race, in Belgium. Let me show you why:

  1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari’s team brazilian driver, has guarded safely the second position in the driver’s championship for, at least, one race. Also, he is only two points behind the leader, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

    Kimi and Hamilton fight for the lead

    Kimi and Hamilton fight for the lead

  2. This approach has happened because Massa, who finished the last race in second place, inherited the victory after the checkered flag because the actual winner, Hamilton, got a penalty for cutting the chicane and getting advantage improperly. Click here to see Hamilton’s maneuver.

  3. After Massa’s lucky day, Ferrari started to rediscuss the team’s strategy from now until the end of the championship (only five races left), in order to possibly change Massa’s status from second driver to first driver, since Kimi Räikkönen, his team companion, lost important points to fight for the trophy.

Massa, Hamilton and Heidfeld on the podium before the after-race changes

Massa, Hamilton and Heidfeld on the podiumbefore the after-race changes

There’s been a lot of arguments in the web trying to answer if Hamilton’s penalty was or wasn’t fair. Personally, I believe it wasn’t. I’m totally in favor of “agressive” driving in F1, to avoid races becoming a car parade. Also, I don’t think the british driver commited any foul.

That said, the main reason of this post is: Felipe Massa has a real chance of winning the championship after last weekend. And, if the competition stays balanced like it has been so far, the title may be decided here, in Brazil, home of the last race of the season.

Felipe Massa talking to the press

Felipe Massa talking to the press

Can you imagine the thrill it will be for us if Massa decides the title with Hamilton in Brazil? I can’t wait.

It’s interesting to see that a brazilian driver has finally reached a good point count in the near-end of the season. I’m thrilled, some people are also. But I must say that I’ve seen Brazil’s REAL thrill when the subject was F1. You probably know about who I’m talking about.

That’s right: Mr. Ayrton Senna.

Senna and his unforgettable winning gesture

Senna and his unforgettable winning gesture

It’s a fact: from his tragical and unforgettable death until today, F1 has never been the same for brazilians. I remember the years that followed 1994, and they were sad, even with our national soccer team winning the World Cup that same season (even the soccer team paid an homage to Ayrton Senna after the final whistle of the title-winning match)

Sundays lost their morning fun (morning for us) and F1 reached an aversion level never seen here. It couldn’t be other way. In a day, we had a three-time world champion, charismatic, patriotic and brave in tracks driver. In the next, we didn’t. Also, we watched live that terrible wall in Tamburelo’s turn getting near and near Senna’s Williams. 14 years later, I can’t write this without getting a little uncomfortable.

Brazil saying the last goodbye for Senna

Brazil saying the last goodbye for Senna

Felipe Massa knows that. He, himself, says that Senna was his personal idol, and his death marked him forever. But now, the young driver has a chance to carve his name in our driving history and start to give us back that glow on our faces when someone starts talking about Formula One.

Let’s wait to see if Massa will have the honor of sharing a place in the hall of champions with the one and only Ayrton Senna do Brasil (“do Brasil” means “of Brazil”).

For now, click here if you want to feel the energy of Mr. Ayrton Senna’s victory in Brazil, back in 1993 (english subtitles). The jingle song that starts right after he crosses the line, named “Victory Anthem” and created specially for him, is played until today when a brazilian driver crosses the line in the first position, or any other sports person or team wins anything. It’s a touching song for us.

Check the first 10 drivers classification with five races to go:

 To view the entire table, click here.
 To visit the official F1 website, click here.
 To see several Ayrton Senna’s videos, click here.
 To watch Felipe Massa’s victory in Brazil 2006, click here.
 To read someone in favor of Hamilton’s penalty, click here.
 To read someone against it, click here.

R.E.M. back in Brazil!

This post will begin with the following picture:

R.E.M.

R.E.M.

That’s it. The so expected announcement of R.E.M. returning to Brazil has been officially made just a few days ago in their official website. Check their tour dates in South America:

R.E.M.'s south american tour dates

R.E.M.'s south american tour dates

It’s the second time the band performs here. The first was back in 2001, live in Rock in Rio 3 festival (nice times when Rock in Rio actually took place in Rio…). They performed in front of 175 thousand people, their largest audience ’till today, and I was there.

Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck

Michael Stipe, Mike Mills and Peter Buck

R.E.M. was definitely the best (or one of the best) bands to perform in Rock in Rio 3, and they went away leaving me and everybody hurt, missing them for such a long time. If you want to have an idea of what R.E.M.’s performance in Rio de Janeiro was, check this video.

I remember the stage lights lighting up at each song, creating awesome scenarios behind the band. That night I even couldn’t hold down my tears when they performed the song Everybody Hurts. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video of this performance on the web, but check this one out. The band and London crowd did a good job too.

The good news are given, now we just have to wait until ticket prices are released. It will probably be an attempt of robbery by the Arena administrators, as usually happens when big bands come to Brazil.

Speaking of big bands, there’s a small wave of mainstreamers starting to splash at our ports. Muse came here last month, and Madonna is performing in a few days. Newspapers have printed that Maroon 5, Stone Temple Pilots and Duran Duran are having their entry visas checked – probably they will perform in november, same as R.E.M.

If you are planning to visit Brazil, the end of the year will surely be hotter than usual around here.