Category Archives: Culture

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.

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.

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.

Independence or Death!

"The yell of the Ipiranga", painted by Pedro Américo, 1888

"The yell of the Ipiranga",
painted by Pedro Américo, 1888

Today, septemper 7th, is Brazil’s Independence Day. Exactly 186 years ago, Dom Pedro I, royal prince in charge of the portuguese colony back then, took his sword out of the sheath near the Ipiranga River (where the city of São Paulo is nowadays) and yelled “independence or death!”, being after that declared Dom Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil.*

Practically two centuries have passed by, and we have no kind of submissive relations with our former metropolis. In fact, we are way ahead of Portugal in a lot of subjects. But, in a modern perspective, can Brazil consider itself really independent from anything?

My opinion is that no, we have never truly experienced a real independent life, and there’s still a long way to go before we can think of calling ourselves independent.

I say that based on the conception of independence that matters not only to foreign relations, but mainly to internal issues.

It’s easy to notice a lack of credibility to the country’s independence day. Public patriotic demonstrations are becoming more and more rare when the september seventh’s arrive in the calendar. Several military parades are happening right now throughout our territory, but who attends to them? Last year’s parade in Brasília, our capital and home of the largest military parade, had the not so impressive mark of less spectators in the history.

Does that shows a common sense of disbelief in this so-called independence? I say yes. When you go to the United States, England, France, Germany or Italy (or any developed country), every corner, every building, public or private, have their countries flag raised on poles. Independence days are celebrated at its fullest. In Brazil, not even big cities City Halls have the country’s flag waving on top of them.

In a country where government let people die in hospital waiting lines, die with no medication, die from abandon, die because of the crescent and apparently uncontrollable urban violence, die with no education, die with hunger, die with no perspectives, no dreams, no hope… it’s easy to understand why flags only come out in World Cup period.

Personal independence is also a matter of analysis in big cities. People are more and more often depending on luck to live everyday. There are some periods in the day-by-day living in Brazil, specially when media coverage shows murders and shootings like they where showing soccer goals, that you actually believe returning home after a day of work is not guaranteed as it seems.

We have a long way before calling ourselves independent. We must break from the chains of corruption, populism and personal interests in the public sphere, and from the irons of apathy in the private sphere. Then, one day, we may actually celebrate our independence and cheer a true condition of free human beings. 

* Modern historiography considers that the process of brazilian independence from Portugal started when the portuguese Royal Family first came here, in 1808, running away from Napoleon’s army. Also, the utterly romantic version of Dom Pedro I shouting such words of independence mounted on a horse is questioned too.

Where the streets have no name

Something new is happening around the corners of Rio de Janeiro. Some street name signs are being updated with information about the person who gave name to it. As you may not know, here in Rio de Janeiro and throughout the entire country (except Brasília, the capital), all streets have names. They can be baptized in honor to someone important, like a general, politician, musician, journalist, etc. Also, names are taken from historical references, like dates or important events.

The funny, or sad, thing about that, is that the absolute majority of inhabitants don’t have a clue of who was the person honoured at the signs. Neither what happened in a certain date remembered as an important city address.

To try to make this a little less embarrassing, as I said, some signs are having information added to them. For example: John Kennedy Street (American president), and so on. But I’ve noticed that even with this sort of information, street names are still an enigma.

That lead my crazy thinking to what? To the lack of education we suffer around here. People have very few ways to run after information in Brazil. You may say “and the Internet?”. Well, only who have money can afford a computer and Internet, even though lots of community LAN houses are being opened nowadays in poor neighborhoods. But that’s not enough.

There’s a lack of culture, also. You may give a computer and Internet to someone, but it will be as dull as nothing if they use it only to access WordPress, talk absolutely nothing for hours via Messenger, or view funny videos in YouTube.

And what does that has to do with street signs names and information? Actually, I don’t know. All I know is that we can’t just be satisfied with small stuff, while there’s a world out there to be known.