Category Archives: Identity

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!

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Abroad love

I’ve noticed that, in my last post, about brazilian independence day, I forgot to talk about an interesting happening that’s been on for 24 years: the Brazilian Day, a party that takes place in the streets of New York, USA (46th street, known as Little Brazil) every sunday before Labor’s Day in the United States.

Brazilian Day stage set up in New York

Brazilian Day stage set up in New York

Brazilian Day is broadcasted live to Brazil. It is sponsored by Brazil’s largest TV network, and has always star-artists from our country on-stage. According to the New York Department of Police, the 2007 party had an attendance of 1.5 million people, spread thru 25 blocks of the big apple.

The reason I’m talking about this is: in the previous post I’ve said that few people go to military parades in independence days, and that’s also hard to find brazilian flags on top of public or private buildings. The idea behind that was to show a lack of patriotism, even in a national day, caused by a general misbelief in brazilian State.

Well, Brazilian Day, in America, shows another side of brazilian people behavior to their country. You see tons of green and yellow flags, demonstrations of joy, happiness and pride to have Brazil as a homeland – all that, of course, standing on the floor washed by uncle Sam, miles away from here.

I admit it: it’s easier to be a brazilian when you go abroad. Brazilians share a common taste for travelling to developed countries, like the United States and some places in Europe and Asia. Unlike american, french, german or english people, we don’t like to visit places like Africa, Middle East or even our latin american neighbors. We already have too much social problems around here.

I’d say there’s no better place to show-off a prideful brazilian flag than standing side-by-side with Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World.

Why does this happens? Why we are more brazilians when we are not standing here? I’d put like this: we are, surely, patriotic. We love Brazil. I love Brazil and everybody I know loves Brazil. But sometimes it feels that Brazil doesn’t loves us. We get sad, hurt.

Brazilians are passionate people. We are driven by our emotions. We like to talk to everybody, laugh, argue in a loud voice, dance, everything. Leave all your englishmen attitude before you arrive here, you won’t fit in. We love love, and we hate hate. No middle terms.

Crowded street in New York for Brazilian Day party 2008

Crowded street in New Yorkfor Brazilian Day party 2008

That said, it’s easy to get one important thing about abroad patriotism: brazilians, and I include myself for sure in this sentence, are taken by a crushing feeling of homesickness when away for too long. We cry and clap hands when the plane lands here. And we embrace every opportunity to feel a little closer to home when abroad. That, I believe, is the reason for our patriotic demonstrations in away countries.

All I know is that if someday I’m in NY, and Brazilian Day shows up in the calendar, you’ll find me for sure in the middle of the crowd with my soccer jersey and my prideful green and yellow flag.
 
To visit the official Brazilian Day website, click here.
To read an interesting story about Brazilian Day not making everyone happy, click here.

The list: 10 points over Brazil

WordPress has an interesting stats engine that allows bloggers to see not only how many visitors have read their blogs, but how these readers got there. When it comes to this blog, I’ve noticed that there are plenty of people searching the web for “brazilian lifestyle” and ending up here.

Even though this is the exact idea of my writtings, my concept of transmitting characteristics of brazilian lifestyle is not resumed to a single post. The entire blog is about brazilian lifestyle. Even my style of writting reveals a part of brazilian lifestyle. Everything depends on how readers face what they are reading.

But, as we live in the fast-food, fast-cars, fast-web and fast-sex world, I would be an alien to think everybody has patience and feeling to absorb things in an analytical and critical way.

SO, I’ve decided to cut-the-crap on this post and give to you, dear reader, a small, but essential, list of THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT BRAZIL BEFORE COMING HERE:

1 – We DO NOT speak spanish. Our mother language is portuguese, that has little or nothing to do with spanish.

2 – Our capital IS NOT Buenos Aires. This is Argentina’s capital city. Ours is Brasília, D.F. The letters D.F. stands for Distrito Federal, which in english means Federal District.

3 – São Paulo is written like this. It is wrong to write São Paolo or San Paolo. We are not in Spain or in Italy. If you want to translate the name of a city, which I find wrong to do, please, translate it right. São Paulo, in english, would be Saint Paul. But please, swear you’ll never translate Rio de Janeiro as “January River”!

4 – Our coin is called Real. It’s worth something like US$ 1,70 and 2,5 Euro today.

5 – We don’t dance samba around every corner, nor we drink caipirinhas in breakfast. You can easily find samba houses and official samba organizations that allows you to go in their club to samba yourself out. Samba on the streets only happens in Carnival time, generally in February. Something like Mardi Gras, but way, way funnier and happier. About caipirinhas… well, those you can find almost everywhere. But remember: the true caipirinha is made with cachaça, not with vodka.

6 – Yes, there is violence here. Despite our incredible natural beauties, we are still a third world country. So, please, don’t act like a tourist. But I must say: the image that if you step here a bullet will cross in front if you is false. Just pay attention, as you would pay in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris…

7 – We are nice and kind people, more than you can imagine. Keep that in mind if someone starts up a conversation or extend their hands in order to get a handshake. It’s not necessary to call the police!

8 – You will find several beggars and abandoned children in the streets. Feel free to feel shocked and sad with it. I feel everyday.

9 – You will find several incredibly beautiful men and women in the streets. Feel free to feel shocked and amazed with it. I feel everyday.

10 – Going out to a bar at night, or to a disco, is a nice way to feel the brazilian vibe. But, please, stay away from these whorehouses-specially-made-to-drain-tourist-money. Brazil is not just sex and liberation. The industry of sexual tourism makes me feel ill.

Hope that’s helpful. I’ll write a better post about brazilian lifestyle in the near future.

Ps: If you check this blog, you’ll find a different way of viewing sexual tourism, specially in Brazil. Written by “Rio Joe”, he says he’s addicted to sexual tourism since 2003. Interesting reading!

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.

Home of the Brave

I could not think of any other way to describe Brazil by saying it is the true home of the brave. May a fellow american reader claim this is an outrageous assault of the State’s anthem, a pure case of author’s right violation and patriotic robbery. Well, pardon me! But if you put one foot on this green-and-yellow land I’m writting from, maybe my barefaced act will not seem so in vain. Let me explain.

Surviving in Brazil is not an easy task. There are plenty of items to be put on a list that would answer anyone that asks “why?”. I’m not a brazilianist researcher, neither my knowledge about this country covers 1/1000 that is out there to be learned. But there’s one thing that I have, and is of great value: I wake up and go to sleep everyday here.

As I walk by my hometown, Rio de Janeiro, each corner tells me that we still have a long, long way before calling ourselves a developed country. Poverty, lack of public conservation, lack of adequate transportation, a constant feeling of insecurity. All that in contrast to an exuberant natural beauty and an true friendly and kind people makes my head go nuts, thinking that if our politicians had a little more care with this land, Brazil would definetly be the closest example of heaven on Earth. For now, even angels have to struggle in order to survive here.

If you have interest and patience, this blog’s updates are intended to express my personal view on why it is so difficult to just lean back, put on a nice samba cd, serve myself a tasty caipirinha and think that everything is allright. Maybe they will make you see that we are definetly the home of the Brave but, unfortunately, not the land of the free.

See you next time.

My Brazilian Brasil

Yep, that’s right. The first post. Let’s see where this is heading.

First of all, I’d like to reinforce a few items for this blog correct comprehension:
1) My english is not that good! Be patient and forgive any misspelling toughts.
2) The objective of this blog is quite cloudy. I’d put like this: a place where I can write about several subjects regarding Brazil; Politics, culture, daylife.. All personal impressions, please! Don’t expect any kind of theorical dissertations based on phylosophical and/or scholar works! Also, this blog intends to be another (simple, but another) point where people around the world can gather some information about my country.
3) Fell free to contact me at any time. I’ll try my best to answer in time and properly.
4) Have fun!

No more bla bla bla! See you on the next post.