June and some more favelas

The past few weeks were full of adventures and new encounters some of which I will describe today. I also had many new ideas that I will share in the upcoming weeks.

This Saturday I got to participate in a traditional holiday called Festa Junina, which marks the European midsummer and Brazilian winter (or Brazil summer no. 2, as it is hard to call the season winter when it is 30C outside). I went to the most posh version of this at the Rio Jockey Club. The event kind of reminded me of a Texan 4th of July celebration meet PippiĀ Longstocking. At the entrance we received cowboy hats and bandanas. All the girls were dressed in bright puffy dresses with ribbons in their hair or on their hats and freckles drawn on their cheeks. There was a big food fair with incredible combination of hot dogs, french crepes, sweets and pea soup. There was forro music and children games.

My favorite part was a dance troop composed of favela kids in their late teens, dressed in the brightest outfits I have ever seen in my life (think bright orange or fluorescent green with flower patters). They performed some crazy dances that resembled country dancing combined with breakdancing. I sadly noticed that most of the girls were really obese (probably 10 years younger than me, but double my size). Wish I could do something about that. Poor people in Brazil (and other parts of Latin America) are getting fatter and fatter.

I got some amazing traditional Brazilian jewelry, made of weaved straw with golden threads.

Brazilian jewelry – Capim Dourado

Saturday night I went to a party in a “mansion” in Gavea that was supposed to be themed after Nights in St. Tropez. The party crowd was a combination of gringos, hippies and kids from nearby favela Rocinha. The party flyer asked everyone to come in their bathing suits but everyone thankfully ignored this invite as the pool looked like it had better times (maybe in the 80’s). Anyhow, the best part of the night was en route to the party. My companions decided to save 5 reais and take the gypsy van to the party. After being squashed among working class, sweaty men across town, we were pulled over by the military police and then searched by women with machine guns on the side of the road. Felt almost like I were in a scene from the Elite Squad. I started considering a career change once again..

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