Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In Which Religious Music Blares into Our Apartment in the Mornings...

I thought I'd adopt and imitate Jorge Amado-style chapter titles in the blog...

random thoughts and observations and photos in this blog which I keep picking at over the last 2 weeks but I think i will finally hit "publish post" tonight. enough diddly dandling...here we go....

I've had a cold this week and came to the disappointing realization that Brazilians don't really say "bless you" after you sneeze

I highly recommend you check out Eder's newest video about his work - my favorite, yet.

we went to a wedding on Saturday (b&w photo, right) - a cousin i had never met... they invited so many guests that by 11pm, we still hadn't eaten. Why? because they were waiting for people to leave and then bring it out... we left at 11:00pm still hadn't eaten. I guess right after we left some people invaded the table with food decorations (pictured right as well).

The elections were held last Sunday (oct 4th). The day struck me as "calm." (I was shacked up in a hotel room in sao paolo after a night puking from food poisoning, maybe my perception was distorted since being isolated could have left me with that feeling of calm?). There will be a run off for president in a month. The election is getting a bit more interesting, more people don't know who to vote for... the most popular candidate in Salvador - the Green Party's Marina Silva (she's negra), only got 20% of the vote nationally (impressive overall I think!) so now people have to decide between "Lula's candidate" - Dilma - (that's how they bill her) or Serra - who was Governor of Sao Paolo state. I don't see how there's even a dilemma, Dilma is the lesser of 2 evils, but people just really don't seem to like her. More about this in the NYTimes.

The teenagers who live across the street have been out of school for 7 weeks because there was a water leak in the school and they had to close it down. 800 students affected, missing 7 weeks of school!!!!! When I asked them, they seemed to think that they'll get to pass on to the next year anyway, since it's "not our fault." speaks to the priority for education in Brazil. In the meantime, I've been having them help me here and there with Zaya! Nothing like child-labor in times of hardship ; ). I think i'll bring them to the Botanical Garden next time I go. Speaking of my trip to the Botanical Garden..

..I bet you didn't even know there was a Botanical Garden in Salvador. It's tucked away up here in Favelalandia... when I pulled the car up to the gate to enter yesterday, a guard came over to me looking at me suspiciously - what did I want? I asked if the garden was open - thinking that maybe they close on Tuesdays at 2:30 in the afternoon? He said hesitantly, "yes... when you go in, ask for Henrique." I still thought something was wrong, and unfortunately, nothing was. It's just that the "garden" hardly receives visitors. When I toured it (with an enthusiastic biology ungrad doing an internship there), I realized why. The place has very little to offer, is sorely under-resourced, and isn't really the kind of place folks would go to. It's not even open on the weekends because, as the light-skinned intern said, "O negao viria fazer festa aqui, sujir o ambiente." (the "black people" (though I don't think he meant it literally, but there is always the subtle meanings implicit) will come and dirty it with their parties.") I tried hard to be comprehending, but really? Close the garden on Sunday because people will come? Tragic.

I'll leave you with a photo journal of the last few weeks of my life here in Brazil... random shots
(the photos above are of a graffiti exhibit in Salvador's Central Library - graffiti artist denissena (who came to the states with Eder in '07) organized it - many of the pieces have terrific political messages - black power, women's rights...


1) rusted out phone booths in front of a barraca-less beach in Salvador
(the barracas - "shack" - were all forcefully torn down along all of Salvador's beaches/coast in the last few months. big big scandal. would have made for an awesome Fulbright research topic).

2) trip to sao paolo - "chairs" made out of recycled cardboard

3) trip to sao paolo - excellent recycling in the city park

4) trip to sao paolo - last-minute campaigning, day before national election. these billboards, flyers, painted walls, blood-curdlingly loud speakers blaring from cars and VW vans driving around town, commercials on tv and radio, people holding flags for candidates along side of the road, people giving you flyers in your car at traffic lights, etc, etc... all the campaigning we've been bombarded with for the last 2 months.

5) Graffiti mural by Os Gemeos in Sao Paulo at the Museum of Modern Art

6) even the evangelical church has graffiti art in Sao Paulo (and homeless guys too).

7) the most beautiful public rest-room I've ever scene - in Salvador's public library (biblioteca central) - decorated with tons of plants (live ones!)

8) Sao Paulo - "pichacao" - tagging - unique to Sao Paulo

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