Brazil: Life, Blood, Soul [Secure eReader]
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eBook by John Malathronas
eBook Category: Travel/History
eBook Description: "In Brazil the motto seems to be: if you've got it, flaunt it, and if you don't, flaunt it even more--" Brazil: an eclectic nation that evokes images of vibrant carnivals, crowded shanty towns and football on the beach. Shaped by its many cultures, the Portuguese, African, Native Indian and European communities have ensured the evolution of a colourful, diverse population. John Malathronas fell prey to Brazil's seductive allure in the early eighties, a fascination that continues to this day. His odyssey through the adrenaline-fuelled, chaotic city bars, the extravagant and exotic Carnaval, the lush vegetation of the Amazon rainforest and the destitute shanty towns reveals the throbbing heartbeat of this remarkable country.
eBook Publisher: Summersdale Publishers Ltd/Summersdale Travel, Published: 2004
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2005
"...comprehensive, entertaining and well writen. Travel writing at its best."--Spirit FM
"John Malathronas goes about showing us a country, not a postcard ... it is his talent in combining the many different elements of society but maintaining their individual interest that makes this book so enjoyable ... full of insight and he has a strong understanding of the human condition ... a quest to find the soul of Brazil, and discover just what the Brazilians have lost. However, in order to fully understand Malathronas's answers a visit to this country is a must: go and find out what a dusk-till-dawn Candomble ceremony feels like, who the Tupi are, and lear the legend of Iracmema. This is an amazing book that truly captures the heart of this vibrant country, and will make you want to book that flight to Rio sooner rather than later."-- Kate Hand, Palatinate News
"Malathronas has been to all the corners of Brazil. He knows the history, speaks the language, knows which music is popular and can tell in an engaging way about the 16 things he hates and the 16 things he loves of the country."--Reisboeken
Now I have seen more of Brazil than most Brazilians, and I know a lot more about the country than all those years ago when the mention ofCabral and Porto Seguro had me searching the atlas for clues. Yes, the popular image of Brazil is not untrue. There is the Amazon, there is crime and Amnesty International condemnations, Rio is a very pretty city indeed, especially during Carnival, they play some mean football and they export a lot of coffee. But that image is one-dimensional. There is much more to this country of 180 million, the fifth largest in the world, than just that.
Which brings me to General de Gaulle's bitchy comment. I don't know what he meant, but I know he didn't make it. It is one of those quotes that were never said, like Humphrey Bogart never said "Play it again Sam" in Casablanca. The person who did say this was Brazilian: an ambassador to France, Carlos Alves de Souza. Apparently, during the Lobster War of 1962 (a fisheries conflict between Brazil and French Guyana) he was summoned by the General for a dressing down. When the Ambassador was later interviewed, he made that notorious quote which was somehow attributed to de Gaulle. Still, the arrogant, disdainful General could have made that remark, which is why it stuck to him.
Perhaps the Ambassador had in mind Cacareco, SÃo Paulo's beloved female rhinoceros. Cacareco arrived in SÃo Paulo for the inauguration of its zoo in September 1958. She was the daughter of Britador and Teresinha, had a sister called Patachoca and was an Aquarius. I mean, the girl had pedigree! Maybe it was for that reason that a reporter decided to put Cacareco forward as a candidate for the State Parliament as a protest against political corruption. In the forthcoming election Cacareco was the most popular candidate with 100,000 votes, declared null and void by the authorities who had no sense of democracy. She also visited SÃo Leopoldo Zoo for its inauguration, being an old hand at public ceremonies, but her political career there came to nothing. She was a political has-been.
The Ambassador (and the General) would be apoplectic if they were alive today and read some of the National and State Days in Brazil. There is the Day of the Parking Attendant (Belo Horizonte, 14 January), the Day of the Gravedigger (again BH, 17 December), the Day of the Street Peddler (BH once more, 17 August), the Day of the Office Boy (Rio, 19 March), the Day of the Dubbing Actor (SÃo Paulo, 29 June), the National Day of the Sports Referee (on the infamous 11 September) and my favourite, the National Day of the Unrecognised Cadaver (25 September).
Everyone, bless them, is remembered, nay commemorated, in Brazil. But if the Ambassador (and the General) were alive today, I would point out to them that if Brazil is not a serious country--whatever that means--in the Eurocentric sense of the word, then this is a strength and not a weakness, for Brazil's strength lies in its people and not in institutions that have been imposed, modified and mutated over the centuries to serve an elite; the ruling classes have failed the Brazilian people who do not deserve the politicians they vote for.
But as anyone who has seen how easily they burst into song and dance, as anyone who has been moved by their friendliness, their approachability, their concern and curiosity for strangers, as anyone who has been to a country that moves and laughs and lives life as if there was no tomorrow, I know that Brazilians have something that we in ?serious? countries have lost, perhaps forever. And this is what my story is about.