7 Jan 2014

Brazilian Summer: high temperatures, multiple colours and cultural shock

Dear readers, please accept my apologies for taking so long to publish a new post. I have left the Netherlands towards Brazil on the 18th December 2013 for a very special visit to my beloved family & friends, the Atlantic Ocean, Summertime, colours, flavours, smells and so many undescribable things this amazing land has to offer. 

After a very long 52-hour travel by bus, train, airplane and finally car from Recife to Joao Pessoa, the beautiful coastal city in the Northeast region of Brazil where I was born and where my parents, my nieces, most relatives and dozens of friends are based. Coming back to Joao Pessoa - or Brazil, as being in Brazil for me means to be in the paradise-like Northeast region of this country - is always a spiritual journey of self-learning and (re)acknowledging the unique ambiance of Brazil.

Cabo Branco Beach, Joao Pessoa/Brazil - my natural habitat
Once a famous Brazilian singer, Gilberto Gil, mentioned in one of his tunes a phrase that describes very well the country where I was born: "on one side this Carnival {biggest party on the planet, three days of national holiday plus a weekend before when all the party madness starts}, and on the other side the absolute hunger". This song was written decades ago but unforturnately still such a sad true at the present moment.

People say "things have changed and are getting better" - those are the optimistics. The realists says "it is worse than ever". With criminality rates rising the sky and corruption in all levels, it is hard to say Brazil is really booming. Fifa World Cup 2014 will take place this year in a country that still lacks proper health, education, social and security systems that really work for its citizens. The middle class is compressed in the centre of a civil war between the police, drug dealers, criminals of all kinds, corrupt politicians, militias, drug addicts that are treated equally as bandits by Brazilian drug policies, and so on. It is a chaotic situation.

A subjective view of chaos when looking at a paradise-like spot
Bessa Beach, Joao Pessoa/Brazil
Although, in the middle of this crazy buzz, you will find the most paradisiac beaches, fresh sea fruits and coconut water among all other natural resources in such an abundance it is hard to imagine in Europe. You may find mountains, giant waterfalls, rainforest, deep forest, rivers, mangrove... You name it, Brazil has it. Brazil is the country with the largest green area for harvest in the world, it beats China and India on plantable lands, ultra fertile.

Yet, there are so many people dying of thirst in the country-side of the Northeast region, because of the lack of potable water due to the hardest dry in fourty years and Amazon continues to be destroyed & burned everyday in a constant rate. It is relevant to remark that under a major part of Brazilian territory lays over a phreatic soil abundant in water not very far from surface... So, what is lacking? Simply the right investment in the needed places for the desperate people - yes, people are no longer in need for assistance, they were in need fifty years ago, now it is really a matter of desperation, so why on Earth no politician has ever really stopped to look at the dry situation that has threated the survival of people from "Sertao" areas for ages? That I cannot explain. I can only tell something about the facts, which are, of course, embedded with my personal viewpoint.

Bessa Beach - friends, Atlantic Ocean and multiple colours

I love my country, my brave smiley people... But I am always in such a gigantic cultural shock every single time I come back to my land because I cannot understand how things can have taken such a very wrong direction. Still, I find highly educated native Brazilians that think that the daily brutality happening in Brazil is a normal acceptable issue. No, it is not. It is the brutality from the politicians towards innocent children and elders in need, it is the police brutality, it is the bandits' brutality, it is the brutality against people from Sertao that cannot even drink proper water every day, it is the brutality against human rights, against dignity, against human life... Therefore, please do not come to me to say it is normal and it is hard to control because it is a continental country with more than 190 million people. No, it is hard to control because of OUR culture, because of the Brazilian culture of finding an alternative wrong way for everything {jeitinho Brasileiro, um jeitinho para tudo!}.

Typical Northeast "tapioca" being freshly made with loads of love by Dona Inês
Boa Viagem - Recife/Brazil
I really hope one day I will come back to Brazil and will be able to fully appreciate all the love that flows in the streets - yes, love, love everywhere, hard to understand? Only being here to do so!-, the colours, the flavours, the smells, the Atlantic Ocean which waters in Northeast can get as warm as 27 degrees for months of the year but never below 20 degrees Celsius, weather Summer-like all year-long, the delicious food, the smiling people, the music beaming everywhere in every corner... Well, there are so many things I love about my country that it is impossible to relate on a single post. But have a look on the photos in this post showing a tiny bit of Brazil and you will have a feel. It is an incredible country under a failed system... But a place that once you are here, you will never forget... 
Bessa Beach, Joao Pessoa/Brazil
~ Maybe this post was a bit confusing.. But is is part of the collectivist Brazilian society based on high-context communication.. You gotta have some previous information to understand.. It can be, indeed, very confusing.. But if you get in the right vibe you will discover an intense, colourful and hugely vibrant land... Unique!

Brazilian "artesanato"


~ and keep on smiling :)

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