I had a great chance to visit Brazil in 2007. It was a cultural exchange programme–the Rotary Group Study Exchange programme–and I was part of a five-member team to tour the oh-so-fantastic Rio-de-janeiro for a month.
I spent a week each with a Brazilian family in different cities of the state. Those who have been there can perhaps understand what that means. And those who have not, don’t even try to guess. It’s nothing you can imagine.
I don’t want to make this a travel piece, so will avoid all the descriptions of where all I went and what all I did. In any case, I don’t think I will do the best job of it. What I do want to tell you is, once in your lifetime do go to this wonderful country of amazing people.
When I was leaving my host family in Friburgo after a week-long stay, the domestic help hugged me and she had tears in her eyes. That was the only way we communicated with each other–through smiles, tears and gestures; we did not speak each other’s languages. Yet in a week’s time we bonded so well. A month spent in Brazil and I have in that country a legion of friends, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grannies and even parents–enough to make me call it my second home. In fact, the keeper of my top secrets is my mãe brasileira. I cannot do without emailing her once in a while and vice versa.
Apart from being very friendly, Brazilians are very, very fun-loving. They love their beaches, their samba and their football. Speaking of futebol (well, actually I had meant to tell you only about this, but..), I must tell you that I watched two Brazilian teams clash at the Maracana stadium and it was an experience of a lifetime. It was a fitting conclusion to a trip well-spent. Now that the World Cup is being held in Brazil and some of the matches are being played at the very stadium where I had gone Nense! Nense! seven years ago, I cannot help but talk about what it was to witness the beautiful game being played at the famed stadium.
I did exactly what they did: sang with them, danced with them, went up and down with them to form human waves. At one point I was about to repeat what someone was shouting from behind me, when Sergio, ever so gently, told me: “That’s a swear phrase. It means … They are abusing the players for conceding a goal to the opponents.”
Read more about me going filho da… and my “vegetarian hot dog” in this piece published in the Fountain Ink magazine today. Click right here.
(This post was updated on July 13 to include the above picture. I fished it out from the Orkut archives I just downloaded. And I’d thought I had lost all these pictures!)