Monday 2 January 2023

Brazil #1

"God is Brazilian" - the people of this country like to say. One can almost believe it; that it could be no alchemy of geography and climate, but only a divine hand that could have endowed this land with such an indecently large share of natural treasures. To counteract which, as one of our guides wryly observed "We have our politicians!" 

The tiny part of the country that we managed to see in a week or so is swoon-worthy alright. Rio's setting is spectacular, a picture-perfect composition between the South Atlantic Ocean, Guanabara Bay, and the Atlantic rainforest.

What really stood out for me though were the people. Our family usually blends in quite well in Latin America, but in Brazil, there is such a wide range of skin tones that no one could tell we were NOT Brazilian (until they started jabbering to us in Portuguese, at which point it was clear we weren't even from the same continent!). It's not that there is no racism in Brazil but there has been such a long history of miscegenation and "racial democracy" is such an ingrained part of their national identity, that race is simply not a part of the national conversation as it is in the US and other countries. 

And the body positivity!!!! I was very impressed with how Brazilians of every size shape color and age own and rock their itsy-bitsy bikinis (I rarely saw anyone in a modest one-piece swimsuit; if I did, likely they were foreigners). Not just women but men too. From 80+ year old grandmothers and grandfathers to tiny kids, from the morbidly obese to the size zeros, whether suffering from postpartum stretch marks or the unfortunate effects of gravity;I guess this is what comes of a lifetime of wearing the minimum of clothing and knowing no one cares or judges what you look like. 

Keep calm, sip a caipirinha and watch the sun go down in Copacabana :)  

Also, even purist Tamilians will find it hard to complain about the coffee :) 

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