🇬🇧 GG: dear reader, as you see in our blog, so far, Joe was much more productive then me in describing details, first adventures and impressions from our first few days in Brazil. This is maybe due to the fact, that he arrived less tired then me (my last weeks befor the trip were just incredible busy, full of unexpected incidents and challenges), that he writes in his native language, and that this time, I am responsible for the technical administration of this blog (normally HE is the computer expert). So in the last days, while Joe write, I found out, what design fits well to our blog (this one works, but I might change it again), how to invite people, how to post pictures etc. I am still exploring the blog culture, but I think it’s time to write about my first Brazil impressions.
Rio de Janeiro (1 day, 2 nights), Floripá, 3 nights
As I mentioned, we started the trip in Rio, because this city is a myth, and I wanted to see it. We cannot speak about exploring it, because the time was to short. But indeed, as imagined (and seen on thousands of pictures before, especially during tge world cup last summer), the natural location of the city is wonderful, even breathtaking. One day allowed us only visiting 3 hot spots and we chose the sugar loaf, the Copacabana and Ipanema beach. Very good, that our room (a private room, rented by air bnb) was located in Santa Teresa, a lovely, quiet bohemian neighbourhood (the ‘Montmartre’ of Rio), what enriched our impression of Rio being a very heterogenous place. This one day we had didn’t allow us to see more of the dark sides of Rio (like the famous favelas), so mostly all what we saw, was the bright side: charming, beautiful and rather well-off.
And of course, as we came during carneval: very colorful and very physical (special allusion for my colleagues from the German-French round table who inspired me to write this blog: die Leiblichkeit!). I didn’t plan to write a lot about physical appearances,it is risky and ties up very much to existing stereotypes, but I must admit that, when I close my eyes and ask myself what was so far the most striking issue for me here being in Brazil, with all my travelling and world experience, so it will be this:
Thus, what maybe attracts the most of my attention here so far (even if I try to consider this with the eyes of a person that came without stereotypes or special ideas of Brazilian people), it is a perceived very strong physical presence of the people – and this is something new for me. What do I mean by this?
Already at the airport (somehow a carneval-free zone), I saw a lot of naked/uncovered skin.
Of course mostly in a beautiful tan, cafe-au-lait-like and all shades of brown color.Instead of wearing t-shirts, many girls had just bikinilike tops. Clothes are nearly always highlighting the shape of the body, no matter, what it looks like. Thin bodies, fat bodies (of these far more then I would have supposed).
And legs, legs, legs. Uncovered female legs, nearly all women up to a certain age (considerably a higher one that it would be in Germany) show their legs. So everywhere you see young legs, old legs, thin legs, fat legs.Short legs, long legs, beautiful and less beautiful ones. All these mostly in shorts (skirts or even dresses seem to be highly out of fashion here). Sure the stereotype of Brazilian women being beautiful can be confirmed in many cases. But by trying to be objective, I am not sure if more then in other places?Anyway all depends on the beauty ideal. We had a controversary conversation with our female Brazilian friend about a young woman in Florianopolis, who wore a transparent shirt, showing her small breasts.Our very well educated and smart friend stated that all depends on the size and if you don’t have to show anything, you shouldn’t exhibit that.The girl obviously didn’t fit to the common ideal, she also had short cut hair.By the reaction of our friend we understood, that she might be provoking,not being mainstream. So even if our impression was, that people are very keen on showing ab lot of skin, there are rules and limits. At the beach I saw, let’s say cautiously, women who were not young, or not thin, wearing mini mini mini bikinis . But ok, thats beach culture.
Carneval culture of course is also very special, we saw again lots of uncovered skin (all shapes, colors and ages), one naked person with only body painting, many men dressed as women (our flat was full of them, a bunch of cute young gu(a)ys preparing themselves for a party) – about men I will write in a moment – and fancy outfits.
Also at Floripá, a holiday island where maybe beach/holiday culture prevails, people were dressed in that way that I would call ‘physical’, what means highlighting a physical presence in a way that I – as a Nortern European – feel often , I am searching the right word, maybe not embarrased, and not overwhelmed, but somehow more involved then I would like to? Generally people wear much lighter clothes than me, e.g. This morning in the breakfast place I felt cold because of the air conditions and even had a jacket, but other people wore what I would call beach outfits. And, as also well-known, people indeed wear much more colorful clothes then for example in my home country. And:they can wear it with their beautiful shades of brown skin, I find this beautiful and this reminds me India, and Africa (I love clear colors like yellow or magenta and I was always upset about the fact that my norther European complexion is not made for them).
Also worth to mention is that I see many many tattoos here, comparable only (from my perspective) to what I saw in some places of the US. Not being a big fan of tatoos, anyway I distinguish between well done tattoos and less well done ones. Shortly said, I didn’t see many tattoos that I liked…
Concening men, I state that I haven’t seen so many well-shaped, body-built guys before in such a short period. Of course not all of the, also there are lots of ‘Normal’ or even fat guys, but the percentage of the well built guys seemed to me much higher then in other places. Even our hotel was full of this kind. As they certainly have put a lot of effort in working out their muscles, they show them, by not wearing shirts or tank tops. Naturally, this also fortifies the impression of a strong physical presence.
So indeed I wrote a lot now about physical appearances, but that’s what is really new and , in a certain way, challenging for me.
A part of portuguese which I don’t speak at all. While I in many cases able to understand written portuguese (thanks to my knowledge og other romance languages), my listening comprehension is very poor. And There is less Brazlians speaking English than I thought, even in tourist places. But anyway, with good will of the conversation partner and activating all my romance vocabulary (latin, french, italian and a bit of Spanish), we sometimes even have nice short conversations .