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I want to go to Brazil ...

If you go to the country for a week - you will write an essay, for a month - a book, for a year - you will not write anything. There was such a saying in the days when we had international journalism, and I had something to do with it. So, I visited a lot where, but I lived for a long time in Afghanistan, in Cuba and, of course, in Brazil. He worked for two hot years as his own correspondent for Izvestia in the hero city of Rio de Janeiro, chilling by the air conditioner on the 23rd floor of a chic house overlooking the ocean, the statue of Christ the Savior and the Sugarloaf (this is such a beautiful coastal cliff, it’s on all the pictures), and almost every day he sent something clever to the editor, and sometimes not very, mostly talented, but not always, about Brazil.

Wild Monkey Country

The main thing about Brazil is probably that it is absolutely, completely self-sufficient: it, by and large, does not need anyone. This country eats only what it produces itself. Moreover, he sells to all kinds of emirates the meat of cows and chickens killed at the request of the customer in the presence of mullahs according to all Muslim canons. Brazil is the world's largest exporter of soybeans, without which today, I don’t know whether it is good or bad, the world cuisine can not do. Talk about sugar, coffee, fruits? I cannot exhaustively, because every time I went to the store for groceries, I found something new on the counter - seductive, but unidentified. Brazil only rides on its own. In the stream of cars, it happens, something flickers brought from across the seas, but Americans, Germans, Japanese, and even Koreans have built factories here long ago that produce everything you can only dream of. About oil, weapons, satellites, computers, power plants - is it necessary in more detail? Well, that’s good. I’m not very good at it myself, we will limit ourselves to the fact that Brazil sells powerful turbines for hydropower plants to its neighbors, and the French - training supersonic “sparks”. Yes, more about airplanes: Embraer, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, is the third largest in the world in terms of production and practically controls the private jet market - every third aircraft purchased by presidents and oligarchs is also made here. Brazil listens and sings only its songs, and wanted to spit on all spicy girls combined with their English texts from high araucaria. Brazil only dresses in its own clothing. Brazil wears its jewelry. Watching his own series. Brazil...

I, of course, simplify the picture. In today's world it’s impossible to do it yourself with a mustache, and this country is still very far from paradise. But all this taken together creates in the local collective consciousness a certain feeling of his own megalomania. In general, there are some reasons for this - it is no coincidence that it is from Brazil that the abbreviation for the new international BRICS community begins, in which we found ourselves with some joy. But where would this complex come from? Not from the same historical incident that Brazil has hosted the royal court of Portugal for several years, and the former colony (the only case in history!) Miraculously turned into a metropolis. I do not know...

But I am afraid that we, doomed to the eternal painful choice between East and West, of this feeling of self-sufficiency, it is true, do not understand at all. We will always miss something with you. Chinese tolerance or the Japanese ability to turn any nonsense into a ritual. We are doomed to envy of European grooming, of American freedom, to ... God bless him, everyone can continue the list. And the rest you are right, of course. This is a country of wild monkeys, parrots and lazy people who only dream about how not to work, but only to dance.

About beauty

Any Brazilian man dreams of the same woman. So that her eyes, like Paula's, have a figure like that of Christina, so that she samba dances like Olivia, and so that she cooks soup like Lucia. This search for the ideal, as, indeed, for most of us, often drags on for a lifetime or ends with the Great Compromise ... For my taste, Brazilians are not very beautiful in face. In this beach country, there is a body cult; it isn’t fashionable to be old (fat), fat (fat) and unsportsmanlike. In Rio, Sao Paulo, Brasilia and other cities, thousands of women every morning run along the promenades or boulevards, covered in lycra, to meet their perfection, drawn by imagination and fashion. In the evening, when tropical twilight falls to the ground, the windows of sports halls are lit everywhere - they run along the paths, pull dumbbells, pump presses and other parts of the body, various Mariselas, Flora and Zelia.

The woman’s age is determined here not by the boring date of birth printed in the passport, but by the time spent on the beach. “How old is she?” One Brazilian asks another. “Five years of the beach,” he answers. Access to the beach in Rio de Janeiro is the first ball of the local Natasha Rostova, when she, having measured dozens of bikinis, finally decides to show herself in all its glory. In the ideal of female beauty in Brazil (and in all, I note, Latin America!), Boom-boom certainly dominates. This part of the female body deserves a separate, non-fleeting consideration. Boom-boom, according to the local population, should be significant and eye-catching. Well, it’s not necessary that it stands out so that it can stand a glass of caipirinha, the local national drink made from kashasa - moonshine made from sugar cane, sugar, ice and lime. Although, of course, it is very, very desirable for the glass to stand there. In any case, the larger the boom-boom, the better, because it is absolutely necessary for the performance of the national samba dance. The reason for the increase in such a hmm ... a noticeable boom-boom in the best half of the population of this and neighboring countries has long occupied me and other inquisitive minds of humanity. I personally am inclined to explain this phenomenon, which is undoubtedly pleasant in all respects, by the nutritional structure, firstly. A genetic feature, secondly. The large amount of carbohydrates consumed in food in the form of black beans and rice undoubtedly increases your chances of increasing its size. On the other hand, the genetics of African ancestors contributes to this: a significant boom-boom is also characteristic of the beauties of the Black continent.

But what’s the trouble here is soup "like Lucia." The vast majority of Brazilians do not have the slightest idea about the technology of making eggs, not to mention more complicated dishes. Inhabitants of luxury apartments on the first, second and third line of houses in the most prestigious beach areas of Rio - Copacabane, Ipanema and Leblone use the services of empregadas - maids. The latter, on the contrary, knows the secrets of cooking scrambled eggs, but all of the above about the beach and boom-boom has nothing to do with them. Empregades are also entrusted with the performance of other boring duties such as washing, ironing and cleaning. The only thing Marisela, Flora and Zelia do not trust them is weekly purchases at the supermarket - for reasons of economy. With great regret, I should also note that Brazilian men rarely eat soup. Therefore, in fact, this point of my research in the field of dreams of a local inhabitant can be deleted at all without the slightest damage to the science of studying the blessed country of Brazil.

About the worst half

Why don't we talk now about a subject no less worthy - Brazilian men? You, truly, think that football is their only all-consuming passion, apart from the subject that I discussed above. Of course, but this is only part of the truth. The second most popular sport in Brazil is called "Let's have lunch on Saturday!" It happens like this - you buy, for example, a newspaper in a kiosk, and a person whom you have not seen before, suddenly turns to you, like a native: “Can you imagine? My guarana is full of food. Well, neither shame nor conscience: "Give it, buy it." Am I printing money? And the mother-in-law? But this doesn’t climb into any gates. ” The following is a passionate monologue from which you understand the vile consumer nature of an unknown spouse and the inherent malignancy of an equally unknown mother-in-law. Of course, you sympathetically assent to the interlocutor throughout the forty-minute report, which deserves his completely sincere sympathy. Having spoken out, he finally draws attention to you and, perhaps, asks a couple of minor questions. All done! He joyfully pats you on the back and, looking into the bottomless depths of your Russian soul, offers: “Listen, let's have lunch on Saturday? I'll call at noon! ”I see, the invitation was gratefully accepted. On the appointed day, you put on a clean shirt and sit down by the phone waiting for the call of your new Brazilian friend. He will not call. Never. “Let's have lunch on Saturday” is just a polite form of farewell forever. There is no malicious intent in all of this; moreover, there is no desire to offend or deceive you. On the contrary, it seems to your interlocutor that he did everything so that you have the most pleasant memories of your warm, non-binding meeting. Brazilians are nice and open people, much nicer and more open than us. But they have what is called their own cultural characteristics.

One more story will probably help you even better understand the mysterious soul of a Brazilian man. The fact is that my Brazilian link came to the difficult for us 90s, when vodka was sold in Russia by coupons, and the shelves of other stores sparkled with almost surgical purity. In the meantime, few of our citizens in Rio de Janeiro weren’t chic, the salary of the Izvestia correspondent was slightly higher than that of the gatekeeper in the house where the bureau was located, but they lived better than those who stayed at home. So, the consulate announced that in a week the cargo ship was sent to their homeland, and anyone who wants to can send a package to their relatives. Of course, everyone wanted to feed their relatives a little. The catch was that the parcel was to be placed in a box of plywood, but where to get it? That's what, and such boxes are not sold even in the city that Ostap Bender had dreamed about. According to the old, still Soviet habit, I decided - what nonsense! I'll make a box myself. And he went to the nearest construction site to look for plywood.

- How do you have here with plywood - there is no superfluous? I asked the first black housebuilder I met. - I will pay.

“Why not?” We’ll do it, ”he answered puzzled and disappeared for a while, and soon appeared with a sheet of plywood and a hacksaw.

I began to saw in the sizes that I had previously made at home. The housebuilder looked at me in amazement, and then cried out at the top of his lungs:

- Guys, come here soon! You won’t believe white can cut.

Wonder city

Residents of Rio de Janeiro, they are called “karioki”, and no one knows what it is, they call their city “cidade maravilhoso” - a miracle city. You can understand them in general: this city is incredibly beautiful!

Its generally accepted symbol is a giant statue of Christ the Savior, embracing the world. According to legend, the emperor of Brazil and Portugal Pedro Braganza himself ordered to build a viewing platform on Mount Corcovado as early as the end of the 19th century, who seemed to be the first to ride here on his beloved horse and was amazed by the beauty of the view that opened up to him. Then, more than a hundred years ago, a tram line was laid here, which has been functioning properly until now. Of course, in the updated version, so that visitors do not puff, climbing the hill for a picture that remains in almost every camera. A photo of a loved one embracing the world in the same way as Christ does.

The authors of the architectural project of Christ the Retributor were the Brazilians Hector Silva Costa and Pedro Vianu. But the figure of the Savior was made by the French sculptor of Polish descent, Paul Landowski. Looking at his creation, most Brazilians are sincerely convinced that a mistake crept into the scripture. Christ, they believe, was not really a Jew, but, of course, a Brazilian, and he created Rio personally for himself. Otherwise, how would such beauty be born?

But, like almost any beauty that occurs in nature, the beauty of Rio is a warning about danger: the city is considered one of the most criminal megalopolises in the world. It’s not worth bothering with this topic too much, but it’s better to carry less cash, leave jewelry in the hotel and not count hummingbirds at all, admiring the beauties of the city. However, these tips did not help me myself. It was cleansed like sticky by three dark-skinned Apollo, one of whom was brandishing a huge knife in front of my nose, while others freed me from documents and money with the help of magicians ... Well, if beauty really requires sacrifice, I brought my miracle city, although not quite voluntarily.

The first favelas, Brazilian slums, appeared in Rio at the beginning of the last century, when thousands of poor peasants were looking for work and happiness in a rapidly growing city. But for many, finding work was easier than happiness. The recent history of Brazil knows examples where people from slums became famous artists, poets and even ministers, but these are exceptions to the rule. Anyone born in a favela usually ends there too.

Today in Rio there are about 700 favelas. Almost all the hills in and around the city are already occupied by independent buildings, and the world of the poor grows up as fast as the world of the rich at the foot of the hills - in breadth.

Rosinha - "rose" - the most famous of the favelas. Of course, there are no street names or house numbers here: they are piled on top of each other, forming a huge city anthill. But there is a home-made water supply, made of pipe scraps, somehow connected to the highway. And the paid bills for light are considered a document at all, something like a residence permit in a passport. It is enough to show them at the bank, for example, to get a small loan. After all, many inhabitants of favelas have no other ways to confirm their viability.

Tours for foreigners are now even taken on favelas, because a resident of the lower city will not go there for anything. He looks with horror from the window of his luxurious apartment at the squalid huts of the upper city. It is curious that most of the inhabitants of the huts work just in the palaces as housekeepers, sellers and waiters in bars. It is estimated that 80 percent of the inhabitants of Rosigny have a permanent job. And they have nothing to do with the drug mafia, which is precisely the only slum power.

If you are going to Rio de Janeiro, be sure to take a retro tram around the area, which is located on the hill of St. Theresa. Legends claim that its first inhabitants back in the 18th century were runaway slaves who hid here from planters. And at the end of the 19th century, Santa Teresa mansions grew up of the intellectual elite, artists and poets, who were the first to guess that living on a quiet, wind-blown hill is better than on a stuffy and hot coastline. The most famous inhabitant of Santa Teresa was, of course, Ronnie Biggs, a participant in a raid on a postal train in England in 1963, which is considered a robbery of the century. Extraction of bandits at the current rate amounted to more than 30 million pounds. The famous robber of Z0 years lived happily in Santa Teresa, taking advantage of the lack of an extradition treaty between the two countries. Only in 2001, who had already exchanged the 8th dozen, Biggs voluntarily returned to his homeland, exchanging a villa in Santa Teresa for a prison cell ...

For me, the main attraction of Santa Teresa is the Russian church. They say that in the 30s and 40s of the last century, on the streets next to her, Russian speech sounded as often as Portuguese. Now not so. There is not even a permanent priest in the church, and its doors open only on major holidays. But what kind of people come here! Here is the churchwarden - Dmitry Nikolaevich Lunin. On his finger is a ring of the glorious noble family of the Lunins, leading the genealogy from the end of the 15th century. The building in Moscow, where the Museum of the Oriental Peoples is now located, is nothing but the Lunin house. But get acquainted: Tatyana Leskova is the great-granddaughter of the author of “Lefty”. In Brazilian encyclopedias about “Lefty” there is not a word, but Senor Leskova is considered the founder of the Brazilian ballet. She danced as a very young lady in the Diaghilev troupe on tour in Buenos Aires, when the famous troupe broke up ...

Ah, carnival ...

Well, we say Brazil - we mean carnival. You, of course, saw frames of the most beautiful holiday on the planet in news releases. But I want to tell you just about what remains behind the scenes. First, God forbid you have any problems these days, even if it’s a household one: all official institutions in Rio are closed for several days, music is rattling everywhere and beer is pouring in. But this, in fact, was not a carnival, but only preparation for it, as well as the election of the most charming fat man - the king of the holiday, his queen and princesses.

The carnival itself is only one February night from Friday to Saturday, and its main action - the parade of Samba Schools - takes place at Sambodrom, a special building that looks like a flattened stadium, and this is its official, and not a popular name. The action begins late in the evening and continues until the morning, when the most likely candidates for victory pass along the path. After all, a carnival is not a parade at all, but a tough competition, which is judged by a jury based on a dozen criteria. The idea of ​​a carnival, its artistic embodiment, costumes, carts, choreography, of course, music, and even the speed of the school along the Sambodrome track are evaluated. Only the uninitiated columns of dancers seem to be just a crowd. In fact, it complies with the obligatory order: a detachment of drummers, a detachment of respectable women in national costumes, a detachment of slightly less respectable women who are almost completely without costumes ... The jury, of course, judges with impartiality, but still the public has the right to vote . If, delighted with the sounds of samba and the beauty of the sight, the Sambodrome enthusiastically jumps up and picks up the rhythm of music, dancing right in the stands - the victory at the school is almost in your pocket! Oh...

But there are no pockets in carnival costumes. Often, little is left of costumes at the end of the holiday. The dancers are so hot that they are happy to exchange the details of their fabulously beautiful outfits with the audience for a jar of cold beer. What does the school-winner of the carnival get? Firstly, fame that cannot be measured. And secondly, again beer. It pours in barrels in the area of ​​Rio de Janeiro, whose school is declared the winner of the year. The times when the carnival was really a national holiday remained in the distant past. The price of each carnival costume today reaches several thousand dollars, the cost of a decorated carnival cart is tens of thousands. Composers, designers and tailors, too, of course, work all year round not for that. Carnival is a business that requires considerable expenses, but also brings huge profits. To whom? I tell you. All "Samba Schools" - the so-called groups that participate in the carnival competition in Rio de Janeiro - are located in the favelas. Nobody knows how many people live there - millions. This is the territory of the mafia, where even the police have ordered entry.

Favelas control criminal gangs, we have recently called these brigades. They, in fact, are the real owners of Samba Schools. Well, Brazilian football clubs too. Pele, Zico, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho were not born at all in the families of large herders and financial brokers. They come from just such a favel. You want to - believe it or not - but Joao Avelange, the former chairman of FIFA, personally went to prison to one of the dubious persons sitting there to confirm the composition of the Brazilian national team at the World Cup. Until recently, the main source of prosperity for these secret masters of life was the illegal Jogo do Bicho lottery - "Game in the Beasts." Initially, fun was invented in the city zoo back in the 19th century in order to raise money for landscaping and buying new animals. It happened like this: images of animals were printed on entrance tickets, and a rally was held three times a day. For example, a jaguar or "jacquard", an Amazonian crocodile, fell out, and the ticket holder with his image received a cash prize. But in the zoo itself, the lottery did not last long - it splashed out onto the streets. In “my” Brazilian days it looked like this: on almost every corner in São Paulo and Rio, a dark-skinned “banker” sat in a torn shorts, who took bets from the population, wrote them down on a dirty piece of paper and in case of a win that was announced several times a day, giving out money. At least a million dollars! And if he hadn’t given it away, washed away with the money, the punishment of “joguirush” would have been cruel and inevitable.

This lottery has existed in Brazil for 170 years, its turnover was in the billions - well, nothing the authorities could do with it! So far, drug trafficking, weapons, and other more profitable businesses have not pushed the "little animals" from the historical stage. The godfathers of the illegal lottery are the richest people in Brazil. In addition to business, they have only two hobbies - football and carnival. Each in charge has its own football team and its own samba school. They, as they say, also order carnival music. Once we shot in Rio for the plot of one of the programs “In Search of Adventures” the evening rehearsal of the School “Salgeiro”, one of the most famous, always appearing if not in the winners, then certainly in the first prize carnival five. Suddenly, the favela's street froze, any sound but a rustle of automobile wheels died down. The cavalcade of black tuned jeeps drove just a few meters from us. The tinted windows of the cars were slightly ajar, of which the black barrels of the M-16 automatic American rifles protruded pointedly. The jeeps drove slowly, they were covered, backing away, a walking rearguard with light machine guns at the ready ... These are the people who sponsor the main expenses for the holiday - the salaries of professional costume designers, composers, choreographers, masters in the manufacture of picturesque cars decorated with figures and flowers, which also participate in the parade. They, the “zogeyirush,” roll out barrels of beer for the whole favela if her Samba School is declared the winner of the carnival. Life, of course, is more complex and colorful than any scheme. Proceeds from the sale of rights to a television broadcast, personal contributions of participants in the parade (to make it clear: up to 20 Schools participate in the competition in Rio, about 1000 participants in each, cost of a costume can reach several thousand dollars), selling tickets for spectators is all contributes a pretty penny to the holiday budget. And yet, the next time you see the frames of the carnival, try to see the faces of the guests sitting in separate lodges in the front row of Sambodrom. Tell them mentally thanks for the most famous holiday in the world! And for everything else, sooner or later they will answer before the court.