Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Spring has sprung and summer is almost upon Recife, and everywhere you go (or at least the greener parts, or at least away from the canal) the scent of bougainvillea and jasmine hangs heavy in the air. Despite the distance and the differences in seasons September remains a time for renewal – back home it was autumn’s new school jotters and a crisp bite to the air, in the nordeste of Brazil it is the balmy thud of summer's arrival and the promise of nine months or so of obligatory evening boozing to ease the night sweats, the occasional weekend spent idly lollying on the beach, and trying to avoid going outside between 10am and 3pm because it’s too bloody hot. But it is a kind of renewal all the same. And with renewal comes fresh inspiration, and fresh inspiration comes today at 6am while crawling lazy laps of the Salesiano college pool.
And so with aplogies to Christian Lander, Your Life Is An Impossibility is proud to present the first in a series of, well, at least two or three, entitled Stuff That Folk From As Republicas Like.
Stuff That Folk From As Republicas Like – Number 1: Disney
Folk From As Republicas (FFAR(s) - pronounced fif-far) love Disney like tea loves biscuits. For FFARs, Orlando, Florida is the Thebes, the Athens, the Constantinople of the dwindling twilight of the 20th century and the watery daybreak of the 21st. Ask a FFAR teenager what´s his favourite city in the world – he´ll tell you Orlando. And why not? Orlando is where FFAR families go to stock up on I-pods and I-phones and Playstation 3s (all of which cost the equivalent of a small apartment in Recife) and designer label t-shirts emblazoned with slogans written in English that no-one back home will be able to understand. Orlando is where mum and dad can sit back and see for themselves the results of all those hours of private English classes they´ve paid for (and for which Your Life Is An Impossibility must admit to having blood on his hands). Orlando is clean and organised and safe (at least compared to Recife). Most of all, Orlando is close to Disney.
But while Orlando and Disney are great with the family, the whole experience only really makes sense if you´re a bright of tooth, flawless of skin FFAR teenager, lucky enough to be booked sem mae e pai on a Disney package holiday. The whole thing starts months in advance with a big party or two for all the lucky viajantes at one of Recife´s hottest nightspots – usually Nox (it’s a matinee, under-age affair, so coke and crisps only). Here you can see your friends, get a free Disney t-shirt and talk about how great it´s going to be when you finally get there. The toniest parties even boast an appearance by a (to be named later) TV Globo soap opera (B-list) superstar! Caralho meu irmão!
Then comes the big day. Pockets stuffed with wads of dollars, little Eduarda and Eduardo board the Disney Express jet, ready to broaden the mind, learn about new cultures, experience life on the crazy highway of independent travel, and shake the hand of a man (or woman) dressed as Mickey Mouse.
There´s nothing wrong with it, I suppose, and I know if I was a 16 year old FFAR I probably couldn´t imagine anything more exciting than two weeks of illicit underage drinking and attempted mucky-touching with the recifense equivalent of Sharon Blenkinsop from the lower sixth. But Your Life Is An Impossibility is by now far too old and bitter for such carryings-on, so.
And so let them have their fun, Your Life Is An Impossibility says. For surely only the most bah humbug of churls would suggest that for the money spent on those two weeks, the FFARs could just as easily go to Patagonia or New Orleans, Barcelona or Cairo, London or Lesotho. In all of these places they might just learn something that would dent their unshakeable FFAR confidence and lead them to question a little more the world around them. Which might be, you know, nice. Though maybe I´m wrong - maybe Goofy is more the philosopher than we thought.
* For newer readers, As Republicas is taken to mean As Republicas Independentes De *** ******, which could in turn be taken to be a well-heeled beach front neighbourhood in the south of the city. For legal reasons, of course, it must be pointed out that such a neighbourhood is definitely not Boa Viagem, and any resemblance to such is coincidental and probably entirely in the mind of the reader.