The beach in Santos basically is a big playground for adults, specially so after sundown, when the football teams show up, draw their fields in the sand and start to play. These guys are mostly young, the elder men play footvolley, which is basically beach-volleyball but with a small football and where you can’t use your hands. Amazing. Even more amazing was what I saw the other day on the beach: an older man, he might have been around 50 years old, just jogging slowly on the beach during daytime. So far, nothing unusual. But this guy was keeping a football up in the air without letting it touch the ground while running on the beach. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, that was not only how he was running, but also the only thing, the ball was touching. I watched him for a couple of minutes, while he was running down the beach, and I the ball did not touch the sand a single time, nor did he stop or slow down. Simply amazing.
Every tuesday (or so) you can visit the museums without paying entrance. This is what we did yesterday, whe we saw a nice exhibition about Lucien Freud at the amazing MASP (Museum of Art of São Paulo), where they have nice exhibitions many times. There are so many reasons to do a thing like this (most museums are financed by taxpayers money anyway), especially in a country where many people can not afford to go to a museum. I will call this “awesome art tuesday” from now on.
Brazilians are proud of their ethnic and cultural diversity. Being a foreigner here is not a problem, in a country, where almost everybody has someone of his or her family coming from abroad, 1, 2 or many generations ago. What cultural diversity really means I began to understand, when I found myself discussing recipes for Currywurst-sauce in a German butcher chop in São Bernardo with the new owners, who are of Japanese origin. (The Bratwurst was very good and the Currywurst-recipe as well).
In a bar, talking to a friend of a friend, who is a young professor for sociology at a local university. He is excited to hear, that I am teaching German and asks me to teach him, “because I want to read Marx in his original language.” Wow, that is not an easy undertaking, but it can be done. Then he says something, that I haven’t heard in Germany for a long, long time: “you know, I am a Marxist.” He asks me about the importance of Marx in Germany, how much he is taught in school (none) or at least university (very little, even though I had some Marx in my Germanics courses). I feel ashamed while telling him about the neoliberal vendetta, that has been taking place in my country for the last twenty years and I wish I could say that Marxism is part of the proud and active cultural heritage of my country – in whatever way.
.. the young girlfriend of my wife’s cousin told me at a part in São Paulo, “there are only old people there.” In a way she is right, there are many people here. Santos is a bit like Miami: retirement paradies for old Paulistas. Walking through Santos however the population seemed pretty normal to me. Then I realized, that the referene frame has changed. Wikipedia confirmed my thought: the average age of people in Germany is at about 43 years which made me young (or at least: on average). The average age in Brazil is 27 years. Travelling a couple of thousand miles for about 14 hours indeed made me an old man….