Saturday, April 22, 2006

Festa Festa

Yesterday was Dia de Tiradentes, another holiday in Brazil. No one seemed to know exactly what they were celebrating when I asked, so I looked it up on the web. On this website I found the following explanation: Tiradentes Day "commemorates the execution of Brazilian national hero Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier - a co-conspirator in the 1789 revolt against the Portuguese. If you are wondering how this holiday gets its name, "tiradentes" means "tooth-puller", and Xavier was a dentist by trade." Fascinating, no?

How did we celebrate? We had a Mexican feast.

In spite of all the complaints about salty avocado sauce (to the rest of the world, this is known as guacamole) and too much spice, almost all the food was devoured. Brazilians eat avocados as fruits, mashing them into milkshakes with lots of sugar. Getting them to try something salty was difficult. I guess it would be a little bit like trying to get an American to eat peaches or strawberries mixed with salt and garlic. That is kind of nauseating.

The party was a rousing success, even if I do say so myself. I had invited a random collection of friends and when we counted up at the end of the night, we'd had about eleven people, ranging in age from 13 to 35. We'd served three main dishes: meat tacos, chicken fajitas, and Brazilian black bean chili. We'd gone through six liters of soda, bottles and bottles of water, and almost an entire pudim, Rio's answer to flan. We played Twister, which was hilarious when done on a full stomach four large guys, discussed theology, my language bloopers and wanna-be boyfriends, played several rousing matches of Bull#*&, Portuguese style, and laughed until we almost cried.

Erica had gone to a funeral earlier in the day and had by far the funniest story of the night, involving the dead man's six-year old son walking around to the other funeral parties and commenting on the dead: "Yikes, what an ugly old woman...", stealing the coins from the saint's altars and putting them in his mouth rather than give them back, and the pièce-de-résistance: the corpse, in full Flamengo football attire, apparently singing! They had put a tiny radio in the casket with him, brand-new battery and all, and left it was one of the man's dying wishes! Imagine the shock: you go up to say your last goodbyes and the coffin is playing samba music, or "My heart will go on," or any other current pop favorite!

I ate so much the thought of food hurts.

And you should see the stack of dishes we washed!

Next time, we're doing Chinese. With chopsticks.

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