Saturday, January 21, 2006

africans, bugs and parasites

21jan 06

I´ve really gotten behind on this whole thing as I have been sleeping eating or going to samba straight for about a week.

While I was at Bambas last week, Alex´s wife was telling the story of how her long time parasite friend who lived in her gall bladder had finally overstayed his welcome and had to be evicted. He didn´t go quietly as he took her gall bladder with him.

I haven´t thought much about parasites over the past 30 years but I´m guessing that she had shistosomiasis, a worm you get from fresh water and that can live comensally in your gall bladder for years. Chip has some books on his shelf and can check my facts on this.

Anyhow, the important thing is that this little encounter led to an epiphany. I love these little momnets of clarity that come only once in a great while. It was at this moment that I realized that, for me to like it, music must have 3 essential ingredients. Africans, bugs and parasites. Think about it. Where does the best music in latin America come from? Wherever there are Africans. There also happen to be pesky little problems like malaria, dengue, Chaga´s disease, and leprosy, just to name a few. Here in Brasil, if you get out of the "Bug Belt" as my friend Bercu calls it, the quality of the samba goes way down. Even in the USA most of our great music came from New Orleans and the Mississippi Delta. At the battle of Vicksburg, yellow fever killed more people than war wounds. Bugs and Africans baby. That´s the ticket. No Africans, no bugs, no parasites.... skip it.

You never know what´s going to happen around here. The other day this German couple was telling me about their experience in climbing the rock of Gavea. This is a mountain west of town over which the sun sets every day. They described how they free climbed on cliffs 10 meters high without ropes and how delightful it was to reach the top where there was a bon fire and fireworks and airplanes flying by. They had a great tine.

As it turns out (as reported in the paper), there had been a simultaneous expedition mounted by some teenagers. They got lost in the dark and set off fireworks in a call for help. The fireworks set the mountain on fire and required fly overs by airplanes who were dumping stuff on the fire to put it out.

I guess everything depends on one's point of view. Life continues to be a game of inches.

I met the reining Rainha da Embaixada das Caricatas at Sao Clemente the other night. The embaixada is a hot dog stand in the terrerao, a big entertainment area beside the sambadrome during carnaval. All these cross dresser dudes, Xuxa's friends of course, are there selling hot dogs to raise money for their club. The sentinel feature of the whole thing is the fact that they are all in drag and have a big rubber hot dog stuck on their heads.

Anyhow, "Samule" as the queen is called was at Sao Clemente in all her glory. The girl can dance. She´s about my height, 6'3" more or less with about 6" heels on and bright yellow and black panty hose. Flowers all over the place. She looked a little like a bumble bee with his head stuck in a bouquet of flowers. All the little kids were following her around and I went over to introduce myself and say "hey" from Xuxa. Nice girl. Said she´d come to our party at the end of the month. The sort of odd thing is that, as I made my way back to the bateria, I noticed that the children had begun to follow me instead. ???

I have lots more to report but I have to go for a walk. j