Peace and Love in Brazil
Days after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s victory the announcement of the “Lula-Palloza” was set for the 1st January 1 2023 – simply the best vitamin to start a new year, a heart jump for joy for all of us who have crouched in these last four years in Brazil.
And another perfect reason for me to spend a few days in Brasilia, the Capital of Brazil, the city that the Saint Don Bosco dreamed of in 1883 – with its big lake, palaces and riches that still did not exist in the heart of the continent.
It was in 1953, during the presidency of Juscelino Kubitscheck, that this utopian city, constructed with the ambition to equalize the social classes, began to materialize, the Capital of Hope as André Malraux called it. The construction began in 1956, the urban planning project was made by Lúcio Costa and the government buildings in charge of Oscar Niemeyer.
One day before taking off from Buenos Aires I found out that my Canadian credit card was hacked. Luckily I have a great friend in Brasilia and he encouraged me to come anyway , so I put his home address for the delivery and was forced to wait for it there (7 to 8 business days!), the good part: I’ll have time, at last, to visit so many buildings that I like.
I arrived on the 31st of December in the afternoon and spent “la virada” as they say here with relatives and later at a festival of Orixas, a celebration of the Houses of Umbanda and Candomblé on the shores of the great lake, with rituals and fireworks that were lit from the Costa E Silva bridge (also designed by Oscar Niemeyer).
The next day I visited a festival called “Do Futuro”. Impressive! First we saw Lula go by in the convertible that has been used for this ceremony since Juscelino’s inauguration, later we walked up the Planalto ramp to be put on the presidential sash.
It was not really said in the news, but there were protests from unhappy with the election results, every once in a while the nauseating smell of tear gas appeared. But we ignored it and enjoyed the celebrations. Everything was beautiful. What I liked the most for the quality and originality of the sound was BaianaSystem with the brand new Minister of Culture Margareth Menezes singing their hits with them.
Once the festivities were over and by that the hotel demand went down, I booked a room in the Brasília Palace, the first hotel in the city, designed by Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1958. An experience that I recommend to everyone who wants to come here. Incredibly it is not expensive at all (because it is a little far from the center), it is a trip to the ideal of life of the 20th century, you can see scenes from the best films ever at every moment; and swim alone in the heated pool; meditate under a tree or on the shores of the lake with the company of owls and capybaras. It is so well designed that you never see no one. The reception is flooded – you never hear or see the dramas at the counter.
All the rooms face the park and their leafy “Jabonera trees” (ficus Elastica); from none of the rooms, not even from the most presidential vip rooms, one can see what is happening in the garden facing the lake – I was able to do my yoga sessions relaxed; same goes for the couples kissing shamelessly. Small giant details of those who dreamed of a better world.
The first days here I had to draw a commercial about the end of the world. An absurdity from the perspective of the marvelous works of architecture that can be seen everywhere, but a very close and real idea when you switch on TV or walk through the center of the city filled with junkies and beggars and also with deluded humans not accepting the wheels of democracy.
The pandemic showed us the havoc that misinformation can cause and, more palpable than ever, the confusion, the violence that can be infiltrated in our thoughts. Last Sunday I saw with my own eyes, how beautiful men and women, young people of the 21st century, broke into the parliament and treated the ideals of this country with sticks and stones.
In my forced state of retirement (as I was still waiting for the card to arrive by mail), I was dreaming of the kisses of my love waiting for me in Bahia – and felt this terrible feeling that everything could end in an instant.
Attention! The apocalypse arrived some time ago and it is less spectacular than we imagined; it is the algorithm forcing us to see things that do not interest us, things that confuse us and take us out of focus, that confront us with other humans: Terminator, exterminator, drones are not needed. On the way we go , an accurate fake-news could generate the anger to kill us with kitchen knives in minutes!
Humans Wake Up! Back to the roots! Love your neighbor as yourself!
Peace and Love! Happy 2023!
The plastic card arrived! Lives start again!!
Text and photos by Pablo Castoldi