After this conversation with Juanita I was able to better understand Brazilian women and their personality. Over the centuries they had learned the magical old Voodoos secrets, which taught them the way to make spells to attract and keep their man. They know how weak men are and how easily they fall under younger women spells. Marriages are continually at risk and those middle-aged women fight hard to keep their men in the fierce competition.
Juanita concluded our discussion into this battle of Brazilian sexual life with a lower bitter note, ‘This is the real story of us and the eternal problem frustrating Brazilian women. All too many silently suffer the indignity of desertion by husbands and lovers. Don’t forget that in our corrupted country men are the privileged and are protected by the laws.’
* * *
Juanita had a daughter, Dolores. It was at this time that I first met her. She was such a cute young girl of eight and it was a real pleasure hearing her talk in such a mature way.
I started to like her immediately and soon it was my pleasure to spoil this young girl with small presents which she became fond of receiving and graciously she paid with a kiss. She wanted to know everything and was always full of questions. Yet she was a fast learner and I became a patient teacher.
A bond grew between us. She missed her father, and in her young mind I was a substitute for him, giving affections back to her, and the sort of family atmosphere that she needed. It was from those days that she started to call me Uncle Bill, after more than fifteen years the bond of understanding and confidentiality still existed.
I enjoyed myself in Rio as it offered a colorful, spontaneous and friendly city lifestyle. It was evident that everyone living in this city was happy and busy. I found their family life was one of the closest that I had come across in any other part of the world.
Sundays, by their tradition, was the elected family day and a time for reunion and enjoyment. It was their habit, after the midday Mass, to pour into one of the many family’s restaurants. They were crowded with families reuniting along large tables, talking loudly and enjoying the company and the traditional foods. I learned in those days, that in Brazil there was a sharp distinction between the concept of food and the concept of a meal. For the Brazilian, the edible substances are food, but not necessarily every food is part of a meal.
In transforming food into a meal, the preparation is of critical importance, together with a degree of strict regulation in preparing it.
There isn’t any other part of the world where food is served in such abundance with so many different dishes, and so affordable. It is a habit to take home the large quantities left over which, is sufficient for another good meal for all the family.
On the Brazilian tables, there was a variety of food that had been influenced by the local Indian, African slave descendants and Portuguese conquistadores, who left the basis of their culinary recipes, which had been mixed in the past five centuries to create a distinct flavor.
* * *
‘Let’s go to the Corcovado. From there it’s a breathtaking view of the city. It is something that you will never forget for the rest of your life.’
Juanita was right. The monument of The Cristo Redentore erected there was so huge it stood another thirty metres tall over the Páo de Acúcar, and with His open arms He seemed to extend His benevolent protection over the immensity of Rio.
Juanita showed me the city. Below us, from the Corcovado range, we admired the panorama of Rio, with hillsides and valleys rich in blues and greens of abundant vegetation, scattered with touches of pink flowers. The white houses stood out, with contrasting terracotta roofs. The thick tropical overgrowth with the wild vegetation descended down the gullies. From there I could see the complicated crisscrossing of avenues and roads congested by the heavy traffic, which appeared like a continuous line of black ants. At the same time, we could see the towering skyscrapers of Copacabana and the superb beaches, which finished at Pao de Acucar at the end of the bay sprinkled with unnamed islets.
Juanita took time to show me all the salient points in the city and proudly showed me the Maracana stadium, where Pele reigned with his fellow footballers.
‘You see, in front of us we have the Guanabara Bay and the Sugar Loaf. Do you remember it? We were there last week. It was there that the little monkey robbed your sandwich, and you laughed at it. You can see from here the funicular cart that rises rapidly from the beach below to the very top of the Sugar Loaf. You are at a certain moment suspended in the sky, like a bird. The funicular cart and the view of Rio have been immortalized in several movies. Do you remember that James Bond movie? It was such a breathtaking sight with James on top of the car fighting with one of his many enemies. It left me breathless for a few minutes until the scene was over.’
‘Sure Juanita, how could I ever forget Rio?’
Even now, after so many years, it is all vividly painted in my memory. I will never forget those good times together with Juanita and my sweet little Dolores.
End part 2