Cariocas – People of Rio de Janeiro

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I love asking people questions. Sometimes, I wonder if this is the reason why I liked the name “Mark” so much, my little question Mark—he still doesn’t get the joke, though.

I can’t help it, I’m curious about other people’s perspective on the word, their life, tiny details I notice and can be explained so easily by someone who knows better than me, random bits of trivia and new ideas. You talk, you learn.

So, I ask questions. Where are you from, how is life, do you like living here? Most people like to talk about something—the key is to find out what they are passionate about.

I can see what Brazilians are passionate about. They love going to the beach, they like to drink, men are definitely more into butts than breasts, they seem to enjoy life, hanging out in groups, music, party, football and sports in general. This is a rather simplistic view of Brazil, almost a cliché—I know. But I haven’t been able to dig much deeper. Chatting with Brazilians isn’t easy.

Oh, people are polite, kind even. They are remarkably well-behaved when drunk (more on Carnival later…). But they are also very even and calm. They don’t complain loudly—in fact, except when they party, Brazilians aren’t loud. They aren’t particularly curious about foreigners and they seemed almost annoyed with us for not knowing stuff completely obvious to Brazilians. Occasionally, people simply repeated whatever I hadn’t understood louder, much like a cliché of the American tourist shouting in English hoping foreigners will understand the language better (hint: it doesn’t work). Brazilians didn’t even seem curious about other parts of their own country or other ways of life. Their perspective seemed to be “this is my life, my little world and I’m fine with it.”

Which is a perspective as good as any other, I guess.

Yet, I wonder how life is for Brazilians. I can see how diverse the country is—even in a city like Rio de Janeiro, a middle-class sixtysomething in Copacabana has very little in common with the sixteen-year-old kid from the favela. Just the way they coexist and occasionally meet on the beach or in the street is fascinating to me. Maybe that’s why Brazilians stick to their own world—it’s just an easier way to live without envy or resentment.

I didn’t have any long and insightful conversation with Cariocas but I observed them. Here are the people of Rio de Janeiro, a collection of candid shots taken all over the city during the week before Carnival!

Kids seeling booze before a bloco, Ipanema

Police horses, Ipanema

Police force, Ipanema

Mothering and kids rising with water dripping from a truck full of ice, Ipanema

Juice bar, Ipanema

Woman checking out carnival costumes from a street vendor in Copacabana

Auction house, Copacabana

Street vendor selling fruits, Copacabana

Feng enjoying an empadão, Botafogo

Security guards in an office building, Botafogo

Movie being filmed, Botafogo

Juice and snack bar, Botafogo

Commuters, Botafogo

Man on a smoke break, Largo do Machado

Street vendor selling books, Lago de Machado

People walking by a graffiti-covered wall, Catete

Shopper in a newsstand, Catete

Man sleeping in a car, Catete

Man unloading beer, Lapa

Street vendor selling Havaianas, Lapa

Beggar, Cinelândia

Mark and the police, Cinelândia

Musicians, Cinelândia

Street vendor selling shoe laces, Centro

Street vendor selling hats, Centro

Women walking by Carival costumes, Centro

Shoeshine, Centro

Police, Centro

Couple kissing, Centro

By the bay, Centro

Couple selling beer at a bloco, Centro

Brazilian beauty’s ideal, subway

Going to a bloco, subway

Couple kissing in the subway

Carnival performers reloading their subway card

Kids asleep at a bloco, Ipanema

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

2 Comments

  1. I loved the juice bar at every corner, that and the fresh coconuts with a straw!
    And going to Brazil helped me make peace with the size of my butt haah
    I also remember people kissing a lot in public, especially teenagers. To the point where it sometimes felt embarrassing to bear witness to it!
    As for the cops, seeing them come into a bus with a machine gun and stand next to me was scary for me! Especially since at that point I had been in Scotland for a while, and they don’t carry any weapons there…

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