This morning held a successful visit to a cemetery. I chose one that was closer than Campo Grande but it had been closed over the weekend. Not sure why the cemetery was closed but I fear it is for the same reason that just about all apartment buildings have doormen and most walls are topped with razor wire.
It’s called Cemeterio Campos Santos. I walked through the shaded park in the middle of Av. Centenario which features a bike lane and various equipment like one would see on a cross fit trail. It was a pleasant enough route though at one point I was on the edge of a sketchy neighborhood. I was tempted to wander through since it was mid-morning and I figured all the bad guys would still be sleeping but discretion being the better part of valor, I resisted the urge.
At the top of the hill was this gorgeous cemetery, very European in that there’s no grass, just stones covering family plots. Lovely sculptures throughout the older sections and it’s an active cemetery. While I was there was an interment occurring. I tried to discreetly wander out of view when I saw the casket being wheeled along the cobblestone path. They didn’t need to have some gringo taking pictures while they’re grieving. This is my second cemetery this trip but it’ll be the only time they bury this loved one.
I also caught a glimpse of the inside of one of the wealthy family plots. The stone on top impressive but one section was askew. I looking down and there was a workman doing some touch-up paint work to the underground crypt with room for at least half a dozen family members. We made eye contact and I think he was more disturbed by me than I was by him.
The pictures I took don’t adequately represent the maze aspect of the area where ashes were interred. The walls are about three meters high, aisles fairly narrow and while wandering, reading inscriptions and looking at pictures of people long since passed, I got a somewhat turned around.
(More cemetery photos can be viewed in my Facebook album.)
I left around noon and headed for a restaurant that Domenico suggested but when I got there it was apparently closed. There were some guys hanging out and this one guy suggested another place by pointing down the street. He said he’d take me there.
Of course, I’m not sure what he said, he spoke no English and I couldn’t understand his Portuguese but that’s what I gathered from gestures and the few words I recognized. He did not have a full complement of teeth and he had that lean look of a man who’s skipped meals more from necessity than choice.
One thing I understood during our brief walk was that it was another buffet. So I was ready when we got there except this was much “realer”. The inside was devoted entirely to the food preparation, I ate on lawn furniture in the parking lot with everybody else and we were a motley crew. There was a stray dog and some pigeons that people kept shooing away. None the less, the feijoada was excellent and I think I won some respect by enjoying the spicy sauce on the table.
At one point I think they asked why I wasn’t eating at Shopping Barra. I was by far the palest person there. I told them that at Shopping Barra they had McDonald’s and Burger King and I could eat that back in the States. I wanted real Brazil!
I paid for my native guide’s lunch as a gesture of thanks.
And as I write this, the sun is setting, Brazil is playing their final group match. For each of the two goals so far I have heard cheers not just from the apartment next door nor the Fan Fest half a kilometer away. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced in the States nor at any of my past World Cups. When Brazil scores I can hear the city itself erupt in a paroxysm of joy.
Sinta-se livre para se movimentar sobre o planeta.
I’ve often gained respect/friends by eating local cuisine with locals.
Food is a tool that builds friendships. (Remembering the Nickel and Pizza hut).