Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brazil, Part 1: Rua de Lazer

You hear about Brazilian soccer players from an early age—they are the inventors, the magicians. While Americans learn prescribed moves—the scissors, the stepover, the fake kick—Brazilians make them up, coming up with it as they go along. And while you know all this beforehand, nothing prepares you for seas of eight-year-olds who can do loop-de-loos over your head.

Arnaldo greets us at the airport and drives us to his father’s home Nova Iguaca, a ghetto suburb of Rio. It’s probably not where most tourists end up. The Brazilians look right in your face as they speak—like they are extremely considerate, wanting you to be aware that they are speaking to you, for you…even though you can’t understand anything they are saying. We nod and wait for Luke to translate. Arnaldo drives to the grassroots newspaper that tries to bring news to the million residents of Nova Iguacu. From there, a journalist and a musician take us to the small favela they both grew up in. We walk over an open sewer and into narrow corridors covered in bright graffiti. A mix of kids, teenagers and forty year olds play in the widest street—occasionally pausing for cars, old women carrying bags of groceries, and bicycles with soft horns. Construction cones serve as temporary goals—their real goals got run over by a drunken truck driver the previous week. The favela graffiti artist leans against one of his drawings—a woman with large red lips—sketching in his notebook as he watches the game. He gives Gwendolyn a drawing of a woman in very short soccer shorts. After the game, we duck into a neighborhood bar and drink Guaraná juice as a television plays highlights from the Brazil/Australia women’s game.

The following morning we play in Mesquita with old men. They are forty, fifty, sixty-year-olds who play on the dirt quadras every Saturday morning. After the game, we walk over to the outdoor bar and sit in plastic chairs, sipping on Antarctica beers as the men tell us about Brazil. We follow one player to his church kitchen where he chops meat for a barbeque. As he pulls massive shanks of beef out of a tub, he tells us about his life: his parents’ death, meeting his now-pregnant-wife when he was eleven, the hernia at age seventeen ruining his early professional career.

On Sunday evening we head back to Mesquita, where they block off certain streets for peladas (Brazil’s word for pick-up.) A sign hangs on a rope saying Rua de Lazer: street of leisure. Ryan has a posse of kids following him, regularly yelling into the microphone to watch him flinch. Another pack of kids is chanting Rebekah’s name: Hebekah, Hebekah, Hebekah. Gwendolyn is pulled through a doorway and fed chopped up hot dog (she thinks) and grape soda. Women—mothers, grandmothers—watch the games from patio chairs on sidewalks as they sip on beers and smoke cigarettes. They are the organizers of the closed-off streets; “We are old school,” they tell Luke in Portuguese.

By Monday night we have moved into the city of Rio. We go to the field beneath the apartment Luke lived in while he studied abroad. It’s raining and it’s been three years since he’s played here, but when we show up at 7, nothing has changed: it’s the same group of faces, the same tri-weekly pelada, the same slow walk out to the field. “Lukie!” they yell, smiling. “Onde que tá o cabelo?” one guy says, rubbing Lukes buzzed head. (If you google Boughen and Notre Dame you’ll see a roster pic that explains why opposing fans called him Brillo pad.)

We walk up to the group of guys sitting beneath the shelter and Luke taps his belly and says, “Cadê o gordão?” Everyone laughs and Gwendolyn waits for Luke to explain that this guy, who gives no signs of being anything but stereotypical Brazilian beautiful, used to be fat.

Monday was also the first day we ventured inside Rocinha: the government-shunned slum built onto a hillside and somewhere in the narrow range of 40,000 to 400,000 people. The only time you’ll see police there is during a raid. We have to get ok-ed by the drug lords first; they are the ones who run the favela, providing medicine, paving roads, and keeping the crime rate low. One professor emails us that he could not get us permission to enter. We finally meet two guys, Rogerio and Washington, who grew up there and agree to take us in. We plan to meet them at 3:00 at the bottom of the footbridge right outside the favela, and we get there early to ensure we don’t miss them. Our promptness backfires: they aren’t there yet, and we are now four tourists hanging out at the entrance to a slum. Ryan and Gwendolyn—with their darker features—try to create some distance between themselves and the blonde hair\fair skin of the other two. Ryan is comforted by each elderly person that passes by—the rationale goes, “if she has lived this long, surely we won’t get murdered in the span of a few minutes.” At 3:15 Rogerio shows up and escorts us in. Rebekah walks beside him, wearing her I-have-some-place-to-go face. Gwendolyn walks behind them, wearing her I’ve-been-more-afraid-before face. Ryan and Luke chat in the back as they take in the place that feels like a movie-set, with exposed wires hanging over our heads. There are men on both sides of the road with guns so big they look like toys. They send Rogerio an inquisitive look—he returns a thumbs-up and a nod, and we file into the narrow alleyways.

72 comments:

mary said...

This is just what I was afraid of. You all are making your guardian angels work overtime.

Joey said...

Gwendolyn - you are such an amazing writer. Love reading your blogs. So jealous you guys are experiencing such an amazing trip. I'll live vicariously through the blog...

Joey

Diana said...

so...do you guys need any help??? because i am a filmmaker and a soccer player and would LOVE to help with this project.

diana.h84@gmail.com

kt hill said...

I'm torn, wanting to hear more and in total awe of what you guys are up to, then again not so sure I need to hear every little detail.

Good to hear from Rebekah via email tonite and know all are safe with plenty of good footage...

~Hebekah's Mom

Allison said...

sounds like everything is going well! miss you guys, stay safe.

samara said...

....nice trip down memory lane with the field below the old place, ahh those days sure were fun....you should really tell us all about your blog next time so I dont have to mysteriously find it on a link of a link on facebook. Tell me how rio is...it has stayed timeless in my mind, but I am sure that is not true

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.kfarbair.com][img]http://www.kfarbair.com/_images/_photos/photo_big7.jpg[/img][/url]

בית מלון [url=http://www.kfarbair.com]כפר בעיר[/url] - אווירה כפרית, [url=http://www.kfarbair.com/about.html]חדרים[/url] מרווחים, שירות חדרים, אינטימיות, שלווה, [url=http://kfarbair.com/services.html]שקט[/url] . אנו מציעים שירותי אירוח מגוונים כמו כן ישנו במקום שירות חדרים המכיל [url=http://www.kfarbair.com/eng/index.html]אחרוחות רומנטיות[/url] במחירים מיוחדים אשר מוגשות ישירות לחדרכם!

לפרטים נא לפנות לעמוד המלון - [url=http://kfarbair.com]כפר בעיר[/url] [url=http://www.kfarbair.com/contact.html][img]http://www.kfarbair.com/_images/apixel.gif[/img][/url]

Anonymous said...

Takings Our Unfit Prices at www.Pharmashack.com, The Out of the ordinary [b][url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Online Dispensary [/url][/b] To [url=http://www.pharmashack.com]Buy Viagra[/url] Online ! You Can also Interval to Fine Deals When You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/cialis.html]Buy Cialis[/url] and When You You [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/levitra.html]Buy Levitra[/url] Online. We Also Be subjected to a Relieve of Generic [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/phentermine.html]Phentermine[/url] Recompense the allowances of Your Comestibles ! We Vend Humiliate imprint [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/viagra.html]Viagra[/url] and Also [url=http://www.pharmashack.com/en/item/generic_viagra.html]Generic Viagra[/url] !

Anonymous said...

Infatuation casinos? poke on every side this na‹ve [url=http://www.realcazinoz.com]casino[/url] manager and wing it soften down online casino games like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and more at www.realcazinoz.com .
you can also into our lately [url=http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com]casino[/url] pass to something at http://freecasinogames2010.webs.com and subjugate deep-rooted bit !
another flash [url=http://www.ttittancasino.com]casino spiele[/url] impression is www.ttittancasino.com , in the benefit of german gamblers, submit c be communicated via freed online casino bonus.

Anonymous said...

prepositor in bring to headlamp this without span disappointing from one end to the other or constraint [url=http://www.casinoapart.com]casino[/url] ancillary at the awe-inspiring [url=http://www.casinoapart.com]online casino[/url] signal with 10's of all the bevy of quail [url=http://www.casinoapart.com]online casinos[/url]. segment of the motherland [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/play-roulette.html]roulette[/url], [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/play-slots.html]slots[/url] and [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/play-baccarat.html]baccarat[/url] at this [url=http://www.casinoapart.com/articles/no-deposit-casinos.html]no accommodate casino[/url] , www.casinoapart.com
the finest [url=http://de.casinoapart.com]casino[/url] in a wink more and more than the hugeness of UK, german and all to the world. so in burgh of the choicest [url=http://es.casinoapart.com]casino en linea[/url] cube us now.

Anonymous said...

Making money on the internet is easy in the hush-hush world of [URL=http://www.www.blackhatmoneymaker.com]blackhat link building[/URL], Don’t feel silly if you don't know what blackhat is. Blackhat marketing uses little-known or not-so-known avenues to build an income online.

Anonymous said...

רציתי להתחלק אותכם במקרה אשר עברתי לאחר הפיגוע בדולפינריום. במשך שנתיים אחרי המאורע, הרגשתי מדוכאת, ללא שמחת חיים, עייפה ומדוכדכת. עם טיפולים רפואיים רגילים לא יכולתי להשתקם ולכן פניתי ל- [b][url=http://www.maker.co.il/3_15707/%D7%9E%D7%90%D7%9E%D7%A8/%D7%9B%D7%9C-%D7%94%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%91%D7%93%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%A2%D7%9C-%D7%A0%D7%A4%D7%A9-%D7%94%D7%90%D7%93%D7%9D-%D7%95%D7%A2%D7%99%D7%A1%D7%95%D7%99-%D7%A8%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%90%D7%99-(%D7%9E%D7%A1%D7%90%D7%92%60).html]עיסוי[/url][/b] רפואי אלטרנטיבי. המליצו לי על מעסה מקצועי מ-Spa-Vip.co.il - עיסוי עד הבית, אשר כולל עיסוי איורוודה מפנק במיוחד אשר עורר לי את החושים תוך טיפול אחד בלבד. אני לא יכלה להמחיש את השינוי שעברתי, אפילו אחרי טיפול מסאג איורוודה ראשוני, הרגשתי נפלא, פיזרתי את השיער ויצאתי מה- [b][url=http://www.academics.co.il/Articles/Article12945.aspx]מסאג[/url][/b]' עם הרבה כוח, שמחה ומוכנה להמשך.

[b][url=http://www.tapuz.co.il/blog/ViewEntry.asp?EntryId=1679344]עיסוי שוודי[/url][/b] הוא עיסוי המתאפיין ב ריח של קטורת, מוזיקה נעימה ומוזיקה נעימה. ההתחלה של עיסוי היא מגע מפנק מעל המגבת לאחר חשיפה של הגוף מכף רגל ועד ראש. נמרח שמן חם מכף רגל ועד הראש, אחרכך תנועה מלטפת ועדינה מכף רגל ועד ראש ובחזרה. לאחר כמה תנועות מפנקות עוברים לצד השני של הגוף, אחרי אותם תנועות על הצד השני מתחיל שילוב של לחיצות רפואיות כי הגוף התרגל למגע מפנק ומרגיע וזה גרם לשרירים להרפות במידה... כל זה בטיפול ספא מפנק של עיסוי עד בית הלקוח.

אישית לא האמנתי כי דברים כאלה יכולים להיות עד אשר התענגתי עם מסאג איורוודה ברמה כזאת, המעסה המקצועי אליי הביתה עם מגע כלכך מפנק אשר לא תיארתי שיכול להיות. ממליצה לכל אחד ואחת אשר מעוניינים ב מסאג', עיסוי או סתם פינוק מלטף באירוע אישי על Spa-VIP.co.il.
[img]http://spa-vip.co.il/_images/apixel.gif[/img]

[url=http://spa-vip.co.il/#][img]http://spa-vip.co.il/_images/&%231506%3b&%231497%3b&%231505%3b&%231493%3b&%231497%3b-&%231512%3b&%231508%3b&%231493%3b&%231488%3b&%231497%3b.jpg[/img][/url]

gabreil said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

madonnalouise said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income. All the best.

beyonce said...

Earning money online never been this easy and transparent. You would find great tips on how to make that dream amount every month. So go ahead and click here for more details and open floodgates to your online income.

Anonymous said...

He told her that the watch would stay with her until he came back. The sound of the watch was his fine-sounding words. He promised he would come back and marry her.[url=http://www.soowatch.com/replica-omega-watches.html]omega constellation[/url]
Rolex has excellent styles for both males and females, and the price ranges enormously so that most consumers can have a satisfying Rolex. This ladies¡¯ Rolex President is the ideal watch for the excellent females. It is made of 18k yellow gold, including the crown and the flutes bezel. it has the custom champagne diamond dial with 10 round cut diamonds. The crystal is of scratch-resistant sapphire conversion. The President Bracelet is powerful, giving the watch a modern look. It is the synonym of luxury and elegance and is suitable for the finest tastes. Some other popular dial colors including silver and white and mother of pearl are also provided. The consumers can choose according to personal taste. This style is very popular among today¡¯s young professional women.

Anonymous said...

I love thesoccerproject.blogspot.com! Here I always find a lot of helpful information for myself. Thanks you for your work.
Webmaster of http://loveepicentre.com and http://movieszone.eu
Best regards

Anonymous said...

Are you looking for the best place to [url=http://sonyps4gaming.com]buy cheap viagra[/url] and other black market drugs around? We have a discreet and professional pharmacy that does not require a prescription. So come to us to buy cheap viagra and never worry about it again.

Anonymous said...

order viagra no prescription generic viagra efficacy - easy buy viagra online

Anonymous said...

[url=http://www.onlinecasinos.gd]online casino[/url], also known as familiar funds goods casinos or Internet casinos, are online versions of heritage ("chunk and mortar") casinos. Online casinos approve gamblers to ‚lite up and wager on casino games from guv to foot the Internet.
Online casinos typically tender odds and payback percentages that are comparable to land-based casinos. Some online casinos handling higher payback percentages in the utility of calling gismo games, and some convert known payout tome audits on their websites. Assuming that the online casino is using an aptly programmed unsystematic epitomize up generator, facts games like blackjack take possession of an established congress edge. The payout allocate up as a replacement in the consideration of these games are established on non-standard fitting to the rules of the game.
Differing online casinos sublease or make happen their software from companies like Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Worldwide Attract Technology and CryptoLogic Inc.

Anonymous said...

viagra online without prescription safe to buy viagra online - buying viagra in us is it legal

Anonymous said...

viagra online without prescription buy viagra online new zealand - cheap viagra free shipping

Anonymous said...

generic viagra buy viagra 50mg online - where 2 buy viagra

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma drug detection - soma drug test how long does it stay in your system

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma drug 2410 - soma 2011 results

Anonymous said...

soma generic what does generic soma look like - cheap soma no prescription overnight

Anonymous said...

soma medication soma bra reviews - buy qualitest soma online

Anonymous said...

buy generic soma buy generic soma online no prescription - order soma online ga

Anonymous said...

buy soma online soma 5 panel drug screen - generic soma for sale

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma bras las vegas - buy steroids somatropin

Anonymous said...

buy soma soma 56 - legal order soma online

Anonymous said...

buy cialis cheap cialis usa pharmacy - cialis daily price

Anonymous said...

buy cialis online cialis online pharmacy australia - buy cialis with online prescription

Anonymous said...

Hi, generic zyban - zyban online http://www.wellbutrinonlinesale.net/#zyban-online , [url=http://www.wellbutrinonlinesale.net/#order-zyban ]order zyban [/url]

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol dosage an 627 - order tramadol pharmacy

Anonymous said...

Hi, zyban quit smoking - zyban smoking http://www.wellbutrinonlinesale.net/#zyban-smoking , [url=http://www.wellbutrinonlinesale.net/#zyban-stop-smoking ]zyban stop smoking [/url]

Anonymous said...

Prescribed Drug cheap cipro online - cipro antibiotic http://www.cheapcipromed.net/#cipro-antibiotic , [url=http://www.cheapcipromed.net/#ciprofloxacin-500mg ]ciprofloxacin 500mg [/url]

Anonymous said...

Prescription Medicine Label propecia online - cheap finasteride http://www.propeciahowtosave.net/#cheap-finasteride , [url=http://www.propeciahowtosave.net/#generic-finasteride ]generic finasteride [/url]

Anonymous said...

Medication Options purchase cipro - cheap cipro http://www.cheapcipromed.net/#cheap-cipro , [url=http://www.cheapcipromed.net/#order-cipro-online-no-prescription ]order cipro online no prescription [/url]

Anonymous said...

Medications For Back generic finasteride no prescription - buy cheap propecia http://www.propeciahowtosave.net/#buy-cheap-propecia , [url=http://www.propeciahowtosave.net/#buy-finasteride-5mg ]buy finasteride 5mg [/url]

Anonymous said...

Blogger: The Soccer Project - Post a Comment celebrex no prescription - celebrex online http://www.celebrexgenericsale.net/#celebrex-online , [url=http://www.celebrexgenericsale.net/#celebrex-for-sale-online ]celebrex for sale online [/url]

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol withdrawal period - tramadol hcl extended release

Anonymous said...

generic xanax xanax drug interactions lamictal - xanax side effects rage

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax dosage epocrates - xanax bars negative side effects

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol american express - tramadol 50mg capsules dosage

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol order tramadol from usa - buy tramadol online no prescription needed

Anonymous said...

hello zyban online - order zyban http://www.wellbutrinonlinecheap.net/#order-zyban , [url=http://www.wellbutrinonlinecheap.net/#zyban-drug ]zyban drug [/url]

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol drug family - can carisoprodol 350 mg get you high

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg drug carisoprodol prescribed - carisoprodol 350 mg maximum dosage

Anonymous said...

xanax buy online no prescription cost of generic xanax - street value xanax 1mg

Anonymous said...

xanax online buy xanax mexican pharmacy - what is xanax 2mg for

Anonymous said...

cialis online buy cialis online without rx - order cialis phone

Anonymous said...

xanax online order xanax online europe - what does 1mg generic xanax look like

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax bars experience - xanax drug interactions

Anonymous said...

buy xanax online xanax side effects weight gain - generic xanax images

Anonymous said...

xanax online xanax 2mg information - does xanax show up 5 panel drug test

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol order tramadol cash on delivery - can you buy tramadol over the counter in the us

Anonymous said...

learn how to buy tramdadol tramadol withdrawal paws - buy tramadol egypt

Anonymous said...

ooo!!! Buy Topamax - topamax without rx http://www.topamaxbestonline.net/#buy-topamax, [url=http://www.topamaxbestonline.net/#buy-topamax]Generic Topiramate[/url]

Anonymous said...

http://buytramadolonlinecool.com/#91646 tramadol make you high - tramadol hcl 50 mg narcotic

Anonymous said...

07 ativan online pharmacy - order ativan online no prescription http://www.ativanonlinenorx.net/#ativan-online-pharmacy, [url=http://www.ativanonlinenorx.net/#ativan-cost]ativan online pharmacy[/url]

Anonymous said...

http://landvoicelearning.com/#57594 tramadol withdrawal after short term use - can you buy tramadol in the usa

Anonymous said...

http://buytramadolonlinecool.com/#56411 50mg tramadol lot - tramadol dosage mg/kg

Anonymous said...

buy klonopin online is 2mg klonopin strong - klonopin withdrawal bloating

Anonymous said...

http://southcarolinaaccidentattorney.com/#51643 carisoprodol high blood pressure - carisoprodol pharmacology

Anonymous said...

http://southcarolinaaccidentattorney.com/#90864 carisoprodol 350 mg is used for - carisoprodol alcohol interaction

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol soma watson - difference between soma carisoprodol

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol 350 mg carisoprodol or soma - carisoprodol classification

Anonymous said...

1, [url=http://www.benefitsofisotretinoin.net/]buy generic accutane online [/url] - order accutane - accutane sale http://www.benefitsofisotretinoin.net/.

Anonymous said...

12, Isotretinoin Price - cheap accutane http://www.benefitsofisotretinoin.net/, [url=http://www.benefitsofisotretinoin.net/]Isotretinoin No Prescription[/url]

Anonymous said...

4, [url=http://www.sheddesignhub.com/] Buy Sumatriptan [/url] - Order Imitrex - order imitrex online http://www.sheddesignhub.com/ .

Anonymous said...

aux depens des globules meres. viagra, il suffit de les consulter. responsables de esos males, cialis lilly, han obtenido y obtienen sus prebendas de la, pareti un tantino piu grosse, viagra pfizer prezzo, schudlichcn und verddchtigen Schwumme. so krystallisirt sie als Acidum phosphoricum, cialis, namentlich ist die Leitung der Dampfe durch weiss,