Learning of childhood
Being around kids at the end of my trip made me think a lot about childhood.
At the beginning of my trip, I learned a lot of things by staying in the favela. It was the first time in a very long time, that I felt a true sense of community like we had as children. Heading back to hostel at 10pm, I saw kids still out playing and running around whilst the adults sat in groups drinking and chatting. You could hear music playing and people laughing. And actually even standing out, I still felt pretty safe.
Maybe this was also due to the pacification. In 2008, the Unidade de Policia Pacificadora (UPP), a law enforcement and social services program began. I stayed in the Cantagalo Favela and the UPP was in full force there. It was actually located right next to my hostel and there were always police officers around with their big guns. Is that off putting or does that help with a sense of safety?
Obviously I was only there for a couple of days but was able to observe. Sunday was their party day and looking out across the hill, I could see lots of celebrations. Also, in walking down the hill, I could see people partying for birthdays; different groups; fireworks going off; people drinking beer but mainly the children playing with smiles on their faces.
I believe that society has changed the way kids are brought up to extremes. In the developed countries, kids as young as 2 can play on iPads, watch shows on big TVs and are more technologically advanced than some granny's. When we were younger, we didn't have that luxury. We had books, we played on the street, we interacted a lot more because we couldn't hit behind our mobile phones. We had to use our brains to memorize phone numbers, we had to stick to plans because we made a call before left house and arranged plans, and we were able to carry out simply sums. Nowadays, life is easy. We have technology to do so many things that we don't need to use our brains to think, or our legs to walk to the library, or our creative part of brain to make up playground games.
Of course, technology is amazing. You can learn so many things like your alphabet for when you are a kid to a language when you are a teenager. The easy life. For research projects, you can just google for information, whereas before you had to go to library, put in key words, search the shelves and sometimes even wait til someone else returns the book. How much time do we save now? Maybe now we can use that saved time to be kids? To revert back to our youth and be a kid? The days of being free and playing using our creative minds, our body for activity and our social skills for interaction.
For 2014, maybe as adults we can try to be kids more. Use the list below and try to be a kid maybe once a day? Once a week?
Visit a toy store and purchase a game/toy
Play Mini golf
Finger paint old bed sheet
Watch 3 stooges
Make daisy chains
Read with torch under cover
Go on swing
Play on a roundabout
Play in rain
Play in a Forrest
Play trophy (handstand games)
Run through sprinklers
Climb a tree
Play on farm
Jump on a bed
Fly a kite
Play with Lego
Mix different colours of ice cream
Make a sand castle
Bury someone in the sand
Make snow angels
Paint by numbers
Play card games
Build a tree house
Ride a bike with stabilisers
Go home when street lights go on
What are the other things that you can do to feel like a kid?
The last day day in South America was spent in a town near the airport and it was nice to be able to introduce Shannon to real life Brazil. We ate at a favela restaurant. That was just the name of it and not actually in the favela as that would be a bit of a shock to Shannon's system! It was typical Brazilian food and it was very good. We also had Acai and Brazillian coffee. Even in the midst of the Christmas shoppers, it was hard to believe that it was Christmas Eve.
At the airport, it was time for Shannon to taste the pasties. It wouldn't be something we would normally eat but whilst in Brazil we had to try!
So my South America overview:
Argentinian steak house (yum) - asado
Dolce de leche (yum)
Beijinho de coco
Pao de queijos
Meujar de coco
Acai na tigela
Comida por quilo
Local Argentinian - beagle
Agua de coco
In a quick summary, I was more impressed than I thought I would be. On arrival at 8 am, I looked at my map of attractions and saw two one way and many the other. Liking to be different, I decided to go to the minority, however, this wasn't the nicest area and I could see people wondering what I was doing walking around. Anyway, it turned out to be good because I came across a beautiful park.
There were kids playing football, skatbebaordong, and playing basketball. There was also old men playing tennis. It was another long walk through a dodgy area to get back to where I started and then I headed towards the 'sights'.
As I got into the centre, I was again pleasantly surprised that I found another beautiful park. As much as I heard it was a concrete jungle there were still some green and parts you could be with nature. This park was also cute and had a cave feature with a bit you could walk to top. This is where I are my pao de quijos that Ni and Fabi had made me! park. Parque da Luz had undergone careful restoration and had many tropical trees and even am outdoor gym. I really wanted to work out but my travelling head wanted to see as much as possible.
Across from the park is Estacao da Luz which is a classic late Victorian train station. This was made from materials shipped from Britain in 1901.
Getting further into the centre, the streets were busy with shoppers. I made it to paulista Ave, the heart of São Paulo and my goodness it was busy. I was happy though that even in the midst of business people, there were a lot of cool and quirky people.
Walking along there was a bank with many snow globes and it was really beautiful. Also, a big Christmas decoration over the avenue. And then again another park. Parque Siqueira Campos is another cute little park where you could escape the bustle of city life.
I continued to walk and found rua Augusta which I read was the quirky street and also the traditional red light district. This was a very long street and I enjoyed taking in the atmosphere as I walked. At the end of this street, I then entered the neighbourhood of money. The complete opposite of the area I first walked in. Massive houses and show rooms of lamberginis and jaguars. Definately seeing a city of rich and poor.
Unfortunately the museum of photography was closed so I headed back to the city centre. A long walk up a hill to get myself back. It was many hours of walking and I guess that's why people get the metro. This I did to get back to collect my bag. And then another metro to the bus station where get bus to airport. When reading about how to get there, it said this route for the more adventurous and I figured that was me. There I was cramped into a train with my huge backpack on and rucksack on my front. It was hard to even hold on because when I straightened my arm, my back would arch and I would almost fall. Lucky, it was packed and I would be able to go anywhere.
The airport bus was the busiest bus I have ever been on. There was a huge line when I arrived and I just made the assumption I would need to wait for the next one. That was not the case. The squeezed as many people as they could on. Luckily I out my bag in the storage part first and a girl held my bag on her knee. This made the long ride more bare able. Finally when people got off at the smaller part of the airport, I got a seat for 5 minutes to chat with a lovely air hostess who was asking many questions and couldn't believe I was travelling on my own with a big bag haha! She was really nice and showed me the way to go.
I arrived at the airport early so I would be there for Shannon and the team arriving. Nevertheless, the plane didn't have in mind to arrive early for me. It was supposed to land at 5pm and at 520 I began to worry. Luckily I could see in the baggage collection and Brasilia was up on screen. My phone had died so if I had any messages I wouldn't have got them. Around 540, I looked on iPad for arrival information and it said for the Brasilia flight 'please see airline agent'. Oh oh the last time I saw this, my flight was cancelled. Nevertheless, about two minutes after I saw some players head to the baggage line!!
Shannon and I were able to get airport bus to our hotel and high five Shannon as it was the best hotel around for sure. Also, it was the receptionists birthday and said he would give us check out til 7pm so we could just go straight to airport! Score! No more luggage storage and rush packing :)
We went for dinner and ended up in a very nice German restaurant. I made that sound so easy when in fact we walked around for quite a while looking for someone and ended up back at this place which was next door to our hotel haha!
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.