Rapidinhas

Back to Eden

Rio’s Marquês de Sapucaí, the avenue where the Escolas de Samba and their characters parade on Carnaval,
has become the main annual showcase for budding stars. And this year is no exception. With a story entitled “Creator
and Creature” Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel won first prize. Among the creatures: Frankenstein,
genetic engineering, and computer. But the most celebrated of them were Adam and Eve, both only covered with a vine leaf
for a cache-sex. Luíza Ambiel, the new Eve, was already famous due to her Sunday stint as the girl who snatches men in
a bathtub on Domingo Legal, a popular TV program.

For Beto Simas, Rio’s Adam, however, the avenue show was an apotheosis. The 30-year-old swimmer, cyclist
and capoeirista has shown an enviable physique and ended up being chosen as the muse of Carnaval ’96. Hollywood
was watching, and soon after his presentation, Adam left Rio for Los Angeles where he went to discuss details of
his participation in the next Jean Claude Van Damme
movie. The married man and father of three children also received
an invitation to parade in New York beside Cindy Crawford
and Claudia Schiffer.



Rio’s Biblical first couple

 

Adam and Eve


Carnaval

Back to Eden

Rio’s Marquês de Sapucaí, the avenue where the Escolas de Samba and their characters parade on Carnaval,
has become the main annual showcase for budding stars. And this year is no exception. With a story entitled “Creator
and Creature” Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel won first prize. Among the creatures: Frankenstein,
genetic engineering, and computer. But the most celebrated of them were Adam and Eve, both only covered with a vine leaf
for a cache-sex. Luíza Ambiel, the new Eve, was already famous due to her Sunday stint as the girl who snatches men in
a bathtub on Domingo Legal, a popular TV program.

For Beto Simas, Rio’s Adam, however, the avenue show was an apotheosis. The 30-year-old swimmer, cyclist
and capoeirista has shown an enviable physique and ended up being chosen as the muse of Carnaval ’96. Hollywood
was watching, and soon after his presentation, Adam left Rio for Los Angeles where he went to discuss details of
his participation in the next Jean Claude Van Damme
movie. The married man and father of three children also received
an invitation to parade in New York beside Cindy Crawford
and Claudia Schiffer.


People

Rain Man

Heloísa Vinhas, 23, a Brazilian born in Santos, São Paulo, came to Los Angeles to become a star. And she ended
up taking part in a scene with no less than Hollywood hot property
Tom Cruise even before she could start her theater
classes. The March 4 chance encounter, however, is nothing Vinhas would like to repeat. It was a rainy day and she had just
left the restaurant where she works as a waitraess, the California Chicken Café, in Santa Monica, in Greater Los
Angeles, when she was hit by a car while crossing the street on the crosswalk.

The driver didn’t stop to help her, but Cruise, who was coming behind, stopped his Porsche, followed the
ambulance who took her to the UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and even paid the $7,000 bill when it became clear
that the Brazilian didn’t have medical insurance or the money to pay for the operations she needed. Vinhas, despite the
gravity of the accident, had only a fractured leg and some ruptured knee ligaments.

The next day Cruise called her in the hospital to see how she was
doing. Three days after the accident, which happened to be her
birthday, came a new surprise from the actor: flowers sent to the hotel
where she lives with a happy birthday card signed by Cruise, his wife
Nicole and their two children. “He was extremely kind,” said Vinhas.
“And he is not even one of my favorite actors. I prefer Christopher Lee
and Vincent Price.”


Behavior

Naked city

Taquara, a little town 40 miles from Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul, with an economy based on cattle
and agriculture and an obscure archeological museum as its main attraction, hasn’t inspired many tourists to drop by. But
all of this might change soon. The town’s city hall has requested that Taquara be recognized as a tourist community. The
idea for such a change came to the city’s fathers after a group of nudists decided to create the Clube Colina do Sol, a
closed condominium to shelter nudists.

The project is grandiose, envisioning a community with 450 houses,
30 shops, five restaurants, a hotel and a camping area. Developed by
Naturis, a company owned by Celso Rossi, president of Federação
Brasileira de Naturismo, Colina do Sol already has 15 houses built
under large trees and around an artificial lake. A contract prevents
people from reselling their houses to non-naturist people. “The place
is for those who are tired of their lifestyle and are looking for a
simple life, without luxuries and without clothes,” explained Rossi.
His initial idea was to build the complex in Bahia, but he was
discouraged by the opposition of Bahian society to nudism. In Rio
Grande do Sul, a population mostly formed by Italian and German
immigrants, seems more tolerant of the in-the-buff way of life.


The nickname of
the game

Telemig, the phone company that serves the state of
Minas Gerais, is not happy with the destination of their phone books in
the little town of Itambacuri. They are thrown on the trash or just
forgotten in an obscure corner of the house. When looking for a
telephone number the entire city prefers to consult an unofficial book
that lists people by their nicknames. The directory has the nicknames
for the 3,000 telephone owners in town. Celso Borges Cordeiro, the
town’s physician for example, is presented only as the Médico. When
someone has no sobriquet, the phone book uses their first name followed
by a relative’s name. This way, farmer Mário Alves Pereira, for
example, became Mário de Antoninho de Camilo (Mário from Antoninho from
Camilo). Antoninho is Mário’s father and Camilo is his grandfather. And
everybody else is also there: Yoyô, Dodó, Azul (Blue), Português e o
Boate (Nightclub).


Not yet promised land

Preliminary numbers from the 1993 National Research by Home Sample from the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro
de Geografia e Estatística –
Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) are in and there are results for all tastes. The gap between rich
and poor, for example, is still colossal with the 10% richest taking 49.8% of all the wealth and the 10% poorest having
to share 0.7% of what is left. The census reveals also that 70.9% of all Brazilians own the homes they live in, but
only 19.8% of these houses have a telephone. TV sets are in 75.8% of the residences, washing machines in 24.3% of
them, while only 12.9% own a freezer. Close to 96,000 households and 330,000 people were consulted. In an
unrelated disclosure, the IBGE revealed that in 1995 Brazil has regained the 8th position in GNP among all countries in
the world, swapping place with China and coming just after Canada. The Brazilian GNP grew to $677 billion compared
to China’s $619 billion and Canada’s $774 billion. The US comes in first with $7.1 trillion followed by Japan with
$3.9 trillion.


Regaining
the charm

News of crime, destruction of the Amazon and the massacre of Indians has scared away many foreigners willing to
go to Brazil. In 1990, the situation hit rock bottom with only 1 million foreign tourists going for a visit. The
situation has been getting better recently. Last year the number of foreign visitors jumped to 1.8 million. Crime
has gone from 1st to 4th place as the main concern of visitors, but most of them are still complaining about the lack
of infrastructure in the country: things like traffic signs, bilingual menus, decent taxi cabs. The new data were
just
released by Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism authority. The favorite destination of travelers continues to be Rio
(42% of visitors), followed by São Paulo, which gets just half that amount. Brazil, despite its beaches, the Pantanal and
the Amazon, still has a long way to go to fully profit from tourism. Even tiny Uruguay receives more tourists (2.2
million a year) than Brazil.


Busy skies

Only the US has a bigger fleet of executive planes than Brazil. The revelation was made by Associação Brasileira
de Aviação Geral (Brazilian Association of General Aviation), ABAG, which also disclosed that this sector is
growing 5% a year in the country. According to Ivan
Correia, ABAG’s President, this has to do with the immensity of
the country. “The private plane is a necessity,” he said. Mexico, Canada and France follow Brazil in the category.


McMess

Are Brazilian McDonald’s hamburguers politically correct? They are not, say David Morris and Helen Steel from
the British Greenpeace ecological group. The restaurant chain, according to them, is using meat from cattle that grazes
on pastureland planted over old, devastated Amazon forest. McDonald’s refuses to admit any wrongdoing and went
to Court, suing Morris and Steel for defamation and asking $10 million in damages. The McDonald’s foes, however,
say that only an indemnification from the restaurant given to a charity institution will make them stop their crusade.


Taxing on line

The Brazilian IRS lion has already set up its trap on the Internet. Since mid-March, those taxpayers willing to
file their income taxes electronically can download the necessary forms from http://www.fazenda.gov.br/srfimrpf.html
Those not connected to the communication superhighway who wish to send their form via modem will have to go
to an agency of Receita Federal to get a diskette with all the information.


Slang

High talk

With First Lady Ruth Cardoso offering her two cents in favor of decriminalizing the use of marijuana in Brazil,
talking about drugs has become de rigueur among the Brazilian intelligentsia. There’s a whole culture and language which
goes with the fad. Here’s a little lexicon to help you on your trip to understand the phenomenon:

barato — a drug’s effect

baseado, bagulho, bomba — pot

bater um — (to beat one) to prepare the cocaine for snorting it

bocada — (mouthful) — place to buy drugs

bode — (goat) urge to sleep

branco — (white) faintness

canaleta — (gutter) — vein

chocolate — hashish

dar uma luz — (give a light) transitory high

docinho — (little candy) lysergic acid

erva do diabo — (devil’s weed) pot

fino — (the thin one) pot cigarette

fralda — (diaper) pot paper

mardita — pot

marica — (pansy) any object used to hold the grass

palha — (straw) bad quality pot

pedra — (stone) crack

pico — (prick) injection in the vein

poeira — (dust) cocaine

tuim — same as barato

tyson — (as in Mike Tyson) strong, knocking-down pot

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