Sunday, September 7, 2008

Independence Day

Today is Independence day here in Brazil and just like in the US, the main celebration here involves a big parade. I went over to my friend´s house to check it out, since he lives on the parade route. The journey from my house to his involved a fair amount of walking, since the busses were running on alternative routes due to the parade. But the positive side of this was that I got to check out all of the groups that were preparing to march as they were lining up and getting ready to start the parade.

The parade was mostly made up of all branches of the military, some that I have never heard of or seen before, and a bunch of school marching bands. As I was walking by and seeing all of the military and police I was thinking that there much be a lot of happy criminals all over the city because it seemed like every cop was there at the parade and not hanging out in their usual spots trying to deter crime.

The thing I liked best about the parade was the cops with dogs (see above), which seemed to be a popular group judging by all the folks who were taking their pictures. They had all kinds of dogs- German Shephards, Rottweilers, even Black Labs! Now I have only seen cops with dogs in one place here in Salvador, at the soccer games! At the half time, there are always about 8-10 cops, usually 3 or 4 of them with dogs that escort the referees off the field. I guess some people get pissed at the refs and so they need to be protected.

Anyway, some other highlights of the parade included the school marching bands, most of which had flaming gay drum majors leading them, a percussion group from one of the largest favelas in Salvador playing Afro-Brazilian beats with some girls dancing Afro-Brazilian dances in front of the drummers, the military cops that had painted faces and camoflage outfits, and the crowd of people watching the parade.

I always like checking out the way that Brazil celebrates its holidays, and today was no exception. Unfortunately, fireworks displays are not part of their Independence day, but I have to plan lessons tonight anyway, so it´s for the best.

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