More observations from the home of Jiu-Jitsu in Rio the Cantagalo favela
There is a whole host of animals that live in and around the favela. The favela itself is named Canta(galo), galo is the Portuguese for cockerel and this place is full of these discourteous bastards. These guys wake me up at 5.30 every single morning with their dumbass high-pitched cockereling. My deeply delicious REM sleep is abruptly shattered by a chorus of ‘cock-a-doodle–do’, it seems like there are hundreds of them all chipping in together just to make my life a misery. At one point I did feel the urge to strangle every single one of these annoyingly insufferable pricks. Then I noticed, just underneath my building lived a mother hen and all these super tiny chicks who were following her around being all cute and stuff, since then I have given them a pass and resolved to sleep with my headphones in.
As would be expected from the large quantities of shit which is left everywhere, we have some rats up in this piece. It would be difficult to exaggerate just how much waste litters the streets but trust me there is a lot. This has attracted rats that James Herbert himself would be proud of, just last night a saw this whopping guy who was at least as big as a small cat running around doing his thing. These guys are not afraid of you in the slightest either they will take a quick scope of you, weigh up whether you’re worth eating before getting off. They might be disease-spreading vermin but I quite like them.
Everyone seems to own a dog, sometimes navigating the favela is a test in not being eaten by a range of rabid looking creatures. The family I live with have their own, who goes by the name Gohan, he is nothing like his Dragonball-Z namesake, he would have been much better off being called Master Roshi. The thing with Gohan is he is constantly attempting to perform the fusion technique on anything he can find. This dog has always got a bone, as soon as he gets excited which is all the time BOOM Majin Boo appears. Consequently I have seen a lifetimes worth of dog bonner. Anyone who disputes animals don’t get down for pleasure has not been forced to watch a dog fellate himself on a daily basis.
Social and economic conditions here in the favela have resulted in the large-scale production of little people, it would be an undertstatement to say there are hella kids, super young-looking girls walk around with at least a couple of babies of their own. While a lot of these little guys may be short of material possessions, one thing they will never be short of is friends. It is impossible to make your way around without tripping over groups of boys sat gambling for coloured elastic bands or girls practicing dance routines. The favela is very much alive with these children, I have no idea about their home lives but out on the streets they seem to have so much fun, kicking it, playing, laughing, and chilling together.
Although the abundance of these children can cause danger. There is a large quantity of unguarded edges throughout Cantagalo, ranging from a foot to eight foot drops which would cause some serious damage to a human body especially as you would invariably be landing on a pile of discarded wood, building materials or other stinking aids. This ridiculous and highly dangerous situation doesn’t phase the kids, they ride bikes, skateboard and run right next to the edge somehow avoiding even the slightest hint of injury. Unfortunately when it comes to other human beings they have no spacial awareness and they seem almost happy to run you off the edge to the grim certainty of limb breakage.
A couple of weeks ago I approached what looked like your average school yard scrap, two little dudes who must have been no older than 9 with a circle of ‘friends’ egging them both on. Without either of them telling the other to “come on then” the obligatory 12 times, both of them put their hands up and began to bobbing and weaving. One of the little guys threw a low leg kick at the other, who just brushed it off and kept moving looking for the opening to strike. This had all the makings of a highly technical affair and looked worlds apart from Stubbsy and Gaz Naden’s brawl back when I was in year 7. I was presented with an ethical conundrum, do I break it up or should I watch how it all plays out? Fortunately the decision was taken out of my hands when a large lady walk around the corner and loudly began to admonish the now guilty looking group of boys, she scared me too so I moved away quickly to avoid any of her wrath.
Walking up the stairs which run through the centre of the favela from training each night his provided me with some random sights. One experience in particular which will haunt me forever occurred a month or so ago. I saw a women who was quite obviously steamrollered finishing off relieving herself, bearing in mind this is the main set of stairs that people walk up through to get to their houses. What burned this to a painstakingly vivid image in my head was how she was going about her business. Whilst this lady was not fully standing up, she most definitely wasn’t fully popping a squat either, she was perched in this hybrid position between a full stand and a squat. Whilst I don’t claim to be an expert of the urinary abilities of females, I was always under the impression that this was not the done thing. Unable to avert my eyes quickly enough, our eyes briefly met, and this was the most awkward millisecond of my entire life up to that point.
On this same set of stairs in the middle of the day I was privy to a dude taking a bath, homeboy was using his outside water tank and fully lathering himself up in soap. Seemingly enjoying himself, as people strolled past he would ask them how they were getting on like it ain’t no thing. Thankfully dude had been mindful enough to leave his sungas on. Whist this was a pretty amusing sight for a Tuesday afternoon it did make me appreciate the predominantly cold but nevertheless running water at my gaff.
I was witness to two dudes carrying a 60 inch TV up the stairs, whilst I’m not gonna go into priorities and the need for an impoverished family to own such a big ass TV. But the logistics of carrying this whopping beast up 3 thousands stairs is definitely not ideal, nor did it look ideal for the two dudes doing it. On the subject of carrying things I saw a dude carrying a cooker on his swede. As I walked up behind him out of breath and sweating profusely from the horribly steep climb he had his arms wrapped around this cooker whilst it balanced on his nugget. It was at this moment I resolved never to moan about anything ever again.
Got the homie Torryn ‘Falcon’ Heffelfinger wrestling coach at Rio Fighters and house manager at Connection Rio once again cooking up the delish this time in the Gi. My man drops knowledge on using the duck under and the options you have from there.
I feel someone was not happy at me putting the dog on blast for his deviant sexuality when I dropped this blog a couple of days ago and I received a karmic response early this morning. I woke up mad thirsty early in the AM and made my way into the kitchen to grab some water, as I opened the fridge I felt my foot absorb into something warm and wholly unpleasant. I experienced the sickeningly abhorrent feeling of dog shit oozing through my toes, I cried out silently as not to wake the sleeping household.
It felt like the sensation of melding play-dough with your hands except it was stinking dog faeces and it had attached itself to every orifice of my left foot. Having to clean dog do-do off my foot is without doubt the worst thing that has ever happened to me at 5AM. The cleaning process itself had to be done in stages too with the added difficulty of doing it all in complete silence, the walls being paper thin. First I had to remove the clinging excrement with toilet paper, this was incredibly sticky sludge and I had to get right in-between the toes to remove all traces. Then I had to get my foot in the shower and washed first with anti bacterial soap, then blasted it with shower gel and then a coating on delicious smelling shampoo. Then I clipped my toenails and repeated the process all over again. Finally I had to disinfect the shower before attempting to get back to sleep with the added difficultly of the sounds of Abba’s dancing queen being played at ridiculous decibels somewhere in the favela and the army of cockerels all praying in unison to the giant vengeful animal God in the sky. This whole experience actually sucked so much ass.