That Town Down Yonder

May 28, 2011
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Have you ever ridden for more than nine hours, in a bus with a small bathroom that you could hardly use because of it’s deplorable smell? Well, I have and it was exhaustively hot and stuffy in the outdated bus that rolled over various speed bumps and holes on the rough and dusty road that is found in the states of Para and Maranhao, Brazil.
I study in an amazing school situated in a city in the north of Brazil called Belem. Every year, the high school students go on a trip to a different city to have fun and to learn new things. This year we went to a city in Maranhao called Sao Luis.
We left the campus in which we were staying at eight in the morning and we drove for more than an hour till we arrived in a dusty town in the outskirts of São Luis. As we got off the bus the salty sea air hit our jolly faces with a mighty force; we all strained our eyes to see where we were. We were in a fishing village feeling kind of lost and out of place. We started to walk along the road, looking for little stores that are in the fisherman’s houses. These stores are made up of traditional and cultural objects produced by the fisherman’s experienced and hard working wives. The fishermen go, in the early morning, into open sea to get some the many types of fish that are very abundant in the region. Meanwhile their wives are busy at home developing cool dresses, curtains, souvenirs and trinkets to sell at their stores.
We couldn’t see any of the stores that we were looking for so we changed direction and after ten minutes of retracing our steps; we turned a corner and saw in front of us a big, bustling fish market overflowing with sea creatures.
As we walked on the dirty road, a young man pulling a small cart that had a 2 foot long dead shark lying on top of it ran past us; it smelled like stagnated water and we all gazed in amazement at the weird looking headless and colorless shark as it zoomed past us. As we followed it with our eyes we soon saw that all around us there were lots of men in little stalls cleaning and cutting the fresh fish that was soon to be sold in the nice fish market.
Many eyes were fixed on us as we looked at all the unusual fishes that appeared in many sizes and colors. Some were being scaled and others were being sold.
Since we didn’t find any stores in the decent fish market, we left, hoping to find them before it was time to leave. Walking down the populated street, we looked from side to side and sure enough, a few stores and their owners appeared and delightfully welcomed us in. We could see the regional culture portrayed in almost all the things sold in the small, cozy yet colorful shop.
I sat outside with some of my friends and watched a sixty year old woman weave with astonishing speed, eight trivial wooden spools one over the other and even overlapping two at a time. A bright white linen cloth slowly formed with many different shapes; she said that she had learned to do that when she was only six years old.
We left that cultural town feeling impressed and bewildered with all of this traditionalism. Visiting this place really made me happy and interested in Brazil’s culture. This trip was very educational and I really enjoyed it. Brazil is awesome!





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