Part 2: Evacuating the Gaza Strip
Hanging out at BJJ Hacks film shoot at Mestre Terere's house
In Cantagalo. A lot happens in one year in Brazil.
Warning: Do not try this at home.
So today it’s been a year since I’ve been living in Brazil. 365 days ago today I arrived at Connection Rio at 7-8AM. My first sight of the “Jiu Jitsu lifestyle” was the pasty white legs and tighty whities of Belgium native Brist who opened the door for me before stumbling back to bed to sleep off a long night of drinking (He is actually back now). Due to a scheduling error, there was no house manager to greet me so I tiptoed through the house, eventually stumbling across one of the common rooms that was stuffed full with damp kimonos, bunk beds, and more pasty, white gringo legs. Boy did I regret not having enough money to stay in a private room the 3 months that I stayed at Connection Rio! After 3 months I made my escape, leaving the quiet suburban neighborhood at the base of Pedra de Gavea and moved to the tumultuous Favela of Cantagalo to live with the Fernando Terere’s secretary. This is where the story gets good.
I stayed there for a little while, but since I STILL didn’t have my own room, I eventually jumped ship and landed in what I now know is called the Gaza Strip or Quebra or that place, you know, when you get off the elevator and go left.
I lived there for 3 months but soon found the need to leave because… well because it was a shit hole. It was my shit hole though, so I did love it in its own way. For the first time in 8 months, I could sleep in, walk around in my underwear, and not have to worry about boys peeing on the toilet seat all the time (where we get off telling guys to put the toilet seat down is beyond me... men are impossible, if you don't want to be sitting in pee all the time it is more effective to put the toilet seat UP after finishing).
I finally had my freedom, but I also had to deal with a suspect landlord, a wall that was always damp and most likely moldy, and a limited amount of space. SOOO limited that when I wasn’t in bed I had to throw it up against a part of the wall that wasn’t damp! Life in the favela is definitely a big change from the million dollar homes that surround the Connection Rio hostel.
I ended up dealing with that mess for 3 months. It would have been 3 months and 2 days but my landlord outright refused to let me stay the extra days I needed before being able to move into my new place.
My New Place:
Finding a new place took two days of walking up and down numerous stairs with my previously mentioned cria and searching out people like “nido” who has a room for 300 and lives in the bakery that closed down in the GDF or “Aunty from the church” who has 3 room for cheap, wait who is it for? You? Ok! Yeah 3 rooms. She is in the salon go ask for her down that street around 9 (this is why you need a cria. In America you look up an address in the favela you ask around looking for people to point you to other people who know where there is someone).
Hanging out and having lunch at Terere's house while
filming BJJ Hacks. You can see Jackson Souza's house from here.
The blue tubs supply water to houses and also act as a
drying rack for clothes. Roof tops are also popular places
for kite flyers
So, I find a new place but nothing can ever just be easy so long story short let’s just cut to Tuesday. I was supposed to move out of my house Monday (I’m also supposed to be in MMA sparring) and I’m sitting dejectedly on my front steps with an empty house save a fridge and the blankets that I slept with last night. I’m somewhat stressed out because A.) if you hadn't noticed I mentioned it was Tuesday and I was supposed to move out Monday and B.) there are two things that I know about my landlord for sure… neither of them meeting the censorship of this blog but most likely falling under the jurisdiciton of ATF. So yeah I woke up Tuesday determined get myself and my fridge out of there ASAP.
My fridge is my prized possession. It is also the biggest and should be the most expensive thing I own. It’s not actually... these are.
It cost me about 80 dollars to buy these two pieces of crap!
They are the only real pieces of furniture I own...
How is that possible? Two reasons.
A. Everything in Rio is expensive and plastic things for some reason are double expensive.
B. I acquired my fridge via the Jeito Favelado (the favela way). What’s the favela way you may ask? Well, one morning, at an ungodly early hour, someone came screaming my name outside of my window. I get up open the window and it’s my friend's boyfriend asking me if I want to buy a fridge for R50 USA $23. So, we walk up one level to this nice apartment where I am greeted by some shady guy that looks like he could be a pimp or something. IRONICALLY he used to live in Maryland and is not moving to Sao Paulo since he couldn’t afford his rent. Viola. Fridge for me, along with a huge tub a mayonnaise, and some sketchy mustard in a water bottle. I saved myself at the least R300 that I would have had to dish out to buy and transport a used fridge from somewhere else.
End note. Back to me being dejected on my front steps with no Cria.
Along the Estrada, that is not an abandoned house, people live there
Thats not a pile of trash, kids play there.
These politicians, I'm not sure who they are, they never come here
but cheers for spending your campaign money to throw more trash
into the communities! They should be ashamed!
Cut. Once again we are out of time. It's been a long day and I have wrestling in the morning. The third and last part will be out next week, freeing me up to get to my next topic of interest: Bomba... and not the gernades the dealers throw... I'm talking about the juice the athletes down!
If your dying to read more about the favela check out Tales From Deep Half as my homeboy has also released a 3 part story on living here in the favela! I accidently sent him down into the Gaza Strip forgetting that he was a "straight up white boy" ... like I said you shouldn't try this at home...