Monday, January 26, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 7

Day 7 consisted of part of my 28 hour journey back to Nigeria.

I woke up, had breakfast, and jetted out to the airport. If not for a fellow festival-attendee who rode with me to the airport, I for don loss. This is because I didn't depart from the same airport I came through. Who books flight that way?

Since I don't take pictures of airports, we are going to leave out my experience at the three airports back, and just say goodbye the way I said goodbye to Brazil.

Rio de Janerio is a really beautiful city, and it is even more beautiful when seen in an aerial view. As I said in the previous post, it is a city inside the river, so check these pictures below out, as I sign out of this series.

If you missed any post series, click here, and have your eyes opened. I promise you will thank me, even if you have been to Brazil before.

A big thank you to everyone who followed my Brazilian experience, by reading this blog series. You are all darlings. *Muah*

As a  bonus, I have embedded the video of my first performance at the slam. I presented six times. The one below was the first one in the first round.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 6

Day 6 was my final day of activity in Brazil. I was indoors throughout the morning. I decided that day would be my only opportunity to venture out on my own, and see parts of Rio de Janerio. With Flavia's description, I took the bull by the horns, and stepped out.

I walked to the main road, and took the subway to General Osorio. As I was descending down the subway, two men were walking ahead of me. Immediately they got underground, they quickly kissed each other. They then turned back, and saw me. I didn't know what to think of the whole thing, but it reeked of serious guilt.. It was the first time I had ever seen two men kiss in real life. I was really taken aback.

I bought my ticket, and waited for the train

Waiting for the train to arrive

Train finally gets here

The two gay men are somewhere in this picture, on
the train, but I won't point them out, lol.
Click below to follow me to the market square and the beach. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 5 (Part 2)

I quickly rushed to the hotel, and did a little rehearsal for the semifinal. And so, we proceeded to the festival site.

Remember, I was currently holding the highest score among all contestants, of 89.9/90. Unfortunately, all scores were dropped, and I wasn't even aware of it.

Unfortunately, after this round of three performances, two people made it to the final, and I wasn't one of them. I was so shocked to find out that our previous scores were dropped, but I guess it was just part of life. My fun time in Brazil was just starting.

Don't go. Click below to have more fun with me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 5 (Part 1)

Happy new year guys. How's 2015 so far? Hope we are cementing concrete decisions in the ground so this year can turn out better than last?

Day 5 was my longest and most tasking day in Rio de Janerio. In fact, it was so long, that I have to split the post into two. Because I didn't go to the festival at all on Day 4, and chose to watch the Live stream, I did not realise our visit to the Favelas (Brazilian slums) had been slated for that morning. I just stepped down to the restaurant to have breakfast when I saw the bus, and people getting ready to go. I was really confused as to what to do. Breakfast was one of the best things for me in Brazil, and I didn't want to give it up, yet I knew visiting the Favelas was an experience I might never have the opportunity to have in my life.

One of the producers just aided me in packing a few croissants in saviette, and a pack of yoghurt, and moved me out of the restaurant. I basically dressed up in the bus, lol. By the time we were done, let's just say I would never have forgiven myself if I missed that experience. Then again, I would have been too ignorant to know what I had missed.

Before I go on, let me just give a summary of this. Brazil, Rio de Janerio, Sao Paulo, and many other towns is a class based society, and almost no middle class. There is a clear distinction between these classes, different culture, living conditions, etc. The poor live up the mountains, while the rich live in the valleys. These mountain communities are the Favelas. You can't just walk into the Favelas anyhow. To visit, you must go in groups, and consult with the community chiefs, and go with one of the locals. They have a very strong community, and if you venture there alone, you might be killed, kidnapped, etc. To keep them separate, and the two classes as distinct as can be, policemen are placed in the Favelas. You have like three policemen in about every street or so, and they are there 24-7-365. The house are always clustered, with no space in between.

Arriving at the teleferico stations

Roberta, my slam master, with one of the festival directors

The cable cars we entered. The mode of transport is
on cables suspended in the air, like electric cables

Waiting to enter the cable cars
 Don't go, click below to read more, and follow me to the Favelas

Monday, December 29, 2014

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 4

So Day 4 was like the most chilled-out day for me, cos I chose to stay in doors all day, and work on the concert I was planning. I figured I could just watch the next two rounds of the slam live, although this decision didn't get me into the good books of many people, lol.

Chibundu Onuzo, the only other Nigerian amongst the hundreds and hundreds of people who came for the festival, and the author of Spider King's Daughter, decided that we should go and see Christos statue. Even though I had decided to stay in all day, I obliged, cos I felt it would only take one or two hours.

When we got to the place, we were advised not to take the tourists train up the mountain cos we won't see Mr Christos due to the bad weather that had caused the clouds to cover him.

Downcast, we took the bus back to the hotel, and went for lunch.

The streets of Brazil. This is the rich people's area. No fences

How I wish we could have parks like this in Nigeria,
where we can just chill, and area boys won't take over

This guy photo-bombed Chibundu's shot

Pretending to exercise
We then went for lunch, and met Flavia, the FLUPP producer stationed at the hotel. She was the one whose dunlop slippers I wore around Rio for a whole day, when my bag was lost. We had interesting discussion about her marriage, how she doesn't want to have kids, religion, etc. One really needs to travel often, and see the way people from other cultures view life. It's not always about Christianity and Islam in many of these countries, or marriage, or even the lack of it,

Chibundu and Flavia

Once I got to the hotel, I continued with my work. If only I could imagine what the next day had in stock for me. If you are reading this post today when it was posted, I am probably on my way to the fifth and final country I will be visiting this year. Happy new year in advance.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 3

My Day 2 was something else. Let's just say it was the experience of a life time. It was the first day of the slam, the second day of the festival, and I was in the first round. When the time came for competition, all the poets suddenly stopped smiling with each other. Competition is not a good thing o, lol.

I woke up, and I determined to go to the airport with my boxing gloves, lol. Bag must show by fire by force. I got a call around 6.30am, asking me to come get my bag at the hotel reception. I was told it was dropped around 4.00 am. I was so excited. I could finally change my clothes after three days.

Since I was slamming the first day, my group had to get to the venue early for testing, and some of the poets decided to make videos.

Mic check, and translations have started . We had to perform, so the guy doing translations into different languages could feel us

And then, we had some crappy lunch.

Basically sitting in this program, waiting for the slam that was to start by 4.00pm.

The slam is about to begin

People trooping in for the slam

The anticipation is something else

So we got introduced to the crowd, all 16 of us. I just kept trying to run to the back, lol. 

My fellow contestants, lol.
The slam started, and then, this happened.

And this

 This also

 After more than an hour, and three rounds, we finally arrived at this

Winner baabbyyyy, lol.
I became an instant celeb. Pictures up and down. People chanting my name, shouts of LOOOLLLAAA, and the crowd going crazy. I did not even know how to take it all in.

Everyone want to take pictures with me, that I finally ran away, went to the hotel, and did not return for two days, which was my next round.

We went to a bar in one of the favelas to have dinner , when we had to climb over 200 steps to get there. Before I got to Brazil, I kept asking why someone would have a restaurant where we had to climb 200 steps, why wasn't there an elevator, etc. When I got there, I found out that it was really on top of those mountains, where they have a separate community, where the lower class live. There is a strong class system in Brazil. And the classes don't mix. It was really eye-opening. More details about this will be put up in another post.

Graffiti art is real in Brazil, especially in Rio, especially in the Favelas

The slums of Brazil. Little did I know I was in for more, two days later.

We started the climb of over 200 steps

The climb continues

Even in slums, there's electricity. Can't say this for Nigeria

Wow, we've come a long way up

... but not yet there

War of the grafittis

Finally there. Graffiti welcome

Another crappy food. They even eat garri mixed with rice, lol

Tried to capture the beautiful city of Rio from
the top of the hilly slum. My iPad didn't do it justice

Mehn, it's past midnight, People were still having fun at the bar, but all I wanted to do is go to bed. I wasn't used to all these night life of eating, smoking, and drinking at bars, common amongst literary artists. Someone should wake me up tomorrow,

Day 4 in Brazil, here I come.

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