Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Face Painting in Brazil
I just got back from a 2-week trip to Brazil. Brazil! Yay! I'd been hired to paint faces on board a cruise ship (sometimes life is so tough!) and wowza.. I may just have to do that again.
It was a 7-night cruise that left out of Sao Paolo and stopped at a whole bunch of cities, islands and beaches. I painted a couple hours each day while the ship was at sea, and got to go ashore and explore during the days (and, of course, get into all sorts of mischief).
Painting the kids was honestly one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was a bit challenging since almost all the kids only spoke Portuguese.. living in California I can mostly make myself understood in Spanish, but Portuguese was a bit beyond my reach! Still, kids are kids. For the most part they knew what they wanted and persisted in chattering away at me until I "got it." And now I know a dozen words in Portuguese (real useful stuff like "rainbow" and "pirate" and "close your eyes" and "glitter"). Excellent.
One night it was "pirate night" and I must have painted 25 kids like pirates. That was all kinds of fun. There were pirate flags to color and a pirate parade through the dining room. The thing that struck me, though, was the difference in stereotypical Pirate looks and behavior. When I was growing up, Pirates were English and had furry beards and talking parrots and hooks on their hands. But sitting there, painting kids who were chattering to me in Portuguese made me realize how these Brazilian kids' pirate culture stems from different legendary Pirates! No Sir Francis Drake and Captain Hook for these kids. They grew up on tales of Bartolomeo and Manuel Pardal Rivero. The Portuguese have always been on the other side of the Line of Demarcation from the side I consider "home". It was fascinating to see how, throughout the course of the night, my pirate faces started to look considerably different from the way I do them here in the US (go, curly mustaches!)
It was also loads of fun to find myself in the theater or at dinner and see my little friends running around in paint all evening and all over the ship. At home I don't usually get to see my work more than a few minutes after I paint it.. it was interesting to see how stuff "wore" on the kids.
After the cruise ended, we spent a week in Rio de Janeiro doing the tourist thing.. which in my case means exploring and rock climbing and playing on the beach with my light-up hula hoop. Unfortunately, Rio was rainy and flooded.. NOT the way Rio is supposed to be!!! I wanted sunshine and beaches and caphirinas, and to watch gorgeous Brazilians play beach volleyball! Instead I got a good umbrella and an intimate knowledge of the local internet cafe. Sigh.
It did clear up (more or less) eventually, and I got my rock climbing and my hula hooping in, but missed out on the rain forest (closed due to flooding and roads washed out) and didn't get to soak up much of that Copacabana sunshine. Oh well. I'll just have to go back again, I guess. :)