March 11, 2007
On Sundays in Olinda, everyone goes to the top of the big hill to watch the sunset and to have a big party. The people I met the other night went with me and had some more African food, checked out yet another church, and looked at all the hippie handicrafts for sale. But the highlight of the evening was the spontaneous Capoeira show that broke out in the streets. Capoeira was originally a martial art designed as a way for the Brazilian slaves to fight and escape from their masters. The government quickly made this illegal, but it was still widely practiced. Eventually, Capoeria was transformed into a dance of sorts, and it is very popular in this part of Brazil today. The show tonight started with a bunch of people standing around a big circle in the street. Two guys entered the ring, usually doing back flips, cartwheels, or some other acrobatic moves. Then they did a series of roundhouse kicks, barely missing each other every time. After a minute or so, they left the ring and two new performers entered. The entire time, people played drums and berimbaus and sang songs about how cool Capoeira is. After watching the performance for a few minutes, I couldn't disagree.