whistlestop caboose

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Souvenirs and memory: Brazilian earring color wheel

Part of the series: souvenir and memory.

Before visiting Argentina in 2002 I had a week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where the rich perfume and brightness of the flowers and the gaily dressed people charmed me but the poverty and fear of crime were too pervasive to enjoy the city as much as I had expected. My first night I woke very early because of the time difference from Europe. I stepped out onto my hotel balcony and let my eyes adjust to the darkness. A few stories below me was a campfire in the middle of an empty lot. Around it were two mangy dogs and several children - street children - slumped against each other for the night. One stood watch, teasing one of the dogs. I had read about the extraordinary number of homeless children in Brazil's cities but somehow I had never imagined them around a campfire next to a fenced-in highrise hotel.

At the end of the week I had time and a few Brazilian coins left when I arrived at the airport, so I bought souvenirs, including a wall hanging made by street children, that brightens my office wall. Down to my last small coins I counted just enough to buy these earrings, inexpensive little circles that capture all the color and brightness and beauty, as well as the complex patterns of that corner of Brazil, at that time. When I wear them I brighten my day but I also think of those children.


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