It’s commonly said, in this country, that God is Brazilian. We all recognize the beauties of our land, the energy of our people and the magnificence of our culture. On the other hand, we love to complain about the disdainful way our forests are treated, the mischievous way Brazilians sometimes behave, and the carelessness towards our cultural manifestations. I’ve never heard anyone saying this, but, if God is Brazilian, there are some reasons to believe that the Devil might also be. And, if it happens to be true, here are 7 of his possible birthplaces and their respective sins:
Lust: São Paulo
São Paulo is not only the lust capital of Brazil, but it also hosts the most lustful street in the country. Oscar Freire St. – recently elected one of the eight most luxurious streets in the world – has more than two kilometres filled with concept stores of famous and exclusive luxury brands, and is surrounded by a huge number of similar shops selling Dior, Luis Vuitton, Armani and more. As if that wasn’t enough, its neighborhood, called Jardins, also concentrates the biggest amount of luxury escorts in Brazil, with prices ranging up to tens of thousands per night. And Jardins also has some of the most expensive nightclubs in the country. So, when you see a beautiful girl shopping in Jardins for clothes to go out at night, beware: lust might be the link among all these activities…
Gluttony: Rio Branco
Gluttony is an easy sin to measure. Rio Branco has the highest percentage (21,3%) of obese inhabitants among all the capital cities in Brazil, even though it is only the third in the proportion of overweight people. If we were talking about the quality of the food, I’d probably mention Belo Horizonte, and the delicious cheese bread they make, and the sweet milk jam, and… I’m lucky gluttony refers not to what is eaten, but to how much is eaten. And that makes it all much simpler.
Built in the fifties, in less than a century Brasília has grown up to the point where it has, today, the second highest per capita GDP in Brazil. It’s undeniable that greed has played an important role in its evolution. And it’s consensual that the federal capital is also our “greed capital”. “The pursuit of material possessions”, “theft” and “manipulation of authority” are expressions commonly used to define this sin. And reading one single local newspaper is enough to notice all these practices widespread in the city where most of our high-ranked politicians live and work. Remember I said, in the first paragraph, how we love to complain about the the mischievous way Brazilians sometimes behave?
Another sin that’s fairly easy to measure. Maceió is the most violent capital city in Brazil – by far: 111,1 murders per 100 thousand inhabitants. The number is nearly ten times higher than that of São Paulo, the capital most commonly associated with violence, murders, thefts, and other things we don’t really like to talk about.
Envy: Rio de Janeiro
Pick the most beautiful people in the world, and drop them in the most beautiful scenery in the world. Add some heat to the place (or subtract some pieces of apparel from the people, if you want to be more direct), and you have an ecosystem designed to generate envy. Walking down the boardwalks, or strolling in the beaches, will make you bump into the most sculptural bodies you’ve ever seen, a handful of celebrities, and, inevitably, a little bit of envy. Rio concentrates the most famous brazilian celebrities, and it’s not a coincidence that it’s where the majority of our world famous soap operas are produced. If you’ve ever watched any of them, you’ll recongnize that envy also overflows to the Rio portraited on TV: 99% of their plots are driven by a villain that’s madly envious about a good guy or girl.
Pride: Porto Alegre
The most popular beer in Brazil has its leadership threatened by a smaller, locally produced beer in the southernmost state of the country. The national anthem is replaced for the state’s anthem, at the beginning of every official sports event – in fact, gaúchos, the inhabitants of the Rio Grande do Sul state, are probably the only ones that know by heart, and since childhood, their local anthem. Porto Alegre is the Brazilian capital of pride because, put simply, gaúchos are the most prideful people in the country, regarding their costumes, foods and drinks, linguistics traits (portuguese, in the south, has a strong castellano accent) and history. Yes, history: it all began in the middle of the 19th century. Rio Grande do Sul wasn’t born in Brazil, but militarily attached to it after an unsuccessful revolution. What remains from that epoch are the traditions of the people. And their homegrown pride.
Rumour has it that the hard working executive from São Paulo once saw the bare chested guy from Salvador lying in a hammock, resting. The executive asked:
“Boy, did you know that sloth is one of the seven capital sins?”, and the guy from Salvador, without moving a muscle, answered: “And did you know envy is another?”. Well, jokes and stereoypes apart, it is hard to prove that Salvador is the laziest capital in Brazil. And people from there don’t seem to strive to break down the prejudice. If you feel like collecting some data, or doing some field research, please share the results with someone from Salvador, later. And if you can’t find anyone, a good idea is to look in the nearest hammock.