billyburg of the south

28 Mar

Santa Theresa is a bohemian, artist filled community with samba overflowing onto the streets.  Cafes, cozy bars, and art galleries line the cobble stone hills.  But like any other starving artists, the residents of Santa Theresa chose to live dangerously close to some pretty shifty neighborhoods.

During the day time it’s a place to stroll around.  Yesterday I wandered into a book stoor that sits in an old colonial style house.  It offers jazz and samba in the evenings along side some wine and beer.  Pretty nifty stuff.

It’s also pretty close to the historic center, where I wandered into an old middle eastern bizarre and picked up a lebanese falafael.  Ricky took me to an old school food market today as well.  It only meets once a week and its bright food stalls fill the streets to sell everything under the sun.

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At night on the other hand, the sun sets over the flowers, and the presence of the neighboring favela shows itself.

Yesterday I had a conference call with Alex and our consultant and our conversation was continually interrupted by the sound of bullets, machine guns, and gernades.  No joke!

Ricky showed me a few stray bullets that made their way to his porch.  Apparently the police had attempted a raide on the favela a few weeks before my arrival and a helicopter hovering over Ricky’s building drew fire from the drug dealers below.

One night the sound of violence was so loud, and felt so close, that I seriously considered crawling under my bed.

Ricky slept right through it though.  Apparently he’s so used to it that it doesn’t even bother him anymore.  In fact, he can even tell the difference between some types of guns…

Jews and Artists. That’s who manage to locate themselves in areas so usually threatened with violence.  And now broke travellers too!  Hey, I always did want to live in williamsburg.

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