Saturday, August 23, 2008

Brazil Okinawan Festival

We head to another location to have lunch and participate in a parade. I'm gazing out the window of the bus, still in a blue funk about the disappointment of this trip, when we drive up to a large park that is just bustling with people and energy. yay!

This is an amazing festival grounds - Picture an enormous park that has a HUGE open tent with a full sized stage in front, ringed with food booths with stands facing the tent.

They take the group to a house across the street with more sushi and yakitori!!! Must be the same caterers. AUGHH! I can't believe people are eating this food when there's a fantastic festival grounds waiting outside to be explored! I leave with the warning that we are supposed to participate in a parade at 4 pm (which Clarence & I end up missing because it really started at 3:30 pm!!).
Hands down, the Okinawan Festival in Brazil was my favorite event (even though I could not find freshly made, hot andagi). I think we are conditioned from the Hawaii Okinawan Festival to crave andagi. Festival = Andagi. I went looking all over but found only some pre-made, pre-packaged and cake-like andagi.

I consoled myself with some scrumptious chicken and cream cheese pasteis (pastel). Eating my way through the festival, the only regret I had was the yagijiru or goat soup, which no amount of mizuna and ginger could make palatable.

Travel is about experiencing local culture. For me, it was drinking maté with the bus drivers, catching the subway, learning the songs, eating local food and exploring the streets.

The Okinawan Festival was the first chance I could really interact with locals. When we were watching the parade, some of them heard us speaking English and struck up a conversation. The lady insisted that we had to stay and listen to her kid’s band, Tontonmi, which would perform later that night. We explained that our bus would be leaving soon.

She was insistent, even calling over her nephew Eduardo Oshiro, who was volunteering as an interpreter, to convince us to stay.

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