I love Brazil. I love Brazilians and their zest for life. And I love Brazilian parties.
Yesterday Luiz and I went to the 75th birthday party of the husband of a classmate of his. (I said 80 years on Facebook, but that was in error.) Luiz, with his instantly-endearing personality, and his voluptuous colleague Elvira were asked to be Masters of Ceremonies for the party. They sure knew how to work a microphone.
The party was at a salon de festa in Rio and it was a non-stop pleasure extravaganza.
We arrived at 12:30, the stated time the party was to start. So, of course, we were about an hour early… Even the hostess and her husband, the person of honor, were not even there yet. The musicians were doing their sound check and the waiters had not yet moved into working mode. But good for us, we could choose the perfect table (directly in front of a big oscillating fan).
The birthday boy (retired military brass) had asked people not to bring presents, but rather a kilogram of dried foods which he would then donate to a local charity. Nice touch, I thought. (By the end of the evening, the table with the food donations nearly collapsed from the weight of the items brought by his friends.)
So, as is typical for a Brazilian party of this type, the waiters began to serve beer and sodas, plus passed appetizers. I nursed a beer, but I was really holding out for the fine scotch (here referred to as whisky) that was surely to flow once the man himself arrived.
As the room filled with more than 200 people, the guest of honor and his wife arrived. The photographer and videographer got to work. Absolutely every person was greeted, kissed or hugged, and appreciated for being present by the star couple. Live music filled the background.
Before long we enjoyed the first of three performances by a professional dancer and her very cute partner. Beautiful.
Luiz and Elvira, along with the musicians, kept the party on track for a couple hours until it came time to open the buffet.
The food was plentiful and delicious, although I had just a bite or two. The children at our table (we had pulled three tables together) loved the raviolis and cheese sauce.
The prideful couple shared a featured dance and invited everyone to join them on the dance floor. We’re talking real dancing here – none of this hugging with a swaying back and forth from one foot to the other. Dancing.
The scotch was flowing by now…
After another dance performance two totally decked out pastistas came in to the sounds of a pounding samba refrain. We’re talking big, beautiful women wearing only a few strings of clothing and a lot of feathers – shaking their booties! Luiz commented: “There’s nothing like some feathers, some glitter and a naked butt to shake up a party.” The birthday boy paraded around with his two new best friends, taking pictures with all his military buddies.
Much later, after the third dance performance we sang happy birthday, the cake was cut, and finally, take-away party favors were distributed (sweets in beautiful boxes), the signal that it was polite to leave now, if you so desired.
We stayed a bit longer. Luiz and Elvira had their responsibilities with the microphone.
I enjoyed meeting Elvira’s young daughter Adriana, an obstetrician and gynecologist. She had great stories to tell and her iPhone was filled with photos of the many babies she has delivered (she said she delivers one or two every day). Wonderful energy.
Finally we said our goodbyes and thank yous to the hostess and the man of the hour. Great party.
Oh – one more thing - in attendance, sitting at the table next to us, was a 106 year old man. Very sharp. People kept coming to his table and paying respect and offering their admiration. Also, there was a (unrelated) 103 year old woman at the party – who looked 80 (as if I know what that “looks” like). A moment was taken to honor both of these individuals. Very touching.
All in all – what a great party and celebration of life! Viva Brazil!