São Paulo? It’s no Suffolk - Monocolumn | Monocle


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9 October 2013

An event I attended over the weekend made me feel like I was in Brazil – the weather, the music, the food – when, in actual fact, I was in the not-so-Brazilian county of Suffolk in the UK.

I went there to visit Flipside, a small branch of Flip, which is possibly the most important literary festival in Brazil. The original Flip happens every year around July in the scenic city of Paraty, located on the coast in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The city is just lovely, full of festivals the whole year round and possessing a certain tranquil atmosphere that makes you want to live there immediately.

I believe founder Liz Calder, a Brit who fell in love with Brazil back in the 1960s, wanted to create the same atmosphere in her own country – and what a good idea it was. I’m pretty sure the event would not be the same if it were held in London. Many couples with their dogs and kids were walking around while others were dancing to the suave beats of forró, a regional Brazilian style of music.

I was completely transported to Brazil via Suffolk. I ate the delicious Brazilian sweets on offer, mainly the almighty brigadeiros: chocolate balls covered with sprinkles. I even spotted two handsome Liverpudlians preparing very authentic Brazilian beef skewers.

One of the talks at the festival was about football. They invited author Alex Bellos, who has written extensively about Brazilian football, to talk about how Brazil is passionate about the sport in a way that no other country can match. We have to thank the British, of course, for introducing the sport to our shores back in 1894. The event also included many other British authors such as Will Self and Ian McEwan, and I was surprised to see how many Brazilophiles there are.

On Sunday I woke up in the morning and went for a stroll on the shore at the nearby beach in Aldeburgh. Even that almost felt like Brazil – except the water was still freezing cold and there were pebbles instead of sand, and my attire involved Timberland boots and a light sweater instead of a pair of swimming trunks.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a researcher for Monocle 24.


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