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Brazil: Let's Go Fly a Kite!

By Mark Taylor
Mary Poppins would be very impressed with Brazilians due to their love of kite flying. It's not unusual to see anyone from the age of 5 to 95 hogging a small patch of green somewhere here in Sao Paulo, even surrounded by 5 lane highways with trucks thundering by. Yet the kite flyer is blissfully unaware and often flying a small homemade kite. At other times you can spot several people all flying kites from a similar patch of land in "crowded airspace". It's also not unusual to see both teenage and young men flying a kite.

I've seen several lost kites fly over our house, here in the East of Sao Paulo, and managed to catch one or two (our dog often joins in and "helps"). Many of the overhead cables festooned around Brazilian towns and cities are often trailing the sorry remains of a kite, typically just the "bones" and tail. A competition using kites involves trying to snag your opponent's string with your own kite, with the aim of breaking it. If you do this, and can catch the runaway kite, then you get to keep it. People go to various lengths to enhance their chances of winning, such as gluing glass dust onto the string to enhance its cutting power. The only downside to this is if said glass encrusted string from an escaped kite is left strung across a road. Understandably it can prove extremely dangerous for the many Motoboys who zip their way around.

Kites here are typically home made, and the ingredients for them can often be spotted for sale; wooden rods and some coloured tissue paper. Designs typically involve flags from various countries (a Greek flag was one of those that landed in our backyard) as well as the ever popular football team. A technique to get the kite in the air involves tugging repeatedly on the string to gain lift, so you can often spot folks furiously pulling at the string to get their kite high in the sky.

Curiously the polyester stunt kites and larger foil kites that can be found in Europe and the USA aren't so popular here, but the price tag may well be something to do with it. Of course kite surfing and boarding is starting to gain in popularity here, particularly surfing which is a recent development in the surfing world. This requires some seriously kites though, and I often wonder how they don't end up getting dragged across half the beach. Accidents are not uncommon with kite surfing, including encounters with walls at high velocity, so care needs to be taken.

So if you've not tried it yet, buy or better build yourself a kite and see if you can understand why the Brazilians enjoy it so much.

Previous articles by Mark Taylor:

Brazil... the Film That Is
Brazil: The Bus to Nowhere
Brazil: Piracy
Brazil: Gestures
Brazil: Proclamation of the Republic
Brazilian Film Review
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Finados (Day of the Dead)
Interjections, exclamations and onomatopoeia in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazil: Halloween
Brazil says "No" to banning firearms
Brazil Humour: Phone Etiquette
Brazil's Gun Referendum
Brazil: Scams
Brazil: Moby Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet - Part 5
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet - Part 4
Brazil: Avril Lavigne at Pacaembu
Moby in Brazil
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet - Part 3
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet - Part 2
Brazilian Film Review
Brazil: Keeping in touch via the Internet - Part 1
Brazil: First season of Lost repeated on AXN

1/1/2006


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