While we were in Brazil we learned to love the feira (fay – tuh) that came to our street every Thursday. Early Thursday mornings we would awaken to the various sounds of the feira being set up—trucks parking, the pounding of the stands being put together, and boxes of produce being moved from truck to stand. It was such a delight to buy fresh produce from the stands that lined the street. They also had other venders who sold all kinds of goods from CDs to clothing to trinkets and what-have-you. They also had some kind of machine that pressed the juice out of the sugar cane--that was very popular with the people. They also sold fresh fish, pork products, and beef, but we never bought anything like that.
We bought a little shopping cart that rolled along on two wheels and made it very easy for us. We would load it up with such fresh vegetables as green beans, broccoli, radishes, cauliflower, and fresh fruit, like bananas and pineapple. I think I miss the feira the most of anything that we encountered in Brazil.
The feiras are very popular in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where we lived. During the week they would visit different areas of the city, bringing the fresh produce and goods to the people. Along about 1 or 2 o'clock, or sometimes earlier if a vendor sold all out, they would pack up and leave. The street would be littered with all kinds of detritus from the fruits and vegetables. However, when we came home along about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, it was all cleaned away and you would never know they had even been there.
The stand above was maintained by a couple (their picture is just below) who we grew to love. We didn't speak Portuguese with much fluency, but it was enough to let them know we thought a lot of them. One day I found her in tears and learned that her little dog had died that day. I gave her a hug and let her know that I understood that losing a pet is cause for grief. I have lost pets in my lifetime and I know just how heart-wrenching it can be.
This man was always at the feira, sitting on his little box in which he collected donations. He would sometimes play his harmonica. I always gave him a Brazilian dollar, one real. One day as I was walking to the office one day, when a huge truck started backing up. It was moving toward him and I thought that they could see him and would soon stop. However, the truck kept moving, and since he was blind, he had no idea he was in danger. In that moment of extreme anxiety, I shouted at the top of my lungs: "STOP!" Even though it wasn't in Portuguese, I guess the distress in my voice alerted them and they stopped. I don't think he ever realized he was just about to be squashed.