Brazilian Passion

Today I was standing in line at the Carrefour waiting to purchase my bottles of Itubaina (see Brazilian Challenge Day 67: Itubaina) when an older woman headed toward the end of the line, late 60’s to early 70’s, approached a man ahead of me in line, late 50’s. Sure, she was talking to him rather loudly and passionately, but Brazilians often speak loudly and passionately when describing how they like to take their coffee. So I didn’t think much of it. Until she slapped him. Shocking right? You might think that was going to be the top shocker of the day. Until he WHACKED her across the face in response.

I kid you not.

So people started to shout, including me. But when she continued to yell at him, and he pulled back both his fists in a move to slug her, I jumped ahead in line to approach him. My Portuguese vocabulary is not equipped to handle this situation, so all I could really say was “não faz esse” or “do not do this.” He stopped and the woman was ushered to the back of the line. Angry, I continued to scold him in nonsensical Portuguese about how men shouldn’t hit women. He tried to make his case, but I didn’t understand nor was willing to listen. (Though now, I’m kind of curious to know what caused this scene. Based on what I did understand, it was not over the last box of pão de quiejo mix, definitely something that occurred outside the Carrefour.)

Ok, yes, she slapped him. She shouldn’t have done that. But he hit her hard and then intended to beat her. And neither appeared to be of gangster origins. They both looked like upper middle class citizens. I know the Brazilian are passionate people, but…Whoa. Where was security, one might ask? I have no idea.

I’d never seen this happen in the U.S., although I’m absolutely certain it has. I just wonder what the crowd reaction would be. There wasn’t much movement in the crowd at the Carrefour, just a few outbursts and a lot of looking around at each other.

To top off my morning, after I left the store and rounded the corner onto the sidewalk, a man in a blanket jumped in my path and pulled out his rather large “equipment” and began to “operate” it quite vigorously.

I think I’ll be staying home the rest of the day today.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /

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17 Responses to Brazilian Passion

  1. Pedro says:


    a mais de 30 anos no brasil e nunca vi nada igual lol

  2. megalagom says:

    Wow! Crazy day! Very brave if you to step in, especially being that you are not from there and don’t know the language too well. As for the other occurrence…uhm ew. Indoors sounds like a good option lol

    • I know, kind of stupid. But I looked around and no one else appeared to be ready to stop him. I guess I think I have a super American shield or something.
      Yes, total ew on the other incident.

  3. Peg says:

    What a day! I hope tomorrow is much more calm, lol. I’m glad people stopped him (including you, that was brave).
    Yesterday I saw a young couple arguing on the beach and the guy kept forcefully grabbing her chin to make her look at him. The beach was not crowded and they were pretty isolated but I wondered what I would do if he actually hit her. He was really intimidating and she was crying. I was very relieved when he got up and stomped off.

    • Scary, right? Today I had a bunch of witnesses around if the guy decided to take it out on me (although I suspected anyone who hits an old woman is a bit of a coward). But on an isolated beach? What do you do?? Glad it worked itself out… for the moment.

  4. Eeeek! Why do people think it’s OK to hit? It’s definitely a world-wide problem. My dad told me “If you hit somebody, you have to expect to get hit back.” Keep your hands to yourself is a good life instruction, isn’t it?

  5. nina says:

    you should have given yourself a Brazilian challenge for this one. Although the man in a blanket happened to my family on christmas eve, in a small rural city. The guy came to my grandma’s door in a trench coat and when my family in group gathered around the door to greet the christmas guest he was doing what your blanket man was doing.

    However, fighting DOES happen often. Rachelstopped some man beating another man in the streets of RIO. I stopped a woman beating her child. I think it’s because police rarely do their actual function. So people don’t think about punishment. I was in a neighborhood going for a walk when a mother was beating her child and all the neighbors were just watching and looking at each other. I walked up to her and told her that I was going to call the police if she didn’t stop and I told her I wasn’t leaving anytime soon. So if she thought she could just start beating him again in five minutes she had another thing coming and if I ever saw her do that again, I was just going to call the police.

    She did stop. But she told me that she wasn’t going to jail. And that next she was going to hit her child harder and more. Then called her five year old son every swear word in the book in front of me.

    I saw a boyfriend and girlfriend fighting in front of the police station once. The woman was hitting the man, she hit him life five times and then ran into the police station to tell the police to arrest him???? Didn’t stick around for that one, I was changing my plates on my car and wanted outta there.

    • Oh my goodness. If the police aren’t going to fight crime anyway, makes you want to grab that child and run.
      That must be the explanation… that people don’t fear getting in trouble. I literally couldn’t believe that it was happening in front of me and no one was interfering! It is very scary.

      • nina says:

        The legal system is really broken here, practically has no function. So where’s the risk/reward system. You won’t see it. Even in areas that do, many Brazilian people don’t care. People drive like crazy insane monsters in my city. And you usually have to drop 2,000 heals in an accident, people don’t care. They don’t care. It’s beyond me, most people don’t even use car insurance or have a license or documents and drive like jerks.

  6. Alex says:

    That’s upsetting, really. I’m glad no one got really hurt.

    One time, at a restaurant here, for no reason, one of the waiters was taking the order from a table, when this huge guy got out of the booth and punched the waiter so hard right in the face that he was instantly unconscious and on the floor. And the ambulance took like 40 minutes to get there, so everyone was eating in the restaurant with this half dead guy on the floor. I wonder what happened to him….

    It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!

  7. anna says:
    he is an american journalist spending carnival in brazil w 2 american friends
    he wrote:
    “É fascinante”, disse o Jon. “A grande maioria das pessoas tem entre 15 e 30 anos e estão muito bêbados, há pouca presença policial nas ruas, mas não vimos nenhuma briga.” Quando ele sai em Boston, onde mora, quando há bebidas e jovens, sempre têm brigas. Adam também ficou mais do que surpreso: a falta de violência acabou com uma convicção firme. “Sempre associei o álcool com a testosterona – quanto mais bebe, mais o desejo de ser masculino e brigar. Mas isto refuta minha teoria.”

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