The population of Paraty swells from 35,000 to 100,00 today,  as book enthusiasts overwhelm the town.  The opening ceremony starts at 7pm Brazil time, which is 4 hours behind the UK and Portugal.

Preparations for main tent
Preparations for main tent

The programme went on the Flip website a few days ago and paper copies were available yesterday.   The Portuguese are notorious for not providing information and Brazil seems no better.  It feels like being present but also being in twilight.  There is anticipation in the humid air.

Relaxed preparations for Paraty Festival
Relaxed preparations for Paraty Festival

Buildings are still being painted, exhibitions erected.  There is very little panic given the state of some places although over the constant sound of music there can be heard loud voices asking whats happening, will this be finished in time?

This is the 10th Paraty Literature Festival and to celebrate there are a few extra events, such as a celebration of Jorge Amado, author of Dona Flor and her two husbands.

Today, to open the festival Luis Fernando Verissimo will discuss the value of literature.  Silviano Santiago and Antonio Cicero will also pay tribute to the poet, columnist and short story writer Carlos Drummond de Andrade, ahead of the 110 anniversary of his birth.  They will look at what it meant for Carlos Drummond de Andrade to be considered a modern poet.  He was born in Minas Gerais, part of the gold mining region of Brazil, Paraty being the main port for the export of gold to Portugal.   Biographers suggest that he was haunted by the past and frustrated with the future.  A flavour of his poetry can be seen in The Upside of Things – Aphorisms, p. 893 [3] (CDA) “The bank vault contains only money, it frustrates those who think that wealth will be found there”.   Ignorance, greed and bad faith also elect their political representatives. In: The Upside of Things, p. 181 (CDA)

Winner of five Latin Grammys, Recife-born Lenine is the headline act at Flip 2012’s opening show. He will perform music from his latest tour, “Chão”, in which he plays his latest releases as well as revisiting some of his classic hits. Opening for Lenine and representing Paraty’s traditional celebrations will be Ciranda de Tarituba, which was founded in 1975 and specialises in the region’s rhythms and dances.
As you walk around this small old gold port the contrasts cannot be missed.  Poverty, bad plumbing, precarious electricity cables sit side by side with beauty and character.   The river is fast flowing and the occasional boat is paddled towards the sea.

The colour of Paraty
The colour of Paraty
  Back streets of Paraty

The river in Paraty
The river in Paraty
Out to sea - Paraty
Out to sea – Paraty

In the main square near the Matriz Church a few strange papier mache characters have been set up.  They look like lost souls, in a calm sea.   All have large eyes and big mouths.  I am not sure what they represent, but no doubt all will be explained over the next four days.  Outside of Paraty just a short drive are many waterfalls and beaches so if the festival is too much, no doubt people will escape.

Paraty-outside
Paraty outside on the way to the waterfalls
More strange figures
More strange figures

Papermache figures

Children rehearsing at Paraty
Children rehearsing at Paraty
paraty sign
paraty sign
white waterfall
white waterfall – 7 kms from Paraty