Are you afraid of snakes?

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It’s still early in the morning as I get a message from Henrique, saying ‘Tonight I would like to invite you to come watch my show!’. I realize that the Jiboia snake show starts at 7 in the evening, meaning I have an evening program for today. Great! Finally something different than having a beer and just hanging out at the communal area of the hostel. I am quite curious on how this snake show will be.

A little bit before seven I start walking towards the Jiboia ‘arena’. The entire room is filled with chairs nearly all taken by the spectators and has a bright spotlight on the stage. It seems to be a popular show with this many people. Two young ladies ask me for my ticket and let me know I can have a seat. Luckily for me, there are still some seats left at the front row. I do wonder why is that.

The courage man with his snakes arrives. He carries a massive boa constrictor around his neck and walks up to the stage. Henrique starts explaining to the people that these creatures are not animals that should always be killed as soon as you encounter one. To the contrary, they will already start slithering away from you while you start screaming and intent to call someone to help you in this oh so dangerous situation.

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Cute screaming pandas

The second thing he does is he prepares a video to present to his audience. A cute little panda fills the screen and appears to be eating some bamboo, chewing on it, with his baby sleeping in front of him. Henrique pauses the video and asks his audience what they think they just saw. Everyone uses the term ‘cute’ to discribe what they just saw – which annoys Henrique. He presses play again and the video continues. In the video, out of the blue the baby panda turns around in its sleep and mama panda starts screaming like a pig. Henrique asks the same questions to his audience, but this time he starts a discussion, ‘Cute? Why would a creature that just sits on his but eating bamboo all day, which then also screams like an idiot when his baby moves, be cute? This isn’t cute!’. Henrique asks his audience again to tell him what they think and to not use the word cute, but people then say it’s a pretty animal. He explains that panda’s might be beautiful and that he really doesn’t have anything against them, but that it bothers him that people try to save an animal that is of no use to the ecosystem, while animals that do help mother nature get a bad reputation – such as the snake.

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It’s all in Portuguese?

I have heard people warning me about the presentation, “it will all be in Portuguese, while he even speaks perfect English”. Well, my opinion is that if you are in Brazil and you enjoy meeting local people and seeing the true culture of a land then you probably learned some Portuguese and are interested in practicing your new language skills. I followed a quick Portuguese course before my trip and tried to speak Portuguese with every Brazilian I met as I arrived in the country. That way I could cope if someone did not speak English and show some respect to the locals. I probably did not understand the entire Jiboia show, but since Henrique speaks very clearly and loud and is not a monotone speaker – in contrary, he is very humorous – I understood quite a lot of the show and had a great time. Of course, if you find it difficult to watch a show in a foreign language you can always ask for a special group presentation in English and I am sure the snake man will be more than prepared to arrange this for you.

A brave photo

At the end of the show there is a chance to take a picture with the snake around your neck. A chance I said? I mean, you will do it! This is your opportunity to concur the fear you ‘had’ for snakes!

Personally, I love any animal and I enjoy learning more about snakes. As a kid I used to go to a animal shelter for snakes very often to just watch them as it intrigued me and now I got the chance to hold a boa again!

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Details & information

Tour: Projeto Jiboia
Cost: R$ 35,00, which is more or less €12,-
Note: Every evening you can go watch this Bonito snake stand up show where you get two hours of laughter combined with education on snakes.

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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