(Carol from Rio de Janeiro)
Most traffic lights in Rio count with the presence of all sorts of street "service providers" -- candy, home and office supplies sellers, windshield washers -- apart from beggars. We commonly see youngsters offering entertainment in the form of juggling, some very elaborate including human towers and clubs on fire.
With time, we simply filter them out of our sight.
But at this totally secondary, brief traffic light where the bus stopped, my eye caught the image of a young boy, probably around 8, attempting a very basic juggling act with three tennis balls. With the typically Brazilian dark skin, skinny, very short hair dyed light blond, wearing shorts and a t-shirt that were way too big for him, his height was barely that of the first car's windshield. Very serious and focused, after just a few seconds he dropped one of the balls.
"Why would anyone bother to pay for that?" was the thought that crossed my mind.
After retrieving the dropped ball, he stood in front of the first car and made a very reverent, circus-like bow.
Then, with both hands, he pulled his t-shirt up to his chest, displaying his thin torso, and slowly made a full turn, making it clear to his spectacular audience -- one person in the front car -- that he was not carrying any weapons. Then he proceeded to the side of the car to ask for a reward for his act.
Somehow, this scene sums up my feelings about this city.