And Narcissus Blushed -- Brazil's Beauty Spots, Selfiedom's Mecca: Brazilian Briefs on the Looney Front, Part 3

The selfie craze is a worldwide pandemic, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from the North Pole to its southern counterpoint, and never did this become clearer than on a recent visit to two of Brazil's famed sites.
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To rewrite Churchill: 'We shall selfie on the beaches, we shall selfie on the landing grounds, we shall selfie in the fields and in the streets, we shall selfie in the hills; we shall never not selfie...'

The selfie craze is a worldwide pandemic, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from the North Pole to its southern counterpoint, and never did this become clearer than on a recent visit to two of Brazil's famed sites, Fernando de Noronha Island off the vast country's northeast coast, and Chapada Diamantina National Park in the northeastern state of Bahia.


Narcissus would blush, shamed by the extreme paroxysms to which the modern generation has taken his conceit, or by awareness of the massive defeat of his own puny efforts before the hordes of the selfie-stick-wielding hands of humankind's latest evolution.

Compared with today's selfie crazies, Narcissus was a wilting introvert. He just looked at one reflection of himself in a pool, fell in love with it, lost the will to live - and died. Today's looney-bin selfie crazies snap a zillion poses of their idiotic selves per minute - and apparently will continue willfully doing so until the day they die.


Talk about overkill! And all aided and abetted by that narcissistic curse of our age - Facebook.

Now one or perhaps two photos of yourself - OK. It's not my thing, but why not if you want. But this continual snap-snap-snapping of yourself, switching on imbecilic grins, waving at yourself with the hand not holding the selfie stick? And doing it non-stop? I doubt if these crazies have even one shot of a scene without their ugly mugs marring it.

I doubt that they even see a scene like a sunset first hand. On a Fernando de Noronha clifftop by the ruins of an 18th century fort they gather to watch the frigging orb drop into the ocean behind the Two Brothers Rocks.


But all they'll see is its image, since they're already turning their backs on it, grinning maniacally at their cellphones on the end of sticks. Disgusted at the prospect of a horde of turned arses, Mr. Sun covers his final plunge with a bank of clouds.

Boy, has the selfie religion hit here hard and fast. Their enormous selfie sticks could reach the moon - whether overlooking Sancho Beach, the self-proclaimed finest in the world, or using the background of the Two Brothers rocks at Cacimba do Padre Beach, where the world surfing championships took place some years back.




See that tube wave over there worthy of anything Hawaii can produce? Oh, no they haven't. They've got their backs to it, seeing it only on their cellphone screens. If that's what you're doing with live viewing, you just might as well look at a photo of it.

But ah, my friends, zillion-stick selfie-dom does at least have one advantage. You're no longer pestered by people asking you take their photos.


Oops! Not so fast! There's a new craze here - still having your photo taken by someone else since you can't hold your selfie stick anymore because you're holding both arms straight out at the sides like a demented scarecrow - again with your back to the beautiful view of course. A variation on the theme is to twist your cupped hands up like wings. What is it with people these days!



At Chapada Diamantina it's the same parade. In the depths of a cavern, in the translucent waters of Poço Azul (blue pool), in the middle of the Poço, a couple with a waterproof camera atop a selfie stick, is merrily defiling the waters with a zillion idiotic grimaces.



But there's another advantage here, too. When the female half emerges, she's wearing a string bikini revealing the most statuesque of butts. No wonder one of many multi-root sourced aphrodisiacs you can libate in Salvador's model market on the coast is called bunda de baiana - Bahian lady's bum - even if it did no more for me than give me a splitting headache.




In the dark confines of Lapa Doce (sweet grotto), a never-ending complex of caverns, we're all armed with torches, ostensibly to find our way in the pitch dark and shine on the zillions of stalactites and stalagmites. And what are they doing? They're shining the torches on their faces so that they can take idiotically grinning selfies.

It's lunchtime. Now why on earth are people taking selfies of themselves eating???

What brings on all this rant is a visit to Mosquito Waterfall, so called because miners in the 19th century found diamonds the size of small mosquitoes in its waters.


It's in spectacular scenery, a layered yellow and grey rock chasm topped by an explosion of luxuriant green, and these idiots are all holding their waterproof cameras on their selfie sticks and doing imbecilic poses with idiotic turn-on grins and turned up thumbs under the thundering waters.




Again, those who forsake their selfie sticks are only doing so to free both hands so that a friend can film them as they hold both arms straight out in the demented scarecrow pose. At least there are string-kinis here too.




And while I'm ranting there's a second religion here, evident also in many other parts of the world - tattoos. Now why has that lady over there got a whole comic book's worth of cartoon characters in garish colours galumphing across her back.




But back to the selfies. Oh Gawd, there's an idiot with a selfie stick sliding down the so called water toboggan where a river channels down a rock river bed. Fortunately there are more string-kinis to divert the gaze.




A steep rocky climb to the summit of a massive mesa-topped geological tower, and there are spectacular views over emerald valleys separating steep cliff ramparts, and other towering mesas holding up the heavens.

But it's selfie heaven, too.


OK, I can understand how you can smile for other people when you've got them to take your photo for you on your own camera, but how can you suddenly switch on an imbecilic grin for yourself in front of your own camera-holding hand and make silly gestures at it with your other paw - time and time again?


Am I missing something? I give up

[Upcoming blog next Sunday: Back to Animal Planet on the Looney Front - Sea creatures you can see without the need to scuba]

By the same author: Bussing The Amazon: On The Road With The Accidental Journalist, available with free excerpts on Kindle and in print version on Amazon.

Swimming With Fidel: The Toils Of An Accidental Journalist, available on Kindle, with free excerpts here, and in print version on Amazon in the U.S here.