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Christina Daniels

A Woman's Place...

Posted from: Maraba

Nothing like lunch with a cowboy to take women's lib back a few centuries...

We had a 10-hour drive ahead of us - along the Transamazonica, a 2,300 km long dirt road that stretches between Amazonas and Para state. It was meant to have been paved but like many ambitious constructions in Brazil, investment abruptly came to a stop and things have just remained as they were for the past 36 years.

We were driving from Altamira to Maraba, having just spent a week filming on a cattle ranch in Altamira. The cowboys were great, and really made us feel welcome. There was also a beef buyer there with them, Minero, who coincidentally lives halfway between Altamira and Maraba. He invited us to his house for lunch - perfect to cut up our long journey.

After a six-hour drive along roads so bumpy our CD player skipped constantly over the same song, we arrived at Minero's house. We had a huge welcome from the whole family - sisters, cousins, mum, friends, kids and pets. It's always great to spend time at someone's house with their family after so long filming and eating in restaurants. I was looking forward to lunch.

Everyone gathered round the table. I thought it was odd that all the women were standing around, and not sitting down to eat. They were pottering around, doing this and that in the kitchen, but the long wooden table laden with food was untouched. No sign from the women to sit down and eat.

The crew sat down (all guys). Minero sat down. There was one place left, next to Minero, who sat at the head of the table. I took my plate and was about to sit down. "Why don't you go sit in the other room with the women, you'll feel more comfortable there," he suddenly said. That's when I realised that that was how things were done there - the men sat around talking business, the women sat elsewhere. I felt like I was going back in time! I took my plate, and sat down with the men.

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