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L. ice cream seller adapts to life in the world of COVID-19

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L. ice cream seller adapts to life in the world of COVID-19

For the past 16 years, Mauro Rios Parra has driven his bicycle to a warehouse on Washington Boulevard to start his day as paletero. And every day for 16 years, he filled the same stroller with more than 300 ice cream and fruit bars, or paletas: coconut, tamarindo, pineapple, hibiscus, coffee, lemon, sapote mamey, nance and personal favorites, vanilla and strawberry.

Then there are ice cream cups and sandwiches, Choco Tacos, Tweedy and Spider-Man, and the Ninja Turtle bar with stupid eyes.

Under the recent cloudy morning sky, Rios, 63, holds the door of Barahona Ice Cream in Pico-Union wide open. Into the warehouse workers moved a giant blue chest filled with dry ice and dozens of frozen boxed foods.

Pico-Union is his home and region. Located a few miles west of downtown, this is one of the poorest and most populous neighborhoods in Los Angeles, with around 45,000 people squeezed into 1.67 square miles.

Considering physical distance is one of the best protections against the corona virus, it is also one of the hardest hit by a highly contagious disease.

Rios set up his ice cream cart at Barahona Ice Cream in Pico Union.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

LA. is a city of street vendors. Hot dogs wrapped in meat, mulitas, freshly sliced ​​fruit, raspado and boiled corn are just a few of the delicious delicacies they sell. But valuable and ubiquitous, street vendors like Rios are also one of the most vulnerable populations in the food community. They are being abused, and many live in the country illegally. COVID-19 has added other stressors to their livelihoods.

Thank you, please help, “Manager Norma Barahona pushed the people who pushed the ice box into a simple, musty warehouse. “Please, wear your mask.” Framed photos of La Virgen de Guadalupe hung on the wall. Likewise, reminders of diseases lurk all about. “Keep your distance,” said one sign in English and Spanish.

Rios unpacked the milk crates filled with ice cream that bears his name. He reached deep into his cart and folded each sweet paleta and cold dessert in the appropriate place.

Señor, por qué esta tan callado? Tiene miedo o qué? “Oscar Samano, a colleague paletero, asked Rios, who was focused. “Sir, why are you so quiet? Are you afraid or not?” He quipped. “How much do they pay you to keep your mouth shut?”

Oscar Samano, right, hugged Rios inside Barahona Ice Cream.

Oscar Samano, right, hugged Rios inside Barahona Ice Cream.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Rios is silent.

On ordinary days, he would quip back to Samano, a tall, well-built man who proudly called himself “the soul of this place” and cheerfully dubbed Rios in other parts.

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“I don’t want to hear you call me ‘my love,’ later,” Samano warned Rios, who responded “mi cielo, “my heaven. They laughed.

At 11:40 a.m., Rios is ready. Wearing a black mask covering his mustache made of salt and pepper, he closed the lid of the wagon, held the handlebars firmly and pushed him down the aisle and out of the warehouse, which stood between the church and the locksmith.

Rios rang the bells of his ice cream cart during his trip to Pico Union.

Rios rang the bells of his ice cream cart during his trip to Pico Union.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

West Washington Boulevard begins to wake up. A few steps down, people carry shopping bags from La Campanita Meat Market.

For the next seven hours, Rios will walk more than seven miles uphill, crossing the streets and passing empty schools satisfying the sweating teeth of the mass of L.A. The jingling of the bell marked the path.

He likes to make people smile, he said.

At present, this is a far more difficult task.

**

Rios came to the U.S. in 2002. He had worked at a brewery in Oaxaca, Mexico, pocketing a little money. He struggled to support his wife and three children.

Then he made a difficult decision.

Rios crossed the road at the end of his day.

Rios crossed the road at the end of his day.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

“I will leave so you can have a better life,” Rios told his children before heading north to find work that would pay more. “Learn as much as possible. Forward in life. ”

He did not want them to suffer the extreme poverty he and his family had experienced in his hometown San José Chiltepec. At the age of 13 his father died, and Rios quit school to work. Every day, from sunrise to sunset, he grows chili, corn, beans, rice, and more.

“My life is nothing but a work since then,” he said in Spanish.

His mind changed, he sold his house in Oaxaca to pay for smugglers and walked across the desert with about 70 others. His family moved with relatives.

Rios rested in the shade during his route.

Rios rested in the shade during his route.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Three people died of dehydration along the way. More than a week later, Rios arrived in Phoenix, went to Tampa, Florida, and found benches to build work on. He shares a small house with 12 other immigrants. But one night the police stormed into their home while everyone slept.

He was locked up in a detention center for a month before being deported. Two years later, he walked across the border again and arrived in Los Angeles.

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“I took the risk a second time out of necessity,” Rios said. Despite working seven days a week in Mexico, there is never enough money. “I am back [to the U.S.] for my children. “At least three times a day, he talks to his grown children and Reyna Regina Martinez Hernandez,” his love for 35 years. ”

He hasn’t seen his family in 16 years.

**

Rios pushed his cart to South Berendo Street which tended to residential areas, greeting those he met. “Buenas“He said cheerfully to a man passing by. Friendliness and communication are key in this field of work. If you want to sell paletas, you have to do it while smiling. Respect and time are also important.

Rios rested for a moment to drink Powerade.

Rios rested for a moment to drink Powerade.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

His first stop was a construction site at Loyola High School on Venice Boulevard. Rios curled his stroller over the green fence, where a large machine dug the ground from the ground. He rang the bell obediently, but the sound of a hammer drowned his jingle. A few minutes later, four workers with hard hats and safety vests made their first purchase of the day.

Rios then rolled his cart half a mile to the Normandie Recreation Center. A young couple sipping coffee at the picnic table. People play basketball on the field. One man does push-ups nearby while another kicks the ball on the fence. The children chase each other in the newly opened playground. Two old ladies standing guard.

Column One

A showcase for interesting storytelling
from the Los Angeles Times.

He rang the bell. Nothing is approaching.

Becomes paletero quite difficult in normal time. But during the pandemic, with parks and schools closed and people afraid of leaving their homes, many of its customers have disappeared. “Sales have plummeted,” he said.

His income, which is usually $ 180 to $ 250, drops to $ 120 or less. But Rios is not afraid of viruses.

“Only God knows what he is doing with us and what will and will not happen to us,” he said. “All we can do is look after and protect ourselves.”

**

Wherever Rios went, he saw how the city had changed since the pandemic began.

Rios sells paletas to children in apartment complexes.

Rios sells paletas to children in apartment complexes.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Bars along Pico Boulevard are equipped with plywood. The restaurant only emphasizes delivery and takeout. Church closed. The bakery and salon warn customers: “No masks, no services.” But Rios knows where to look for customers: the bustling Pico-Union apartment complex.

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On Pico Boulevard and Normandie Avenue, a man ran across the street to approach Rios. “Do you have paletas de tamarindo? “He asked. Only a few days before, he felt sick, and Rios asked how he was doing. Rios reaches into the wagon and gives him paleta, free. This is an act of kindness that is often done by a man without money.

Outside a block of ordinary houses far away, Rios rang the bell and waited. Shut up

Elizabeth Sanchez, left, 5, and Mia Estrada, 6, eat ice cream in their apartment complex.

Elizabeth Sanchez, left, 5, and Mia Estrada, 6, eat ice cream in their apartment complex.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

“I’m leaving! I’m leaving!” Rios warned a few minutes later. Still there are no sales. A woman riding a bicycle passed by and shouted in Spanish: “How much paletas?“He didn’t stop.

When Rios walked to the parking lot of another apartment complex, the bell immediately attracted customers. The man ordered coconuts, madam and tamarindo paletas“And one of them,” he said, pointing to a crazy drumstick. “Thank you very much“Rios jingled again.

A woman with a red apron and flip-flops walked out of her apartment and ordered a stupid Powerpuff Girl ice cream. He picked it up and shouted in Spanish to a little girl hiding behind a closed door: “See, this?”

Rios sells paletas in an apartment complex on South Normandie Avenue.

Rios sells paletas in an apartment complex on South Normandie Avenue.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Eulalia Vargas doesn’t know what her granddaughter Mia Estrada wants, 6 years old. He ordered three sticks to be safe. A few minutes later, Vargas reappeared with Mia in hand. “He doesn’t like all this!” he tells Rios, his eyes crinkly in amusement. Ice cream sandwich is what he wanted all this time.

Sin esto no se vende“He said, pointing to the bell. “Es muy importante.“” Without this, you do not sell. They are very important. “The bells of the two bells fell some time ago, but Rios replaced them with a pair of small keys and metal keys.

Throughout the day, young and old people chase bells. He walked for miles every day, often in the hot sun. But he loves his job. “It’s very fun and disturbing … and I’m happy to do what I do,” he said.

Mauro Rios Parra moves his cart near the construction site where workers sometimes buy paletas.

Rios places his cart near the construction site.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Foreigners and customers still treat them well. But it is dangerous work, he said. Twice he was robbed, and he fended off three other attempts. He learned to hide his income in various places.

And he adopted this philosophy: “Befriend such people so that they are not your enemies.”

At 3 pm, Rios had made 26 sales, most of his apartment visit. But he has more space. He checked his watch. Within 30 minutes, construction site workers will end their shift. He leads their way.

**

Four hours later, Rios returned to the warehouse. He emptied his stroller from desserts he didn’t sell.

He put $ 80 in his pocket, said goodbye to his colleagues, and pedaled his street bike to the road. The sky is Orange Creamsicle.

The sacrifice is beneficial. His children are learning as much as possible. One of them is a doctor; both are lawyers. In two years, Rios plans to return to Oaxaca. This time, he hopes to stay. He wants to have a garden and a chicken coop. He wants to open his own business, selling roast pork, Cuban style.

He will not be paletero again. But he will be with his family.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets Ptix.bm For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS ‘There will be room’

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CRISTANO RONALDO CAN MAKE UP A GIANT IN CARIOCA AND PORTUGUESE TECHNICIAN SAYS 'There will be room'

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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