picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

A week from today I’ll be in Brasil, sitting in [livejournal.com profile] marianaseixas’ living room, drinking and chatting to friends. My suitcase will be in her guestroom, packed with wrapped gifts for my family and friends.

A week from today I’ll be in T-shirt and shorts, toes cased in flip-flops. I’ll try not to worry about the guesthouse, financial problems, the year ahead.

A week from today I’ll eat pastéis, cheese bread, and toasted French bread with butter, straight from the baker’s.

A week from today I’ll take São Paulo’s subway into the city’s centre, enter a bookshop and disappear in literature.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
Feiticeira Waterfall, Iha Grande

It was my birthday two weeks ago. By coincidence, a friend from the UK, [livejournal.com profile] neenaw, happened to be visiting my boyfriend and I in Brasil. She spent a few days with us at the guesthouse before we traveled together to an island in the state of Rio de Janeiro.  We ended our trip with a wander around São Paulo and a good amount of caipirinhas and beers.

I REALLY needed to get out and let my hair down.  It wasn't long enough (I needed at least two weeks on the beach to properly loosen up) but I'm not complaining - I'm currently taking anything remotely positive that comes my way.

[livejournal.com profile] neenaw wrote five LJ entries about her trip to Brasil - here they are:

Part 1
She arrives in Brasil and discovers that there are hills everywhere, people eat strange things and parrots are hard to come by.

Part 2
We spend the day in a nearby town, Cambuí, drinking beer at a gas station and riding perulous buses.

Part 3
We travel by bus to Angra dos Reis, take a boat trip to Ilha Grande, make friends with a smart dog called Zé and drink cornershop beer while watching the X Factor on a laptop.

Part 4
My friend gets attacked by the island's mosquitoes, some sunbathing is done and an overnight bus is taken to São Paulo (where a suitcase falls on someone's head.)

Part 5 - The End
Visit to an art exhibition in a disused hospital, beer, caipirinhas and more caipirinhas.  Oh, and a terrible hangover.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
From [livejournal.com profile] sushidog:

You have a time machine, in which you can make three (and only three) trips. You may use one trip to change something in your own past, one trip to witness a past event, and one trip to change the world. No cheating, any attempts to game the system will dump you in a primaeval swamp with no way back to the future. What do you do with your three trips?

My first trip would be to São Paulo, 1982, September - the month my youngest brother Nicholas was born.  I'd try to stop my parents from giving him the vaccine for whooping cough - the vaccine that gave him a brain lesion and made him a fully disabled person for the rest of his life.  I've always wondered how Nicholas would have turned out if he'd been "normal".  What kind of person would he have become? What kind of profession would he have followed?  And how would that have affected us as a family?

The second trip would be the hardest for me to choose.  Would I travel to The Smiths' first gig? Margaret Atwood's first public reading in a Toronto poetry evening? The arrival of Europeans in the Americas? (Wouldn't it freak them out if they saw me there, standing on the beach beside the natives?) Or perhaps I'd visit one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I'd probably just let the time machine decide for me.

For my third trip, I'd try to stop Archduke Franz Ferdinand from getting killed.  In theory, that would stop World War I happening as we know it (though maybe war was inevitable?), and consequently Hitler wouldn't have gained the ground to take power, World War II wouldn't have happened, etc.  But, knowing we humans, something as equally as terrible would have taken place and we'd still be in a mess today...
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

When I can, I try to go for walks in the morning, after preparing breakfast for our guests. Sometimes I listen to an iTunes playlist on shuffle, sometimes a podcast ("The Sound in My Head", "Expanding Mind", "The New Yorker Fiction Podcast"). Today, I listened to a lecture by Mary Beard on "The Public Voice of Women" given to a London Review of Books audience. I think the lecture may have been given at the British Library.

My brother's German Shepherd Lelo likes to accompany me on these walks.  Six laps in total, equivalent to 4.800 metres. I enjoy Lelo's company but today I decided to sneak out and avoid him: he barks and runs after any motorbike, nearly knocking off the riders. I don't want to be there when he causes an accident. He's also got a thing against chickens and cats.

So I walked on my own, freezing slightly even though it was sunny, picturing myself in that British Library auditorium. Temperatures have dropped these last few days, reminding me of what a friend from São Paulo recently said: Winter is much worse than Summer in Brasil; we don't know how to cope with it.

I walked past tractors and builders working on a construction site, a mechanic's shop, stray dogs, horses, cows, birds picking over scattered corn. I walked past other walkers and to some I said "good morning".  I walked past our gardener collecting this morning's milk, my great uncle having a chat with my mom's cousin.  I walked past one of my mom's god-daughters having a loud conversation with her family and, finally, I walked past our guesthouse, six times.

Again, I'm amazed that I suddenly find myself living in a small town in Brasil, when only a few months ago I lived in London.  12 years in the UK's capital suddenly brought to an end... a temporary one I hope. When I first started listening to Mary Beard's lecture, I thought it might remind me too much of my London life and, consequently, depress me for the rest of the day.  But its effect was actually the opposite: I forgot the world around me and paid attention to her descriptions of antiquity and works of western civilization art. I became engrossed in her arguments. I even carried on listening to the lecture as I showered afterwards.

"What was that music you were listening to?" one of our employees asked me later. "Did you not hear me call you?"
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
Passei dois dias em Gonçalves, MG, na semana passada.  Visitei amigos que tem uma casa linda à 1km da cidade, com uma sacada enorme e ensolarada, rodeada de árvores e montanhas, e uma biblioteca dentro de uma greenhouse, perfeita para aqueles dias de inverno típicos da Serra da Mantiqueira.

Esses amigos me levaram para conhecer algumas pousadas para pegar idéias para o da minha família, e alguns artesões da cidade (marçineiros, escultores).  À noite, satisfiz um de meus sonhos: assistir um bom filme numa telona LED, deitado num sofá (embaixo de um cobertor), com uma lareira acesa. Só faltou um cachorrinho aos meus pés. Não resisti e caí no sono no meio de Orson Welles' O Terceiro Homem.

No Domingo, peguei carona com esses amigos para São Paulo: meu Macbook estava finalmente pronto depois de dois mêses de concerto na representante oficial da Apple. Cervejinhas pelo Minhocão, skatistas na Praça Roosevelt, seres excêntricos da noite... sempre um prazer visitar São Paulo.

Segunda-feira, 5 da manhã, a cidade acordou dentro do meu quarto no vigésimo e tantos andar - parecia que uma britadeira estava ao lado do meu travesseiro. Café da manhã numa padaria local e então uma hora de metro e trem para chegar ao Morumbi Shopping, onde me encontrei com uma amiga e peguei o Macbook.  Aproveitei para dar uma olhada de novo na televisão de R$100,000 que eu tinha visto na FNAC na minha última visita.

Fim de tarde, no ônibus de volta à Minas Gerais, o motorista deixou um garoto de olhos azuis entrar com uma mala e anunciar que estava vendendo sacolinhas com refrigerante, batatinha e chocolate por apenas R$10.  Devia ter uns 12 ou 13 anos.  Falou que era o seu último ônibus do dia. Em outra dimensão, teria passado o dia estudando, jogando bola ou videogame. Teria visto nosso ônibus passar do conforto do carro de seus pais.
picosgemeos: (Default)

Apologies for the lack of posts. I left my life in London behind, moved to Brasil to help run my family's guesthouse in the countryside, started a blog that promised to document everything and then... nothing.

Well, my Macbook's screen died about a week ago. I'll probably catch a bus to São Paulo this Monday or Tuesday, to have it inspected by authorised Apple personnel. In the meantime, my iPhone has been my saviour (from which I send you this missive.)

Normal services will hopefully resume soon.


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