As I look at the date of this blog, I realized I have a mere 15 days left on this portion of my journey before breaking in Ohio for Christmas. It's incredible how fast time goes by. I also realize that I haven't had nearly as many opportunities as I would like to do health care volunteering. But I am comforted by the fact that I have another week of volunteering set up in the Dominican Republic in January- really looking forward to it!
Back to Campinas. The night I posted my last blog entry, I was on my way out the door to a local Italian restaurant which features weekly chorinho music. Chorinho is a complicated but quite palatable style of traditional Brazilian music featuring instruments in the guitar family (I'm ashamed to say I don't know the names of all of them but there was definitely a mandolin). There was also a fantastic flute player and a clarinetist visiting the local university, Unicampe, all the way from Alaska- he sat in spontaneously and blew everyone away. He actually performed again the following evening at a recital at Unicampe. To backtrack a little bit, for those of you who don't know, back in 2008 my father was granted a Fulbright scholarship to go down to Campinas and teach at Unicampe for a semester (my mom got to go too!). Since then, he has been back to Brazil several times and it is through him that I have met most of my contacts in Brazil. Consequently, most if not all of my contacts are either musicians or married to musicians, so be prepared that most of my blog entries from here on out will include live music descriptions =).
My last day in Campinas, Kathy and I took a little day trip to a town known as Pereira, famous for some of its artisan arts and crafts (the word in Spanish is “artesania,” in Portuguese “artesanato”). We enjoyed walking around and shopping a bit before I had to head back to Campinas to take the bus into São Paulo.
I arrived back at Marcel and Anna's in time to find Anna all made up with her hair up in curlers. Turns out, her musical was up for another award and there was a black-tie awards ceremony downtown that evening. The good news? I was invited too! The bad news? This mochileira doesn't even own, let alone consider packing black-tie attire in her backpack. The good news? Anna and I are fairly close to the same size in both clothes and shoes, and Anna, as an actress, is a professional when it comes to applying make-up. Problem solved!
The event began at 10pm on a Wednesday night, typical for Brazil, and the steak dinner wasn't served until 11:30. The venue was super fancy, and the ceremony complete with some mediocre musical acts and a magic show. Anna's musical unfortunately did not win this particular award, but we all still had a great time mingling with other actors, singers, directors, producers, and even some big-names in the Brazilian musical theater scene.
Thursday morning, I navigated my way to the São Paulo airport which is about a 2 hour walking, subway, bus commute away from the city itself. My flight was to Vitória, a coastal town a few hundred kilometers north of Rio in the state of Espíritu Santo. Vitória is the hometown of a dear family friend, Bruno Mangueira, an amazing guitarrist who stayed in my parents house for a few months a few years ago. While Bruno lives in Brasilia, he met me in Vitória for the weekend and we both stayed in his mom's house, a mere 6 blocks from the beach! Unfortunately, for the first couple days the weather wasn't particularly cooperative for beach time. Of course, for this Ohio girl, a beach is a beach, and I was happy to just be near the water, rain or shine. Bruno's mother took me on a small tour of some of the beaches the first day, and we were pleasantly surprised to discover some quite attractive firemen doing endurance training. =) You never know what you might find on a rainy day on a Brazilian beach!
As I mentioned before, Brazilian culture means leaving to go out at 11pm or midnight, and Vitória was no exception. The most popular late night hangout in Vitória is a place called “rua da lama” or “mud street,” a few blocks of bars, night clubs, and botecos. We somehow ended up at “rua da lama” every night in Vitória, and it seemed that every night we saw the same faces. I guess the city isn't all that big.
Friday night I met up with Bruno's sister, Miriam, who is in the center of Vitória social life. She invited me first to a feria de artesanato- booths of arts and crafts from all over Brazil. Later we went to what I can best describe as a street party. From what I gathered it was someone's house in a Bohemian style neighborhood but there were probably some 100 people hanging out, drinking beer and dancing in the middle of the street. Perfect environment to meet people, and I enjoyed talking to new friends that I would of course see at rua da lama later that night and the next couple nights as well.
Saturday afternoon I joined Bruno and his mother on a tour of the main tourist attraction in Vitória, an old convent situated on a hilltop overlooking the city. Built in the 1500s, the building was lovely but the views of the harbor even better.
That evening, Bruno, his friend and I checked out a forró dancing party at a bar on the beach. I loved the ambiance- waves crashing on the shore, people mingling under the shelter at the bar and onto the beach, live music. There were some incredible dancers there- I guess Vitória is known for its forró music and dancing. The band was fantastic as well. I was particularly fascinated by the triangle player. I know people joke about the triangle being such an easy instrument to play, but they've never seen a triangle played by a forró musician!
Sunday, the music and dance continued at the annual Vitória samba festival. I spent the day walking around, watching some fantastic samba bands, trying (not so successfully) to master the samba step, and keeping Miriam company as she sold some artesanal beers in the street. The day was super fun but exhausting, and it of course ended, where else? Rua da lama. =)
On my last day in Vitória, the sun finally came out in full blast and I decided to spend a few hours at the beach in true vacation mode. Despite my constant reapplication of sunscreen, I have a pretty good burn today, but it was worth it. I took a late afternoon flight from Vitória through São Paulo and up to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, where I will be staying for a week. More to come on Brasilia soon! =)