I’ve been in Aracaju for the last two days. Last night I went to an aikido class. The training was very different from what I am used to. Much more rigid, more like how I remember judo class than most aikido classes I’ve attended. Regardless of the differences, I focused on my own body and how best to respond to my partner’s movements, and it was enjoyable. Afterwards, I went out for acai, a sorbet made from berries grown in the Amazon region (see below for a picture), with two of the aikidoka from class and we spoke at length of my travels and what brought me here.
Today, after a tour of my current hosts’ (very impressive, large, and modern) eye surgery facility, I took a trip around the city, which they arranged for me (causing me again to pause to appreciate the extreme generosity of all of my hosts to date). More pictures of the trip are below. I had a definite Tim Ferriss moment when my guide informed me that when it is hot, she gets tasty. (Actual intended statement? She gets “sweaty.”)
I said goodbye to my hosts in Florianopolis on Monday morning and I caught my flight, with connection, to Cuiab?. While in the airport, I observed people drinking beer at 9:30 (but with time zone changes, I’m?sure it was at least 5:30 where they came from). I managed to check my bag, get on the plane, and catch my connecting flight without any English. Even though there wasn’t a lot of talking required, I’m still proud of that.
I arrived and was greeted at the airport by Regina, Daniel and Alberto, who have maintained the Brazilian hospitality I’m still getting to know. Everyone seemed very excited to see me, like I was a long-lost relative. The language barrier is a little more present now than it was in Florian?polis, but still not a problem. Roberto speaks barely any English, and yet, after spending hours together, we still manage to get the important points across.
Drivers and motorcyclists here in the Cuiab??region are… brave. I’ll have to get some video, as I don’t think my words can do justice to the kind of performance I witness every time I buckle up and say a prayer.
On our first day, we went directly to my hosts’ weekend house in the country. The road there passes through several miles of national forest and preserves. The region is very dry and in a giant crater, making it very hot. On the way, we stopped by Port?o do Inferno (“Hell’s Gate”) – a very inviting place! Apparently the mountain biking in the area is very good. I hope to find out myself this coming weekend.
On Tuesday night, my hosts took me to visit a capoeira class. They asked the teacher if I could observe or participate, and he invited me to join them. The class was a great workout, and a lot of fun. I’ll be going back again tonight, despite the fact that all kinds of different muscle groups are really stiff two days later.
I spent the last weekend in Florian?polis with Fl?via, Janderson, and Juliana. It was pretty much a non-stop R&R weekend, which included highlights including capirinhas on the beach, my worst sunburn ever, and dog TV. Other than the sunburn, it was a terrific way to spend the time. I was thinking back to a guy (referenced in Tim Ferriss’ first book) who relocated to South America and owns a business running tours for foreigners. Awfully tempting. We ate at several small restaurants on various beaches, including one that we reached by a small ferry. The food was amazing everywhere we went. We went to a Japanese restaurant for dinner on my last night there, and I was shocked that neither the waiter nor chefs seemed to know what unagi is.
This weekend I am in Florian?polis with my new friends. Two nights ago in Sao Paulo, Paula and Juliana issued many statements to the tune of “Have you tried _______ yet? You haven’t? We need to fix that.”
It all began with a simple glass of Caiparinha and went downhill from there. By “downhill,” I mean there was no further effort required, except to remain vertical. Halfway through my first glass and I was about as tipsy as I can ever remember being.
The next day Juliana and I made our way to Florian?polis. Despite the name and the similarity of its flag to that of Greece, I haven’t found any other connection. After a brief settling period (a few minutes) we headed out across town to catch a boat to a favorite restaurant of my hosts. The service was good and the food prep was slow, but definitely worth the wait. We ate freshly fried shrimp and several other Brazilian delicacies that I’m still wishing I had more of now. Another of those “have you tried” topics was Brigadeiro – sort of like Brazilian fudge, but not as thick. As luck would have it, a woman who makes and sells it every day just happened to be passing by the restaurant where we were seated, so naturally I had to buy a bunch, and boy is it tasty. We’ll be making and selling this at Breaking Grounds next month.
As I recover from a great aikido class last night, my body still asking “why the hell did you do that to me,” I am sipping a cappuccino (with the obligatory whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and Jimmies on top), finalizing the rest of my flights around the country for the coming month. The coffee shop I’m sitting in is playing what sounds like the greatest hits of the 80’s (“Alive and Kicking,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” etc.). Continue reading “The Brazilian Coffee Shop, Aikido, Internet Scene”
Just for kicks, I decided to see what Google’s Public DNS performance was like compared to that of OpenDNS, while abroad. I’d heard OpenDNS was faster in the US, and Google overseas. While ICMP reply times are certainly not the only indicator of performance, it’s safe to say they are a very big one. Here are the results: Continue reading “OpenDNS vs. Google Public DNS, in Brazil”