Brazil – Cuiaba, Days 1-3

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.

Hello, Florian?polis

Greek FlagFlag of FlorianopolisThis 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.

The Brazilian Coffee Shop, Aikido, Internet Scene

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”

S?bado no Mercado, Ent?o em Casa, Maring? Park, and a Party!

This morning, we went to the market to buy (a ton of) food for the weekend. See attached.

Apologies for some of the pictures being rotated wrong – I uploaded them before reviewing.
Wine time!

After lunch, and the obligatory nap, I struck out alone in search of adventure. I settled for coffee and conversation in a coffee shop. Upon returning, my host informed me that he was going out for a walk, so I repeated the process, this time around Maringa Park – what’s left of some rainforest that used to be here.
Party time!
Upon our return, Edna asked if I had a suit. I told her I did not, and asked why. I was informed that there is a birthday party for a 15 year-old girl this evening, (apparently quite the event in Brazil), and asked if I wanted to go. I got squeals of glee when I said yes, and “ooos” and “ahhs” when I donned Gilberto’s suit jacket, which fits me quite perfectly.

Brazil Day 4 – Business as (un)Usual

Today, I

  • reviewed a client’s firewall log reports for the month of October,
  • gave some direction to the rest of the Paradigm crew on some niggling issues,
  • assisted a client with transcoding a video for inclusion in his PowerPoint presentation tomorrow,
  • assisted the same client’s network support crew with a recommendation on how to securely provide wireless Internet access to his patients,
  • performed a cursory penetration test of a wireless network (yay, WEP),
  • assisted with the same client’s home/office PC, as its email ceased working when his Outlook Express inbox eclipsed 2GB, and finally,
  • assisted one of same client’s staff with translation of some medical forms from English to Portuguese,
  • made two new friends in IT, and discussed various issues, network service solutions, including Astaro, CloneZilla, Debian, and Squid.

The difference between this any any other normal day is that I did it all from Maring?, Paran?, Brazil.