28 December 2008

In Country: Late and Languid

Bom Dia! We have arrived in beautiful Brasil.

After what turned out to be two days of travel -- by plane, bus and VW bug -- we are now situated in a modest apartment in Campinas. As I suggested in an earlier pre-trip posting, Campinas is a city of about 1 million population. The weather is humid and warm at 84 degrees, with gray cumulous clouds floating across a vivid blue sky. Really it's just a typical Sunday south of the equator.

Our apartment belongs to an American woman, Kendra, who teaches at the American school with my sister-in-law Jocelyn. Kendra is on holiday with her boyfriend and she was gracious enough to allow us to use it. In terms of size, the apartment is quite modest. At about 850 square feet, it contains a living/dining room with a small patio overlooking the pool 14 floors below us. There are two small bedrooms and two bathrooms. The laundry room is in the kitchen which has very high ceilings to allow just-washed clothes to dry while hanging suspended from a clothes hanger system consisting of levers and pulleys. In a word, all is efficient.

The time is 6 hours later, so when it's 9:30am in California, it's 3:30pm in Campinas. There are several times zones in Brasil, however, and I will try to keep you posted when we move to a region with a different hour.

Yesterday we woke early -- around 9:15am -- and walked to the faire (pronounced 'feta') hippie. Otherwise known as a hippie street fair. Because Campinas is a fairly middle class city, there are not a lot of tourists here. Thus the street fair was not comprised of trinkets for rich Europeans and Americans as one might expect, but rather there were lots of antiques, soaps, shoes and other household items on display. In my groggy jet lagged state, I forgot to grab the camera before we left so I don't have pictures.

After strolling through the hippie fair we stopped for coffee at an upscale cafe. Brasil is known for the coffee, which is strong, and for the cup size, which is small. As a point of comparison, a large cup in Brasil is still smaller than a small cup in California. Consumption is not the same here.

Then we headed on to the fruit market, where we picked up some fresh mangoes, papayas and oranges. When we stopped at one of the stalls, the vendor and his wife cut open a mango and served slippery sweet slices to us on his knife blade. Afterwards, their son produced a basin of clean water to rinse our sticky hands. Their good marketing paid off; I filled my grocery bag with fruit for just over $7 reis, or about $3.00 U.S.

Eventually we made our way back to Richard and Jocelyn's modest house in the Salles Apolis neighborhood, where we spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying the family. In deed we did not make it back to our apartment until 1:00am this morning, which is why I named this entry "Late and Languid", for that is all we have done today: slept late and laid around languid.

1 comment:

Emmanuel Sigauke said...

Thank you for the update. I can't wait to hear more.