samedi 24 décembre 2011

10 Days trip up North!

The 10th December - I am leaving for a 10 days' trip up North. The program is Brasilía, Belem, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. Two days in every city, three in Rio de Janeiro. Travelling on my own but CouchSurfing in every place, apart from Rio where I'll meet Mónica, my Portuguese friend from the Danish master program, working at UN Habitat.

It's gonna be great! I am sooo excited...

(Pictures and maps coming up soon...)

dimanche 27 novembre 2011

Fim de semana com minha familia brasileira!

Train to Morretes (photo by Dino)

Um dia perfeito, isso foi! O melhor e mais engracada viagem! Descer de trem para Morretes, piquenique no longo do rio, banho no rio em Ponto da Cima, e filme a noite com pipoca e cerveja!

We had agreed from quite early after I moved into the new house, that we should organise a trip all together to Morretes - actually it rose in our minds shortly after my first trip to Morretes with Arwen and Guido, and after the excited face and laughs I brought back from that day. The whole family, being Dino, Flavia, Leandro, Isabelle, Janaina and Ana, and myself started thus to plan our wonderful day. Train trip for sure - I don't quite remember if it was just to experience the craziness of the turist guides screaming "Atenção cachoeira na direita em 2 minutos!" or if it was because some of us never did the train trip. Maybe even Isabelle never took the train. Whatever, train it was. Finding the date then: I had to be home and Leandro not working. And we managed!

My thrilled humor about the idea of making a pick-nick rapidly overtook others and within a short time, that was settled as well. Flavia and I, running around the house exchanging dish ideas, reviewing magazines about food - a pick-nick it would be and a damn good one! A vegan one, because Flavia, Ana and Dino were on this healthy diet thinggy. The menu thus was: home-made bread rolls (by myself), soja hamburgers (by Flá - amaaaaazing ones!), cream cheese without cheese or as we like to call it "queijo sem queijo" (by Flá - a delight), eggplant purée (by myself - but Dino learned the recipe!), hummus (by Flá), couve being Chinese cabbage (well Flá brought it because we were basically swimming in cabbage - so we had to grab every occasion to eat it) mustard honey sauce (by Flá - the one and only), and then I don't quite remember what we had more. Well I made a almong cream dessert with mango purée, very tasty but with the heat just turned out to be almond soup with mango soup - still very tasty!

The train trip (photos by Dino)

Because Dino and Flá work at the bank we got fancy seats for a cheap price - the fancy part was provided by the 'surprise box' at will! We cooked late the day before, got up early to catch the train, all excited and happy, screaming to who would listen - or not - "Bom Dia Bom Retirooooooo!" in remembrance of our crazy nuts-neighbours. To the point that we were doubting how much the little darling Isabelle would want to be seen with us... (Her cute drawing and text she left us on the fridge door after that day revealed though some pride in taking part in this loucura, it seemed to me...)

In the train, we had the front seats in the wagon - close to the guide and the beer. The excitment and laughs are not describable - we just had a huge amount of fun! Chatting, laughing, hugging, taking pictures like crazy Jap'turists (getting worth later though...believe it or not). The guide was superbe - very interesting, but sadly I don't remember much now though. The views and landscape was as tremendous as the first time! The sun was though much brighter on this second trip, and the heat was rising slowly but surely as the day got older and the train descended the Serra. I could do this trip a tousand time I would still be as astonished by the landscape - so beautiful.

On the way down, Araucaria the tree of Paraná (photo by Dino)

Landscape of the Serra (photo by Dino)

Pittoresque house in Morretes

At Morretes we get our bus tickets for the return before going down to the river, the old town center and getting installed for our tremendous pick-nick. The heat that day was true to the Brazilian expectations. combined with the beers from the train some of us consumed, well let's say the atmosphere was tipsy dipsy happy! The whole group stopping up at once in front of the sandales'shop to get our feet out of the shoes, then loosing the boys a while, dropping Leandro in the middle of the street taking pictures of a king palmtree, so concentrated that he didn't notice he was stopping the traffic, us hugging the palm tree, Dino trying to speak English to me while I was begging him to speak in Portuguese (hoping that the beer might have hit his mother language less)... The girls then disappeared while I was tempting to gather the male troup and make them join us at the river side. Well, male troup - yes they were only two, but distracted and drifting as they were, it was quite a job.

Picture in front of the king palm tree (photo by Leandro)

Streets and market in Morretes (Photos by Leandro)

Wondering around Morretes

Finally we gather at the river side. Pulling out the pick-nick while the two boys drop into the fresh water... The only two swimmers there at that moment - they managed to intrigue the lazy turists around and within a few minuts we had a line queuing up to see the two male specimens. How much we laughed that day! A happy day, truely.

Family picture (photo by Leandro)

Riverside (photo by Leandro)

The spectacular sight that day in the Morretes river

Pick-nick and chill at the river side

At the end of the afternoon, we take a taxi to Pôrto de Cima, a little village just at the end of a trail road with a beautiful river. Leaving our bags, spreading out a huge piece of fabric and getting fresh beers out, we enjoyed there the last hours before the return to Curitiba: bathing in the fresh waters of the river, balancing on the stones to get in and out, swimming against the stream - almost fighting up the stream, such was the strength of the flow.

Girls out for a refreshing swim (Photo by Leandro)

Our beautiful Isabelle (Photo by Leandro)

Waiting for the bus to Curitiba (photo by Dino)

Finally we take the bus home. Enjoying the last views on the Serra, not much time was needed before the whole group fell into a heavy nap, while the bus drove on the motorway to Curitiba. From the rodoviaria, we catch a bus home and off goes the activities of each one: Dino had to play at night, as every Saterday night, Flá disappeared, Ana and Isabelle went back to their house while Janaina went to take care of some neighbour dogs. We really just had reached the house that rain poured down. What is then the most obvious activity on Saterday evening with such a weather: movie and pop-corn! That was for Leandro and I, the evening plan.

What a perfect day, this was!

Aniversarios no escritorio

At the office...

Débora, Valéria, Jaime and Fernando - the minds projeting...

People ask me if I work at all here in Brazil? How are my colleagues? How is the office? What do I do? I could make a whole report on our projects,, I won't.

But what I can tell, is that the office is a warm and nice place to be. Truly agreable colleagues, the nicest one could dream of. Jaime, an inspiration and force of nature, arrives in the morning half dancing in the kitchen, embrassing us all as a grand-father and telling the last joke he heard, news that stroke him or project that inspired him... There is a genuine atmosphere of sharing and generosity. Well, tensions as well, but like in any place, in any family. Yeah, the office is like a big family.

And in families, we celebrate birthdays. So big party when two colleagues have their birthday!
Parabéns pra você goes the song...

Manoela and Cathy, the birthday girls

Birthday buffet!

dimanche 20 novembre 2011

Frisbee no parque Barigüi

O mais legal aqui, é quando tem sol nos domingos. Isso mesmo significa frisbee no parque Barigüi! Hoje foi bom, depois muito tempo sem jogar.

Vamos, Urubu!

Ultimate frisbee!

Almoço do sábado em casa...

De escerda na dereita: Giselle, Fernando, Dino (Lissandro na verdade), Rogerio, eu e Ana

Minha familia de Curitiba no almoço do sábado em casa: tranquilo e engraçado! E tomando sol depois, com o Dino tocando de baixa... Não há um prazer mais que música e compania boa assim.

O Dino tocando de baixa

Tomando sol com uma cervejinha bem fresca
De escerda na dereita: Flavia, Rogerio, Fernando, Dino e Giselle

mardi 15 novembre 2011

Inhotim (Minas#3)

The final day in Minas Gerais is spent in Inhotim. I arrive the Monday morning back in BH, after a few hours' ride from OP, and catch the only bus that takes you directly to the park. Bus rides are always a fantastic way to see how the city liquifies at its fringes, and how villages and other cities pop up in the landscape. You see people coming in and out of the bus, and start imagining some daily life on basis of the faces, the street shops, and so on. Interesting and fascinating way of travelling and getting impressions of a region that you just are passing.

Landscapes on the way

Inhotim is a botanical garden with art galleries and art installations - giving the visitor a wonderfull experience between amazing nature and internationally known artists. Note that art is not as accessible as in Europe, meaning that visiting an art gallery or park is something quite special, almost elitist somehow or very touristic. And art places are considered as something very fine. I arrive there around 11 o'clock and have about five hours to enjoy the park and its artistic 'gourmandise'. Hunger makes me start with a little snack break at the café, close to the entrance. Here already you sit in a very fancy designed space but in such connexion to nature that you are almost sharing your meal with the curious birds.

Shared the morning coffee and cake with this bird

On the path, my first meeting is with the cousin of the iguane, seemingly not very happy to meet me. Could he imagine to bite me? I don't know and feel very stupid about my un-knowledge, which I assume would be a simple question to answer for any local. Probably they would laugh at me. But that is part of being a tourist in a country: making laugh the locals, no?

First views of Inhotim: breath-taking colours and art/nature relations

Crazy sights of nature - vegetal spiders?

Anyway walking on with my little map, I discover fancy or funny installations, implanted between vegetal spaces of great beauty: the palm trees, their leaves, their trunc, the textures, the many nuances of greens and inbetween the flashy spot of a colourful flower. Amazing! Huge or tiny, thin or thick, a piece of mata atlantica... Wild orchids, humming birds - I saw a true humming bird! As fast and swift as a dream, but I saw it. And they laugh at me because they are the most common thing to see here. But no one can stop my excitment and thrilled 'little-girl's-eyes'.

Art installation in the magnificent nature of Inhotim

The park alterates well between moments of visit and moments of walking on paths, reaching new spaces. A special garden shows poisonous plants, another smelling plants, another place it is huge palm trees or jungle vegetation... I cannot even recall the various vegetal spaces, just recall the amount of variety!

Smells, colours, flying orchids or slender bamboos...

As for the art installations, it is pictural art, photographs, sound or video installations... And furthermore it is the architectural expression of those galleries, playing with views and sensations, confronting the visitor with intense architectural and natural experiences. A room was hosting an enormous amount of speakers, each and everyone giving the sound of one voice. From some places in the room, it could seem as a huge chaotic thing, while other places you could recognise the symphony of voices. Amazing experiences - makes you wanna join in an sing your own voice and interpretation, which I did.

Perspectives on the way out, or on the way in to two different galleries

Reflections in architecture or water

A natural living room?

Art dropped from the sky and in dialogue with the view

Another gallery is divided in four rooms of experiences: the relaxed atmosphere of a pool, the calming of a hamac, the fun of playing with balloons or the coolness of a tiled floor. Each room had more experiences, but I guess that every visitor only keeps a few physical memories here - interesting. Some dramatic installations out in nature, were in strong dialogue with the surroundings as well. Fascinating!

Last look leaving Inhotim...

At evening, I reach BH just in time to get to my host. I feel disgusting from dust and sweat of the whole day and the shower is most welcome! With some rest - next day it is an early start to get my plane back to Curitiba :-)

Thanks to the Minas people for great moments and meetings!