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– My time in Brazil – Jon Gardner

August 19, 2011

This last week in Brazil has been a lot of fun. We have gotten to see and do so many things and meet so many great people. With the ending of our Portuguese class we have had some time before the semester begins to relax and take in the city. Over the weekend for example our Portuguese professor took us to the zoo here in Brasilia. We thought this was very kind of her and it wasn’t the first time she has spent time with us outside of the class.  The zoo was very cool, and the monkeys (macacos) were the best part!  They also had a lot of different and interesting birds.  After the zoo we headed for a churrasco (BBQ!) at a church near campus where we met some of our professoras friends.  They are all very kind nice people, and helped us with Portuguese by speaking slowly, which was greatly appreciated!  We all went to a shopping/restaurant place by the lake here in Brasília, which had a great view of the city and the lake of course.  Afterwards Renato picked Zack up and they all went to pick up a drum set that he can use while we stay here in Brasil!  Now we both have instruments for gigs!

We have made so many great friends and meet some excellent musicians as well. We have been to a few jam sessions that were just unbelievable. We are learning many new things about Brazilian music and it’s history. We have had the pleasure of playing with and enjoying the music of everyone from great percussionists to harmonica players to great Brazilian rhythm sections, and everything in between. In addition, we are playing with a Brazilian guitarist and trumpet player every week now at a cool little jazz club called Marabeau Jazz every Thursday.

We also got the opportunity to travel to another city close by Brasilia called Pirenopolis. Here we stayed with some friends we meet at the university and played with them during the night at a restaurant in town. The next morning we all got up early and headed to the mountains where they were kind enough to take us to a beautiful waterfall that they knew about. Here we were able to swim even though the water was freezing cold. There was a place where we could jump into the water from as well. The best part of the city however was the food. It was incredible morning, day, and night. There are a lot of little restaurants around the town that we went to with our hosts.

One of the coolest places we have seen here in Brasilia so far was a place called Integral Bamboo. It was a sort of gymnasium made entirely of bamboo in which people could participate in work-out programs that included climbing, running and gymnastics on the bamboo contraptions. When we went however it was very late at night and the owner and instructor was having a party for his best students. They all ran and worked-out while we played music on various percussion instruments with our new friends we had been introduced to that day. It was incredible to see the gymnasts and even more fun to make music with some great Brazilian percussionists. After the work-out there was food and desert and we all stood around the fire outside listening to various sambas sung by our friend George with percussion accompaniment. It was authentic Brazilian music and everyone was enjoying themselves and dancing.

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