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– Brazil Journal Week 13, 10 do Setembro – Joseph Thieman

October 22, 2012

Brazil Journal Week 13, September 10, 2012

I was in the backseat of the car trying to sleep as the tiny car bounced on the rough dirt road in the hills of Minas Gerais. The road was lined with coffee plants on both sides. As my head tapped the window many times, I wondered how anyone could farm on such a hilly landscape. The gigantic mountain like formations grew larger and larger the further we went into the land absent of people. The smell of the air there is much lighter and refreshing; unlike the smells I encounter on my many trips back and forth from the university. There, I get to smell sewage leaks, and rotting garbage on the side of the road, and here I get to smell nothing but air that seems to be rich with health from all the oxygen productive plants.

As we finally reached a locked gate, Luiz and I jumped the fence, leaving his mom to wait with the car. The long walk up to the collection of small buildings, was entirely exhausting. Even Luiz who swims five times a week, and is very fit, was short of breath by the time we reached the house; the incline being very steep. We were greeted by his family friends, and the workers who helped keep the farm running. There were three small houses built into the only area that even resembled flat land. One house for them, with the kitchen built outside the house, underneath the patio. A very large old house that was under construction, with all the windows missing, and a dirt floor. Finally, in the back, there was a very nice, quaint little house that the couple that oversaw the farming lived in.

The couple that owned the land had just bought it six years ago; they were extremely nice. We were of course greeted with hugs and pecks on the cheek, and offered beer and food at 10am. After settling down a little after the drive, Luiz and I walked around the grounds; looking at huge banana trees, and the huge rock sided mountains that surrounded the houses on three sides. It was incredibly beautiful there, and exactly what I needed; a break.

After hanging around for a while taking pictures and playing guitar we left for another long car ride. This 1 hour trip was extreme. The roads were completely horrible, and the incline, and drop-off were intense. When we finally reached the top of the mountain, the temperature was much cooler, and the view was unbelievable. The sky was clear, and on the quasi valley on the top, there was probably 100 people. Most of them were just laying in the grass watching the para-gliders run off the cliff side of the mountain. This is pretty much what we did there as well. The wind was gentle, and the sun soft. I laid in the grass watching the para-gliders climb higher and higher above the mountain top.

We decided to leave early enough that we wouldn’t have to be driving in the dark down the mountain. We then drove to the town of Americana, a small town about 30 minutes from Campinas, where Luiz’s mom lives.

Upon returning to Campinas Sunday night, I was exhausted; but this weekend was much needed. Yesterday we had a cookout at a private plot of land that Luiz’s family uses as a depository, and workshop. I was able to practice outside, with no neighbors yelling at me, and no stress. I hope I will be able to have a weekend like this soon again.

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