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Post one by Shawn Knable 24 – de Julho de 2013

September 1, 2013

The trip was long and tiresome. I couldn’t sleep on the plane, so I’m running on one hour of sleep since I got up yesterday morning. I’m going to sleep as soon as I finish this. It’s 9:53 here, an hour ahead. But I had window seats the whole way here! I saw some incredible stuff. I’m not sure, but I THINK I spotted where the Amazon River starts. I definitely know we flew over an island in the Caribbean. But the coolest thing was when the sun came up while we were flying over Brazil. I was on the right side of the plane, facing west, so I didn’t see the sun. But once the clouds parted it was all just mountains. That gave way to hundreds of square miles of just land and rivers, all over the place. We flew for a good twenty to thirty minutes without my seeing a discernible major road or any sign of human development at all. It was all so cool. It even looks different from the sky.

Rio was rainy and kind of cold and we had to wait in a lot of lines, so I didn’t really enjoy it. It was strange though because you can literally see favelas from the tarmac. At least that’s what they looked like to me.

But flying into Brasilia kicked off the trip. I looked down as we approached and saw a soccer field, way on the outskirts of town. Then another, and another, and another, and another, and another. They’re all over the place! I almost cried to finally see something familiar here.

We landed and had no problems getting our luggage and heading out. We met up with both of our “padrinhos” (god-fathers), who drove each of us back to campus to our apartment. My padrinho is named Wanderson Maia. He’s a really cool guy, and he and I get along really well. We each know enough of each other’s language that we can fill in the blanks for each other.

The campus is ENORMOUS. It’s just so spread out. My apartment is in a network of apartment buildings called the “Colina” (I think), and it’s almost entirely faculty, employees, and graduate students. It actually feels extremely safe there because there really isn’t anything else around that place that anybody could wander over from, not that I’m not being careful. But the whole atmosphere of this place is summed up in “É tranquilo.” Basically, “Take it easy.”

The city is beautiful in its own very peculiar way. It’s like taking the dry climate of a desert city, meshing it with a tropical paradise, and then setting the bar exactly in the middle between third-world and modernized country. It’s the strangest place I’ve ever seen. Everything is so different.

We have a really spacious apartment. And honestly everything about it could be in a good Indiana Jones or James Bond movie. Ben, Isaac, and I are living with a roommate from Spain (he’s my roommate) but he’s actually leaving Friday. Nice guy though.

There’s a little —— BREAK IN TYPING. A Brazilian spider just climbed up my leg. ——- …. There’s a little shanty-worthy sand soccer field about 300 yards from my apartment, and I’m told there’s a grass field nearby too. It’s absolutely perfect. I’ll be there first thing tomorrow morning, because I just bought a ball.

We bought a few cheap Brazilian beers from the cooler of the little cantina right next to the sand soccer field. I had my first beer in Brazil. I’ll just let you all wait to see it, because it’s worth waiting for. And it turns out there literally is no law about having open containers in public. At all. People pop open a beer in the grocery store and shop with it. They walk around the streets with bottles. You can even be in a car (not driving) with an open container. Different world.

Speaking of which, Brazilians are by far the worst drivers I’ve ever seen in my life. Indiana roads are safer.

I’ll leave you with that!

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