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Dia 11 – Ethan Evans – de 13 de Março de 2015

Today is the end of the first week of classes at UnB—a fairly light workload compared to a usual semester for me at UofL. It is very helpful for me, at this point, to know how my routine is basically going to work each week. That was one of the interesting things about the first week here—not having any idea what to expect. Our classes are an interesting combination. The first thing I remember thinking in our Portuguese class was “we are definitely the worst in this class…” It seems that everyone else has been studying for much longer, but I think it’s for the best because the only way to get better is to be immersed in the language. The rest of our classes are all music-related, including two ensembles. It is hard to tell what to expect exactly yet because the week was fairly unproductive and slow. Jake and I did, however, receive a lot of help from one our professors, Bruno Mangueira. He helped us get enrollment forms filled out and get our CPF’s (kind of like our temporary social security cards from what I understand), and he took us out to eat a couple times.

In other news, we had had several piles of random construction material and stumps (they were kind of hip actually, I didn’t mind the stumps really) laying around in our apartment in Colina. Today several maintenance workers came and threw the stuff out the window into the courtyard below. It makes sense I guess—there’s no elevator.

 

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Dia 2 – Ethan Evans – 03 de Março de 2015

My first day in Brasilia was a bit of a haze—it still hasn’t begun to sink into my brain that I am actually in Brazil. It is amazing how, even though society works generally in the same way here, the simplest of tasks in a foreign place and a foreign language can be incredibly exhausting (shopping in a grocery store, ordering food, getting directions, etc.) But after a whole day here, it’s still a haze. Luckily though, Jake and I met up with Jon Gardner (a former student at UofL that studied at UnB as well) yesterday, and he showed us around the city for a while. That night, we ended up sitting in with his gig at Pinella, a bar in the nearest quadra to our apartment. Bruno Gafanhoto and Eudes play there as well. It was great to see Bruno again, as we knew him for a year in Louisville while he was finishing his master’s degree. Playing with them was like medicine to a fairly rocky start to this experience. Jumping right in seems to be the best thing to do.

Brazil entry 7 – Final – Jake Daniels – 08 de Agosto de 2015

The last bit of the trip is really wrapping up. I’m writing from a hostel in Rio, now. Rio itself is every bit as beautiful as the pictures. The view from Christ the Redeemer is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Though, it would be better without all the selfie-stick-toting-tourists. The trip here is worth every penny, (and surprisingly cheap). The beaches are great, and the views are amazing.

We’ll be leaving here in two days, though. I have no idea how I really feel about it, yet, and it’s going to take some time for me to really be able to put the trip into words. Right now, I don’t want to come home. I wanted to stay as long as possible, and I definitely am going to come back as soon as possible.

The experience in general is an once-in-a-lifetime situation. I can’t believe there were people that decided not to take the chance to come. That blows my mind. You get the chance to play great music, meet great people, see some breathtaking sights, and get a completely different perspective on everything. I’m going to miss it here, but it’s finished. Now, I’m headed back to the beach.

Até proximo, Brasil.

Brazil entry 6 – Amazon & Foz do Iguaçu – Jake Daniels – 25 de Julho de 2015

Since my last post, we’ve visited Chapada dos Veadeiros for the Insight Electronic Music Festival, and spent 6 days in the Amazon Rainforest. Now, we’re relaxing in our hostel in Foz do Iguaçu. Chapada was great, but we’ve been there before so there’s nothing particularly special to report, besides making a new friend.

The Amazon was amazing. It was (possibly) a once in a lifetime, and I’m really glad we took the plunge to spend as much time as possible. We did a ton of wild things there. To highlight a few… the stars were incredible. I could never imagine seeing more stars than sitting in a canoe in the middle of the Amazon. The macaws were great (super loud), Spider monkey carrying a baby and swinging from a tree, fishing for piranha, etc.

Foz do Iguaçu is great too, so far. The size of the waterfall here is actually hard to conceive. At first glance, you think it’s similar to the size of Niagara Falls. Once you see it for a little bit though, you realize how wide the falls really are. They just keep going. And going.

Tonight we’re going to a rock bar to hear a Pink Floyd tribute at Zeppelin Old Bar in Foz, and then tomorrow we’re headed back for 3 days in Brasilia to say goodbye to our friends. It’s odd; the idea that we’re only spending 3 more days in our apartment, and have so many people to see, and things we haven’t done yet.

Brazil entry 5 – 100 Days – Jake Daniels – 11 de Junho de 2015

Man, we’ve been here over 100 days now. It’s a crazy feeling, but we’re over half way finished with our time here. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but of all of the friends and great connections we’ve made here, it’s incredibly likely that we won’t meet a huge portion of these people again. We’ve made friends from Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Cuba, Mexico, Congo, Belgium, Japan, Korea, France, etc, but when can we really expect to be in one of those places?

On the plus side: almost being done with the semester part of our trip here means that we can spend the rest of our time seeing Brazil and South America in general. We’re planning a trip to the Amazon Rainforest, as well as some other cities in Brazil, and I’m trying really hard to find a good flight to Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Brazil entry 4 – Just Back – Jake Daniels – 09 de Junho de 2015

We’ve just gotten back from a trip to Natal, a city in the Northeast of Brazil, with some great beaches. Technically we were there for a saxophone conference with Mike, but we spent the biggest portion of our time relaxing on the beach, enjoying the sun. Our first day there Mike, Ethan, Ashley, and I took a dune buggy trip around Natal. It was awesome. Basically, the guy just drove around like a madman, and stopped every once in a while to let us off at a good photo spot, or on a secluded beach for some coconut water, and sun.

Otherwise, things here are as normal as they can be for Brazil. We’re learning some traditional music, playing jazz every Tuesday night at a bar near our apartment with some Louisville grads, and stumbling our way through Portuguese conversations every day.

Brazil entry 3 – After First Trip – Jake Daniels

Well. We finally got to the beach here. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as we would have hoped, and the water was bit chilly, but we still had a lot of fun. Especially playing in the sand. While we were there, we got our first home-cooking with our friend’s parents, and got to see a really great concert, with one of the best horn sections and arrangements I’ve ever heard.

The family we stayed with was great. It’s the family of a bassist in Louisville now, and they were really welcoming. Picked us up at the airport, took us around town, had home-cooking most meals, went to the beach with us, and absolutely refused to let us pay for anything. They’re going to be in Louisville a few times in the next year, so I’m hoping we can return the favor.

While there, we also got invited to a “festa” for us. Some of the students a school in the area had a party because we were going to be in town, so we got to have a “jam session” with some Jazz Standards, some traditional Brazilian tunes, and some Brazilian rock tunes. It was a lot of fun meeting other students outside of the school in Brasilia. We got to exchange ideas, exchange music, and hear how they think about things.

It was also striking how different Vitoria was from Brasilia however. Many people have said that Brasilia isn’t very indicative of what Brasil is like, and it was a lot clearer in Vitoria. The beaches and the mountains obviously. Also, Brasilia is really only about 50-60 years old, so there really isn’t anything historic to see here. In Vitoria we went up to a church on the top of a massive hill (mountain?) overlooking the water and the buildings, and it was great. Definitely more of how someone in the states pictures Brasil.

View of Vitoria

Vitoria View