This weekend was a very eventful one. For starters, Thursday night I went out to eat with some poeple at this outstanding sushi restaurant. I don´t know if I´ve mentioned this yet or not, but I´m falling in love with sushi. Mmmmmm. Then, on Friday, I went with the program to play with orphaned kids. All of these kids have serious illnesses or defects, the majority of them having AIDS. It was a really neat experience. We brought food, games, toys, coloring books and crayons, finger paints, and ourselves. It was fun to play with them and see their reactions to everything. One girl who had a defect with her legs in addition to AIDS, ended up coloring me a picture of Shrek and writing ´Para: Erin, De: Margarete, Eu te amo´..... It was so sweet. The picture has a special place in my room. Afterwards, I went to this club with a small group of my friends and had a blast! God I love dancing! haha. We got there about 9pm and danced almost the entire time! We were still dancing when they were turning off the lights! haha. it was great. Saturday, I woke up and didn´t do a lot the entire day. It was a nice, relaxing/ catching up on sleep day. In the evening, I rented a brazilian movie with a friend. It was called ´O homen que copiava´. (The man who copied). Doesn´t sound too interesting, but it actually was really good. And, by the way, I watched the whole thing in Porguese (with portuguese subtitles, even) and understood the whole thing!!!! Ok, so that´s a personal acomplishment, but hey, this is my blog! ;P
Sunday was probably the most memorable (besides going to help the kids with AIDS). I woke up early and piled in a car with my host mom and her friends and drove a few hours inland to visit my host mom´s ex-husband´s uncle and his wife. Make sense? Anyhow, she´s still friends with that part of the family and the uncle was celebrating his 89th birthday. This man, let me tell you, was inclredibly healthy and full of energy for his age. He walks with barely any hesitation, jokes and feels great. The only thing wrong with him is that he´s a little hard of hearing. Pretty good if you ask me. Anyhow, we arrive at this farm at about 9:30am and right away they are trying to feed us. They give us coffee, beiju (this very brazilian breakfast snack made of ground up white corn, i think, and toasted in the oven). I´ll have to bring some home, cause it´s really good. Anyhow, they give us all this food, right?, and then they start showing me around the farm. This is the most amazing and beautiful farm I have ever seen. They had cows-beef cows, dad-which were really beautiful. They were the kinds that had a hump on their back and very friendly (could just be a trait of these particular cows, and not the breed, but nevertheless, they were very gentle). So, they had these cows, and chickens, and horses (which were free roaming by the way, cats, turtles, and then this OUTSTANDING huge area of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. They had mangos, three different kinds of bananas, apples, these blackberry-type fruits, green oranges, limes, these sweet (not sour at all) lemons, many different kinds of peppers, pumpkins, guava, cassava (that´s what my dictionary calls it....aipim, in portuguese), and at least 5 other types of fruits I didn´t recognize nor do I remember the names in Porguese in order to search for their English names. There were probably even more, but I just can´t remember. This place was acre upon acre of amazingness. I couldn´t believe the enormity of the trees and their offspring. It was really breathtaking. AND, to top it off, they had monkeys!!! (not as pets, but ones that lived in the trees!!!!) Talk about cool. Too bad I forgot my camera!!! :( I definately want to return to capture all of this on film. It´s a goal and I´m determined. It´s just too good to miss.
It was so amazing. And the air out there was so fresh and brisk!! I think that´s part of the reason the old man was so healthy. He´s in the midst of all this beauty and grows and raises the majority of his food, so it´s all free of preservatives and chemicals, and he´s got fresh air without exhaust fumes and pollution. It was paradise. Mom, even though it´s hot, it would have been worth it and you would have loved it.
So after looking around the property, I went out to look at the horses and the three day old colt. I told them that I had horses back home and they asked if I knew how to ride. I told them yes and so they took that as me wanting to ride....which they were right. Of course I would love to ride horses! They saddled up a couple horses and the grandson of the old man took me on a horseride into some neighboring little communities. It was sooo neat! Too bad my butt´s a little sore today since it had been so long since I´d ridden. We rode for about an hour and a half or so. It was soo great! When we went into the town, it seemed like everyone was outside enjoying the weather and relaxing in the plaza. They were setting off fireworks (a very common occurance here) and the horses kept getting spooked. A little hard to hold on, but it was fine. Anyhow, they took a break from the fireworks and we decided to stop and have a caipiroska...mmm I´ll make them for you when I get home....sooooo good! It´s crushed up fruit of your choice, ice, vodka and sugar. We met some more of their relatives who were in the town hanging out and then we went off on our way. The town was named `Nossa Senhora de Mercés´. When we got back to the farm, it was time for lunch. And boy was this a feast. They had feijoada-a typical bahian bean and meat mix, beef, chicken, goat, eggs, this egg-fish-veggie casserole, two different kinds of cake, rice, vatapá-another typical bahian dish, and a whole mess of other food that I can´t remember. They busted out some wine and we had an amazing meal. They kept trying to put more and more food on my plate for me to try it all, but I had to keep modifying the amount they put on my plate because, instead of giving me a little of each, they would put a TON of each kind on. I would have exploded if i didn´t lighten the load. We were all so full afterwards and tired from the morning that everyone laid down for an afternoon nap. When I woke up, the old man wanted to take me on another walk around the farm. He took me out to the cows and said, ´watch this´. He walked out a little way and cupped his hands around his mouth and called ´OOOooooooo´ `Ooooooooo`. Every single cow in the pasture looked up and started running towards him. He stood there and they all came to him like his little children. It was sooo cool! They came up and let me pet them and they just hung out! It was really neat. Then, we went around to the front of the house where there were a few cows roaming with the horses and there was a young one who came up to me and just wanted me to pet it! haha. I have never seen anything like that! I was petting it´s head and neck and when I stopped, it lowered it´s head to my thigh and started nudging me as if to say, ´hey, don´t stop yet!` It was so funny!. The day finally ended and I was sad because this was such a neat place that I didn´t want to leave!
Oh, I didn´t mention that the house they lived in was over 300 years old. Yeah, THAT old! It was made out of stone/clay and stayed surprisingly cool. No glass on the windows or anything. Just shutters that opened and closed into the house. I had also visited his son´s house which was smaller, but similarly made. The roof was made out of these hard clay half-cylinder shapes strategically placed to collect all of the water into hand-made gutters which ran into this half in/half out of ground enormous cistern. They also had a well outside. I really felt like I was stepping back in time with this adventure because everything was so old, yet extremely functional and really beautiful. Yes mom and dad and everyone else, I know that we have a cistern and well at home, but this was so much different. It was as if they had a cylo (only half as tall) sticking half in and half out of the ground functioning as the cister. Sooooo interesting! I love fazendas!