Welcome to Aracaju!

I’ve been in Aracaju for the last two days. Last night I went to an aikido class. The training was very different from what I am used to. Much more rigid, more like how I remember judo class than most aikido classes I’ve attended. Regardless of the differences, I focused on my own body and how best to respond to my partner’s movements, and it was enjoyable. Afterwards, I went out for acai, a sorbet made from berries grown in the Amazon region (see below for a picture), with two of the aikidoka from class and we spoke at length of my travels and what brought me here.

Today, after a tour of my current hosts’ (very impressive, large, and modern) eye surgery facility, I took a trip around the city, which they arranged for me (causing me again to pause to appreciate the extreme generosity of all of my hosts to date). More pictures of the trip are below. I had a definite Tim Ferriss moment when my guide informed me that when it is hot, she gets tasty. (Actual intended statement? She gets “sweaty.”)

Brazil – Cuiaba, Days 1-3

I said goodbye to my hosts in Florianopolis on Monday morning and I caught my flight, with connection, to Cuiabá. While in the airport, I observed people drinking beer at 9:30 (but with time zone changes, I’m sure it was at least 5:30 where they came from). I managed to check my bag, get on the plane, and catch my connecting flight without any English. Even though there wasn’t a lot of talking required, I’m still proud of that.

I arrived and was greeted at the airport by Regina, Daniel and Alberto, who have maintained the Brazilian hospitality I’m still getting to know. Everyone seemed very excited to see me, like I was a long-lost relative. The language barrier is a little more present now than it was in Florianópolis, but still not a problem. Roberto speaks barely any English, and yet, after spending hours together, we still manage to get the important points across.

Drivers and motorcyclists here in the Cuiabá region are… brave. I’ll have to get some video, as I don’t think my words can do justice to the kind of performance I witness every time I buckle up and say a prayer.

On our first day, we went directly to my hosts’ weekend house in the country. The road there passes through several miles of national forest and preserves. The region is very dry and in a giant crater, making it very hot. On the way, we stopped by Portão do Inferno (“Hell’s Gate”) – a very inviting place! Apparently the mountain biking in the area is very good. I hope to find out myself this coming weekend.

On Tuesday night, my hosts took me to visit a capoeira class. They asked the teacher if I could observe or participate, and he invited me to join them. The class was a great workout, and a lot of fun. I’ll be going back again tonight, despite the fact that all kinds of different muscle groups are really stiff two days later.