Uberlandia, 7th of September. Today I wake up in Brazil for the first time. It is really early, 06:00 orso, still under the influence of the jet-lag. We’re allowed to have a slow start. I mean, I’m having to adapt, but it must be really hard for my Asian colleagues who are really out of synch. Today we’ll be meeting the last portion of the group, including Joel, who arrived late yesterday evening. That’ll be a great moment.
Slowly, my room is becoming my home here. I get accustomed to the noises of the birds, the Indian music of some people down the corridor and the neighbour who is apparently having Skype calls with the homefront. But the hotel is really, really nice. People have been so kind and really made us feel so welcome.
So, after the breakfast, we gathered in the lobby for a short walk in the hotel vicinity. Me, Robert and Hazira, curious to know what was going on in our neighbourhood. Only to find that everything was closed. We were wondering whether that was due to the fact of the celebration of Brazils National Holiday (Independance Day) or that Saturday is generally a day off. Later we learned that everything opens at 13:00. Anyway, we were having a nice walk. Visited a closed, but brand new shopping mall and made our way back to the hotel as were having to gather in the hotel lobby at 13:00.
There we gathered again to find all the team together now for the very first time. Hands were shaken and the new members were quickly adopted. It is good to be complete now.
Then we were taken out, as a group to scan the immediate surroundings of the hotel. Show directions to the local baker, a small supermarket for water and other first necessities. Drugstores, wifi with coffee (or the other way around) terraces and that kind of stuff. One could really feel the level of detail that Larissa, our local CDC contact, has been putting into her work. Great job and a big thank you. It is all also part of us getting at ease here. And again here, lots of very friendly people, looking at this strange big group of mixed faces. But só kind and hospitable! We had lunch at a local restaurant and proceeded in our attempt to get the hang of local habits by litterly submersing us into the local transportation system. First bus was full, we did not dare to enter. Second was also full, but we managed to get in and got some 8 people of the team into the crammed bus. And we were off.
For only two stops, the we got out at the shopping mall which was now crowded with the Saturday afternoon public. Did some elementary shopping being mainly getting bottled water. Then walked back to the hotel.
At 19:00 we gathered in the hotel lobby to be brought to a local fair organized by the local agricultural syndicate (the Boerenbond as we would call it in Dutch). The festival was called Camaru and spreads over a couple of days showcasing Uberlandia’s agricultural products from live stock to wooden tables, to fish farms and paintings. Nice speeches from the official presidente and we were also welcomed by the local authorities. Camera’s were rolling, pictures were taken, so we’ll probably see our faces in public. The festival people really showed us the best the region has to offer. So a really nice variety of produces. Cows, meat, fish farm presentations and local woodwork. Really nice. We could taste it all and, as the grand finale, we were all invited to the exclusive area where we could enjoy the concert that was being given by singer Christiano Araujo (he’s actually staying in our hotel) having groupies in front of the lobby. His absolute top number is Bara bara, bere bere: for the team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWljoMHIBeQ
We have been singing it al day aftersince. The atmosphere was really relaxed, lots of Latin-American salsa and really joyfull Brazilians at their best. Thank you Larissa, Vanessa, Rodrigo and Toby and all the local people for taking us along with you and giving us a peek into your country. I really feel privileged to be your guest. We arrived in the hotel at 02:15 and I called it a day. So many new impressions, new experiences and new people. Great day! #ibmcsc brazil