Saturday 29th of September. This weekend, I am staying in Uberlandia. I have been out for the last weekends and we were advised to keep this weekend “at hand” in order to work at the assignments, as this is the last weekend that we’ll be here…. 😦 So I did. And evenso, there’s a lot of nice things we are doing this weekend.
So, this Saturday morning we agreed in visiting the “old” city center. We have been here, but only at night for our dancing lessons or for dinner. Our hotel is located in a fairly new area, a 10 minutes ride out of this center, which has not much of the old Portuguese flavour, but is ideally located for logistics (and is a great hotel by itself). We gathered at a very nice square called Praca Tubal Viela. A square where we will meet Larissa who will give us some shopping directions.
There is a nice ambience to the square. The fountains, the elderly people, young couples (lots of cuddling) and us! As there are hardly any tourists in town, we immediately get spotted but we are welcomed ever so kindly.
Larissa, prepared as always, gives us some quick directions and the promise she’s having her phone on standby for anyone needing additional directions (which will prove to be necessary). We all quickly wonder off, everyone on the quest for stuff to bring home. There’s a lot of shops, but as shopping is not really my “thing”, especially when there is a little bit of pressure to find light-weight stuff to bring back home. There’s a lot of people doing their everyday / weekend shopping. Clothing, shoes, refrigirators, drugstores…
I included some old pictures, things are quite similar, even some of the cars (Volkswagen beetles, Volkswagen minivans and Chevrolets pick-up).
So, the men flock together and we set our hopes to the Mercado Municipal. A really nice area with small artisan shops, hairdressers and some traditional bars. We kind of find some stuff, but for me, it is really hard, as the 23 kilo’s I brought from Amsterdam did not substantially get lower. I will leave some stuff (stroopwafels, some reading material, the football and the wine gums and licorice that were kindly given to me before departure) but that is hardly weighing up to bottles of cachassa or any other presents. But, I have another week left, and, under pressure, things will materialise, I keep telling myself 🙂
The further we head into the afternoon, the more (lots of young) people come together to socialize onto the Mercado Municipal, have a drink and talk.
Especially when the live music starts, the Mercado is really turning into a really nice open, friendly meeting point for young and old.
After having lunch we have to move on. As the weather is quickly deteriorating, and as we promised ourselves a quick dip into the pool, we quickly head back to the hotel, pick up our gear and go to Cajuba.
Though it is weekend, there’s not a lot of people around as you can see. Maybe it’s the weather, it must be cold to Brazilian standard (18-20C). Friday evening, this place was filled with people, live music and a BBQ, there wasn’t a table left. We dive in the pool as soon as we are in, thunderstorms start to unleash. At five it is already getting darker and we see the lightning in the background of the city outskirts. Luckily we stay dry and the temperature is not dropping much yet. So, on the terrace, we discuss. Assignments, progress, general feelings and what we miss most after three weeks of being away. It is a tough question, on one hand, I am really enjoying my stay here in Uberlandia. The new experiences, the bonding with the group, our group dynamics, our assignments, learning about different cultures, our team meetings with surprises from countries every week, our contacts with the NGO’s, our dancing lessons, the children at the Institute on one side and on the other hand I really miss my family, the social life at home and yes, even do I miss the colleagues, the interactions at work (really!). This is especially the case when there is some time for “ourselves”. During weekdays, the program is really packed from 800 till 2400 (and beyond), there is little time to evaluate what the assignment is doing to you personally. The spare time that we have is being consumed by the so many – but ever so nice – group activities.
After some time, we leave. I have to get to a supermercado to prepare for our next team assignment on Sunday evening. Larissa’s father has invited us all for a “Pot-Luck”. I did not know this word but the concept is very friendly. We all gather and everyone brings something to prepare. I have been thinking about what to prepare. A Dutch dish? Nothing comes to mind, especially with no Albert Heyn at hand. So I think I will do some appetizers, Italian style. I head off to the supermarket with Christy and we shop. We’re good and head back to the hotel. When I arrive there’s a group waiting to go for dinner. As I really want to join, I rush upstairs, put my stuff in the fridge and head back down.
The group has decided to go to a Japanese restaurant downtown which has the reputation to be very good. It will prove to be a very nice experience, lots of laughter (LOL), sharing stories and getting to know each other better and better. We go home (hotel), another day filled with experiences and emotions. Lot of them will be the last of their kind here in Uberlandia as we head for the last week. Like this Sunday morning in my hotel room. #ibmcsc brazil