May 24, 2010

Goias, Goiania, Brasilia, and back to Goiania: Our last few days in Brazil

Monday, May 24, is our last day in Brazil. So far, despite having to get all five of us and our many bags to the airport, everything is going remarkably smoothly. These past few days have been very hectic, so this is a very welcome change.

We left Cidade Goias at 4:30am last Thursday so that we could spend the day in Goiania on the way to Brasilia. I spent Thursday morning at Universidade Federal de Goias with my research assistant, Anna Laura. She had a film featured in an ethnographic film festival, and we watched her film about transvestite prostitutes in Goiania and participated in the debates afterwards. On Thursday evening, I had two interviews on the other side of Goiania, so Anna Laura and I made our way over to Campinas, a commercial district on the edge of Goiania. The interviews went well, but we did not get home until 11:00pm. And, we had to wake up at 6:00am the next day to go to Brasilia.

We arrived in Brasilia at noon, at the Hotel Nacional. After a very brief rest, I met Cristina and Joaze – two professors at the University of Brasila – for lunch. It was great to meet them and to talk about sociology and anthropology in Brasil and to learn about the University of Brasilia. After lunch, we went across town to the University of Brasilia, where I was scheduled to give a talk. I began my talk around 4:30pm. I was very tired and was amazed at my ability to speak coherent Portuguese for most of my presentation. The talk went fairly well, and the audience members had interesting questions about the US and immigration laws.

After my talk, we met up with my husband and kids and went out with Cristina and Joaze and their kids to a pizza restaurant. The restaurant – Pizza a Bessa – has a rodizio de pizza, which means that waiters pass by the table every few minutes with a different selecion of pizzas. They have everything from pepperoni to pizza with dried beef to pizza with ice cream (for dessert). My three kids fell asleep in their chairs by the time we left the pizzeria. I managed to stay awake, but was very tired when we got home at 10pm.

The next morning, fortunately, we did not have anything planned. Nevertheless, we all got up before 7am. In a hotel room, when one person gets up, it is hard for anyone else to remain asleep. We packed our bags and checked out of the hotel by 9:30. We were planning on going out for breakfast when we found out that the Hotel Nacional has a fabulous spread that is included in the nightly rate. The breakfast buffet was great – they had fresh fruit, yogurt, a variety of breads, omelets crepes, waffles, and several fresh fruit juices. We ate as much as we could and then set out for our day sightseeing in Brasilia.

We heard that there was a free bus that would take you to the Centro Cultural de Banco do Brasil (CCBB), so we went to wait for it by the Hotel Manhattan. We waited a long time for the bus, but it finally came and we went to the CCBB. The CCBB had four different expositions, and the kids' favorite was definitely OSGEMEOS – installation art by twin brothers that is very creative and colorful. After a couple of hours at the CCBB, we went back downtown.

Nando thought it would be a good idea to have lunch in the Rodoviaria (the bus station). The food did not look appetizing to me, so I just had a mango smoothie. We decided to go back to Goiania after that, as the kids were very tired, and Raymi seemed to be coming down with a fever. I am glad that we saw Brasilia, but there was no good reason to stay for another day.

When we got back to Goiania, we went to our friend Gabriel's house. He had a few guests over, and they were enjoying churrasco and red wine. We readily joined them. After a few glasses, at 11:00pm, I was ready to go to sleep. The kids were already sleeping on Gabriel's couch, so we decided to spend the night there. I got a reasonable amount of sleep, but had to get up at 6am when the kids woke up to make sure they did not cause too much trouble in Gabriel's house. We had breakfast there and took the bus to Anna Laura's house.

When we got to Anna Laura's house on Sunday morning around 10am, the only thing I wanted to do was to relax. Fortunately, Anna Laura lives in a rural area of Goiania, so it feels like you are in the countryside. I spent the better part of the morning in Anna Laura's hammock enjoying the bucolic atmosphere while the kids played in her huge yard. Nando and I also did some last minute laundry and got our bags ready for the next day. Our friend Izabel came over in the afternoon, and we spent the afternoon chatting with her, her husband, and Anna Laura. Not too long after they left, Soraya fell asleep on the couch. It was only 7pm, but I decided to let her sleep.

By 8pm, the whole family was asleep. I could not believe it. Even better, I did not have any nightmares about missing the plane. We were completely packed, and our plane did not leave until 11:00am the next day. We woke up at 6:00am, with plenty of time to do our last-minute packing of our pajamas and toothbrushes and make it to the airport. This allowed me to remain very calm and to not get stressed at all. Amazing. We called our taxi at 6:25 – knowing that it would take a while to get all the way to Anna Laura's house. The taxi showed up at 7:40, and we got to the airport at 8:15 am for our flight.

Some people might find it a bit extreme to be completely packed and to go to sleep at 8:00pm in preparation for a flight that leaves at 11:00am the next day. But, the difference a few hours makes is remarkable. Right now, it is 10:00am, and, so far, everyone is in a good mood, well-rested and ready to face a very long trip.

We will be in Negril, Jamaica in a little more than 24 hours from now. We shall see how well-rested and calm we are by then! Either way, at least we are starting out on the right foot.

1 comment:

  1. André dos AnjosMay 27, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    It was great having my clarinet and being able to have that "musical talk" with Nando. Music really opens many frontiers, that afternoon something special happened in Anna Laura's house. Good luck to you!