Friday, July 21, 2006

Castelo Brennand and Boa Viagem

Hi All,

Contra-Mestre Gordo is getting ready to record another CD and we´ve been fortunate enough to hear some of his new stuff, which is pretty cool... here´s a jam session with some improvised instruments.

I don't think we have introduced Rivane yet. Rivane is Gordo's significant other and has been absolutely great to us. She is excellent to talk to because she has had lots of experience talking to other Canadian capoeiristas. She speaks slowly and clearly and has the patience of a teacher...because she is a teacher. Here she is trying on a samba mask at a art/craft show she took us to.

We also visited the Institutio Ricardo Brennand, which we saw as we were passing by going to the Instituto Ricardo Brennand. The Brennand brothers (the other brother has the weird ceramics museum we mentioned in the last blog update) appear to be extraordinarily wealthy old eccentrics with too time on their hands. The Instituto has exhibits of all sorts of crazy junk that Ricardo likes to collect. Lots of medieval armour, swords, knives, guns, painting of naked ladies as well as statues... of naked ladies. (Just to make things clear, I do realize that the statue below has two naked men in it) The weird part about it, is that the instituto is not really a museum, because it has no explanation and no organization really. It is just a massive collection of historical junk housed in a modern day castle that must have cost a large fortune. And the library was off closed to the public the day we were there. Leanna pouted.

Ah, but I can´t forget the Thinker.. or O Pensador here... I´ll have to check later to see where the Rodin originals are in the world, but somehow I doubt this is one.

And here is Monitor Malhado, a capoeirista from whom we have been taking classes these days, helping us get Acerola fruit from the tree in the courtyard at Gordo's. We make juice out of it... Some really good juice around here!

This last picture was taken at Boa Viagem, a famous beach just outside of Recife (although the urban sprawl is continuous, it goes by various names as you go along). Unfortunately you can't swim here because of the risk of sharks, but the beach is nice. We were shocked at the the amount of beachfront property here, just look at the never ending row of apartment buildings along the water behind us.

In other news...(it is Leanna writing/editing now) I have a new apelido--that is a capoeira nickname. When I left, my nickname was Borracha, which means Rubber, a rather obvious name for me I think. However, our group has a number of other Borrachas. Also, I am told that Borracha is a male sounding name (and Manteiga, Mike's nickname, which means Butter is a female sounding name...which maybe explains why everyone was mixing us up--doesn't explain why everyone thinks we are brother and sister mind you). So, Gordo put some thought into it and re-named me Gata instead. Gata means female cat, so named for my agility in the roda. I will have to keep practicing to fully live up to the name I think!

Anyway, that is all for now.

Leanna and Mike

Friday, July 14, 2006

Birthdays and Museums and Capoeira, oh my!

Hi all,

Long time no blog. So I´ll summarize some of the goings on of the past couple weeks. On Leanna´s birthday we went out for some churrasco, which is tasty Brazilian BBQ. They are really big on meat here, and we were surprized to hear stories of picky Canadians, only to realize that they are vegetarians, who don´t get a lot of respect around here ;)

Anyways, we had dinner with CM Gordo, Rivane, Soldado and Ani. It was a nice dinner, and was quite cheap, even for all six of us.

We also finally made it to Porto de Galinhas, which we had been hearing about since we arrived. It turned out to be a tourist trappy place, which I´m sure was very beautiful before all the tourists and stores came. The best picture opportunity was with the phones.

We did have fun with CM Gordo and Rivane on the beach, and it was a very pleasant day. Apparently some of the best parts of the beach are the natural pools in the reef. When the tide is low little sailboats ferry everyone out to view them. However, when we were there the tide wasn´t low enough, so we didn´t get to see them... next time.

Yesterday we took a trip to the Francisco Brennand Museum, which is an odd ceramics and painting museum, which displays the work of local artist Francisco Brennand. His estate is on the outskirts of the city, and we had to take two buses, and then a taxi, in a very sketchy journey to the place.

It´s a bit of an odd place, to say the least, but it made for an interesting day.

In the time in between, we´ve been going to more capoeira classes, with Prof. Pitbull and Inst. Soldado. Soldado is taking off soon to teach capoeira in Malaysia, and we had a going away roda for him yesterday.

ok, that´s it for now...
mike and Leanna