Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 5 (quarta-feira, decembro 9)

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 5 (quarta-feira, decembro 9)

Mosquito bite count (unchanged since yesterday):
-Hands: 4 / Arms: 1 / Shoulders: 2 / Chest: 1 / Face: 6 / Neck: 2
-Back: 0 / Legs: 0

Sunburn incident count: 1 (little time spent out in the sun today, mostly healed, although putting on the backpack sorta hurts a little, not peeling yet)

Today was probably one of the more tiring days on this trip so far, and it’s only Wendesday. A very short time after breakfast, morning class was taught by Contra Mestre China (yes, like the country), and then a short break followed by lunch, which was almost immediately followed by a road trip to Varga for a class taught by Professore Ratinho, a break for food, and then off to Olinda for Professore Pit Bull’s academy for class. And Dragão wants for us to wake up at 7:00 AM for morning training on the beach before we have breakfast. Uh, how about no.

Contra Mestre China has taken to nicknaming me Bruce Lee. This is somewhat flattering, as he is often considered by most to be among the martial arts greats. But I don’t know if it’s due to a passing resemblance and an extremely low body fat percentage, or because all Asians look the same. Other Vince got called Jackie Chan once, and even has the unofficial Capoeira apelido “Bolo” (after the actor who played the baddie in Bloodsport), bestowed upon him several years back.

For his morning class, Mestre allowed us to train in non-uniform clothes as to avoid dirtying our uniforms for the other academies. We went back to the community square in town where we train fairly often. The weather was hot enough that the guys went shirtless. Unfortunately, the large amount of sweat generated by all of the guys also meant a certain amount of suction was generated when we were on our backs doing leg lifts for abdominal strengthening. The end result was a constant farting sound that made it so no one could concentrate.

Second class resulted in a lot of driving around. We ended up at one gym facility and found that the class was actually bumped in favour of a yoga class. A frickin’ yoga class. Mestre (maybe half-jokingly) commented that Capoeira isn’t as important to them, so they allowed a yoga class to displace the pre-booked time that we set aside. This confirms my suspicious about how business is sometimes done here, or at least in terms of customer service standards. Providers of customer service are more than willing to sacrifice one customer to please a new customer that is offering more money.

Somehow, I’m not surprised…this reminds me of the time the Vancouver academy imported uniform pants from Brazil and had the order screwed up (the logos were placed incorrectly), yet the printer still wanted full payment for their mistake.

We end up at another gym and are able to have class, but it’s in a very small space, but thankfully sufficient for our purposes. We are all sweating buckets by the end and even Camara admits that it was one of the more intense classes he’s had to take since his arrival.

Short dinner break, and we hop in the van to Olinda to Professore Pit Bull’s academy (rented space at another gym). This is where my shirt gets the dirtiest, as there is a sufficient amount of rusted metal around (thank goodness for my tetanus shot) that leaning on any surface in the gym will result in stains that aren’t coming out (that, and the sunscreen washed off onto the shirt, leaving it orange). I have sweated several litres of water due to the heat and large number of bodies packed in the space. Upon completion of the class, I proceed to wring my shirt out on the sidewalk, generating maybe a quarter cup of water. I haven’t decided if I’ll get in trouble or not with the Mestre if I post the video of me doing that on YouTube.

Overall, the class is enjoyable, although the large number of attending students from multiple academies makes getting in the roda very difficult, as rank means that one cannot just cut in with anyone without showing disrespect.

All this training has left my uniform extremely dirty with minimal laundry services available (we’ve taken to washing our clothes with shampoo and in the shower). I will probably have to purchase an entirely new uniform by the time this trip is complete, although I may have to wait until the very last day.

Overall, I’m finding the instructors easy to get along with and they’re all offering a lot of great perspective and insight into Capoeira. I can’t really comment on certain aspects (mostly due to cultural differences), but they’ve shown a lot of patience and have a lot to offer.

In a lot of respects, this has been the least relaxing vacation I have been on, but on the plus side, I definitely won’t be out of shape when I come back (although the long-ass plane ride might change that), and I have something resembling a tan after a few days here. It’s beginning to take a toll on my body, however. My left hip is starting to do something odd, as well as my right ankle. I’m not even the oldest person on this trip either.

Food report: really cheap eats. R$5 for dinner, R$15 for lunch, and R$3,60 for two mangoes and a can of guarana soda.

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