Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 4 (terça-feira, decembro 8)

Onde é o banheiro? Blog de Brasileiro, dia 4 (terça-feira, decembro 8)

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

Sunburn incident count: 1 (some redness on upper shoulders, but not painful to the touch)

The more time I spend in Brazil, the more I realize that we have it way too easy in Canada and are spoiled in many respects. In Canada, classes are easier, we train on smooth surfaces made of laminate tile, and sometimes we have the opportunity to slack off. Those luxuries are gone here. For the past few days, we have trained on some pretty weird surfaces, with the last night being on brick road, today being on ceramic tile and later on cobblestone. But, relative to the fact that we actually are on vacation and are doing a lot of really interesting things, we could be doing worse.

The road trip to Olinda was long (involved passing through Recife, then driving for another half hour). Camara was gracious enough to keep the whistle blowing to a minimum, although the bulk of the trip was spent playing with Rubik’s Cubes and watching Up on the iPod.

We ended up at a market square where we met a street vendor who was attempting to sell us a berimbau pendant, although I am on a mission for one made of sterling silver and the ones he had were made of bamboo and other materials. Being one of the few locals that speak English, it was somewhat refreshing to hear (that, and he seems to like Canada more than the US). And I still can’t seem to find a souvenir deck of playing cards.

We were then followed by a couple of guitar players who then started singing about Capoeira (I’m just guessing…that word came up a few times and it was the only word I could understand). Mestre said they wanted money. Considering that the airport staff will expect a tip if they wheel your bags to the bus, I’m not surprised.

I finally got to sample agua de coco for the first time, immediately followed up by tapioca with guava jam (it’s a bit of a grilled sandwich made from toasted tapioca). This bit of downtime was nice, but it’s pretty fleeting as we’re training Capoeira at least twice a day now. However, I could think of worse things that I could be doing.

We ended up on the grounds in front of a church, where we were taught by Instrutore Jean, who gave us a lesson in the importance of paying attention and trying to remember. I’m really getting the feeling that the instructors are taking it easy on us here. After Camara, I am the highest ranked Canadian academy student (cordão azul escuro) on this trip (although this will change once Dragão arrives tomorrow, as he has the same belt), so if I screw up, I take the whole class with me.

We were taught 4 separate sequences which we were supposed to perform. After Monitor Camara was asked to stand aside (so we can’t follow him), I essentially had to lead the class in all the sequences. This was fine up until sequence 3, at which point I performed sequence 4 instead. Instrutore Jean had me do the requisite disciplinary push-ups and sit-ups and gave a speech (in Portuguese) reminding me of my rank (relative to the other students) and that in Brazil, things are going to be harder. As I’m doing my pushups, I say, “Yes, I can see that.” Camara translates, much to the bemusement of the instructor.

At one point, I was seriously contemplating asking Mestre to hold onto my belt for the duration of the Brazil trip, given the responsibilities that come with a higher rank. Higher rank does come with respect which has been earned, but it must be maintained. Slacking off and forgetting movements that a green belt could do is not behaviour becoming of a high-belted student. But, given that Mestre has his reasons for assigning rank, it would probably not be the wisest to go against his judgement.

The responsibility does tend to make one feel a little more important, though. We are tasked with looking out for each other, especially for the younger or less experienced students. One of the youngest students has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but I know enough not to take the stuff he does personally. Sure, he’s a bit of a punk kid (which we’ve told him up front), but he has become unofficially “adopted” by the academy, so it’s kind of up to us to straighten him out. It’s still upsetting to see him act out, though. I only hope he gets straightened up before he becomes a real problem, for his sake.

Quick food report: today was a cheaper eat day than yesterday. 7 R$ towards pizza, 6 R$ for snacks, and 8 R$ for a “X-Tudo” burger (has everything…beef patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sausage, ham, egg, onions…) and ice cream. Yesterday, it was about 30 R$ for lunch alone, although that included a lot of steak. I like steak.

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