Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 3:02 PMDoug McLean World Tour 1999-2000Back Home Next
Subject: Feb 4-6, 2000 - Brasilia/Goiania
Current Date/Location: Wed, Feb. 16, 2000. Cuiaba, Brazil...at my friend Ana Paula´s house...she also has maids who do my laundry, free internet access, and a wonderful family...hmmm...maybe I will never leave Brazil!
Current Itinerary: Here until Monday-ish, then Bonito in S. Pantanal, then Belo Horizonte!
Carnival Plans: Party like an iguana in Salvador, Brazil!!!...the only place to be in Brazil for Carnival!
Feb. 4, 2000 (Fri):
Arrived by bus into Brasilia in the morning. Juliano picked me up at the bus station. We drove through the city, with him explaining many of the points. Brasilia reminds me somewhat of Washington, D.C....both are planned capital cities with huge boulevards, green areas, monuments, and the various
branches of government. Brasilia seems to have gone a step further and added lots of architectural novelty to the process...it is meant to be a futuristic city...and the view of the future in the 1950´s makes the city look like it is both headed towards the fugure and stuck in the past at the same time...go figure.
Arrived at his apartment/condo building...now, I am also learning that having an apartment here in Brazil is often better than having a house...in the USA, having a house is the ideal American Dream...not so here in Brazil. Juliano´s family lives in a huge apartment with a lovely and beautiful interior...I am not slumming it in Brasilia! I met his mother and brother while briefly having breakfast...then the driver arrived to take his mother to work (I didn´t know it yet, but she is highly placed in the state government, and is going to be the next Minister of Tourism for the Federal District of Brasilia.). Anyway, we all piled in the car with a friend of Juliano's, Caroline, and toured the city again. One thing that you should know about Brasilia...it is literally shaped like a plane that is headed due East...no kidding. The designer and architect of the city, Oscar Niemeyer, figured that the city would transport the country into the future, or
provide the lift for the country, or something like that...you get the idea. The city has a huge couple of avenues and large grassy tracts of parkland that act like the fuselage, the city is divided into North and South Sections that are laid out like wings, and ofcourse, the branches of government (Executive, Legislative, and Supreme Court) are placed in the front of the plane (the cockpit)...acting like pilots directing the country into the future. I am not making this up, go get a map of the city if you want to!
We visited the Park of 3 Branches of Government...visited the JK Memorial (JK...Jucelino Kubitschek campaigned to become the President of Brazil on the platform that he would build Brasilia in the middle of the country and move the government here from Sao Paulo...after he was elected, he realized
that he had to build it and complete it in 4 short years before the end of his term! ...he did it...and Brasilia erected a monument in his honor.). One other note on JK, he was a communist and the monument has a statue of him in a very Communistic pose facing Eastward...it is strangely out of place now...but it stays...he is a part of history.
We returned to the house where Juliano and I discussed the art of backpacking (he is planning a 45 day European trip starting in June...needless to say, I told him the most important thing is to go Run with the Bulls in Pamplona!) I gave him some ideas...but then we had to pack our bags and leave quickly with Juliano's Aunt Rosie for Goiania. We were going to Goiania to attend the graduation of Juliano´s cousin...yawn...I used to work at the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas...and attended/worked about a thousand graduation ceremonies...they are all yawners without exception, and I was not enthused about attending another in Brazil...but figured it would be a cultural experience...so what the heck! We picked up Uncle Edward and we drove to Goiania...stopped at their house under construction. It was interesting to see a house being constructed here in Brazil. It looks somewhat confused and like few things are being done in a logical order, but when you look at the same type of house next door you can see where they are going. Juliano said that since they don´t have kids, his aunt and uncle are really building this new house as a place for their neices, nephews, and distant relatives to enjoy and to visit them...they want the company as they grow older...a sobering thought.
Anyway, we arrived at their lovely apartment in Goiania...settled in...Juliano and I went to have fruit drinks (NOTE: For all of you Jamba Juice drinking folks out there...you don´t know how good I have it here...50 different kinds of juices made and mixed any way I want...and costs about 80 cents per drink...ahhhhh...Brazil!). We walked around the city...watched part of the Pre-Olympic Futball game of Brazil versus Argentina (this was the semi-finals now...again, Brazil played Argentina)...Brazil won and
qualified to go to the Olympics...lots of happy Brazillians. NOTE: Brazil consideres the Olympics to be the last great prize in futball (soccer)...they have never won it...they want to win soooo badly in Sydney
it hurts them!
Got dressed and went to dance club, Draft. Now, I had been giving grief to Juliano all day because he had promised that Goiania was famous for it´s beautiful women...and all day, I had seen a dearth of lovely lasses. I made fun of him until sometime around nightfall. Walking to the club I started
to notice more ladies and at the club I was having trouble keeping my eyes in their sockets. I don´t know where they keep them locked up in this town during the day, but I am here to tell you that at night this town if full of beautiful girls! We were in line when 3 exceptionally beautiful girls walked up and next thing I know, they are hugging and kissing Juliano (friends) and myself...we get into the club and I met his cousin who is graduating, Carolina, and many of her friends (almost all female)...I´ll try to understate the obvious by saying that it was not difficult to look at any of them. Juliano had taught me a new phrase which I used, much to the amusement of the group...the phrase being- "Um Cao Chupando Manga!"
Literally translated, this means "A dog sucking a Mango!", but is used to indicate that something is VERY, VERY UGLY! The phrase was a hit (Brazillians have a great sense of humor, and it drove them nuts to hear a foreigner deliver this line...really), and we had a great time and ended up dancing until 3:30am.
Feb. 5, 2000 (Sat):
Woke...Juliano and I went in search of a suit for me to wear to graduation. Juliano had mentioned that I should rent a suit for the occassion...I had mentioned that I really didn´t have to attend the ceremony if it would be a problem...spending money on a suit to attend a boring graduation ceremony seemed somewhat silly and a waste of money. Juliano explained that the graduation ceremony had already taken place...this was a big party that we were attending...something like the Prom in the USA, but family and friends were also invited to attend. It is a really big deal! I started to understand, and my interest in attending and getting a "Killer" suit was now becoming a priority! I was surprised, but suits are commonly rented here in Brazil. It is such a hot climate that the culture stays somewhat more informal...few people own suits (normal suits...not mentioning tuxedoes). We went to many shops but only found 2 with shoes my size (remember, I also have to rent shoes...not like I carry around a set of dress shoes to go with
my shorts and t-shirts!). In the end, I rented a sweet double breasted suit...45 Reals...found 2 Reals in the pocket...cool, eh?! I was now set...ready to party...I was now a "Sharp Dressed Man".
After securing my suave suit, we went to an afternoon graduation party for Carolina (different one...this one is a friend of Juliano´s...not his cousin...confusing, eh?). There was lots of family and kids there...we hung out for a while, and I mentioned that I wanted to learn the words to the Garota de Ipanema (Girl from Ipanema). Next thing I know, we go upstairs to their elegant apartment and into the TV/Karaoke room which has a bigscreen TV and a personal Karaoke machine...and everyone starts singing various
Brazillian songs...including Garota de Ipanema...it was cool!
We went back to the Uncle and Aunt's house...went with Aunt Rosie out to shopping mall to buy socks (yes, my backpack is in shortsupply of dress-socks as well)...showered and got ready...looked pretty spiff in my suit, and so did Juliano...went with Aunt Rosie to the house of Carolina's family. The girls looked incredibly lovely in their gowns. I delivered my new quote for the day that I had gleaned from my Portuguese/Spanish Phrasebook - "Sou Rico y Soltiero." which translates to mean "I´m Rich and
Single."...it was greeted with an uproar of laughter.
We all left in a group...and after some driving confusion, arrived at the ball. It was lovely, tables for 10 covered with yellow roses and candles...waiters serving drinks and food...live band...procession of the
graduates (Received degrees in Audiophonologia (sp?) (something like listening and speaking skills))...danced all night. One downside was that my suit was incredibly hot and by the end of the night I was absolutely soaked with sweat. It looked like I had gone swimming, but all in all, I had lots of fun...left 6am...we all had breakfast (probably 2 quarts of fresh squeezed orange juice, 3 bottles of coke, and 4-5 pastries) and the group only paid 9 Reals (1 dollar equals 1.8 Reals...this is about $5USD...cheap, eh???)! Absolutely crashed and went sub-atomic around 7am.
Feb. 6, 2000 (Sun):
Woke around 2pm...showered...went to Juliano´s cousins house for barbeque (chuhascao) and to visit. It was nice. Then went back to Aunt and Uncle´s house, watched Brazil versus Uruguay (which was pointless, because Brazil had already qualified for the Olympics)...showered...picked up by Juliano's
other cousin Renatta (practiced my new Portuguese Phrase for the day..."O dou o des"...it is used to say "decide something"...but literally translated, it means something to the effect of "have sex with me or get out of the car"...really...anyway, she laughed)...had sandwiches in the car...and headed to the only place in town where people as obviously good looking as us could go...
We went to Fashion Club! Ended up dancing almost all night...at one point, the stars came into alignment and I had burned incense to the proper gods...and I ended up talking to this gorgeous girl who could actually speak English and was 6 foot 2" tall!!! (That is about 190cm to all you freaking
metric users!). I had finally found my Amazon Warrior that I was in search of!!! ...anyway, after we had talked for a few minutes and I had decided I was interested in her...she said she wanted me to meet her sister...so I was introduced to her sister. And the next thing you know, the tall beauty up and leaves us and I am stuck talking to her sister who is...I´ll be gentle...somewhat difficult to look at (if you know what I mean), but even more importantly, she was about as interesting to talk to as a piece of wood. It seemed like I talked to her well into the next Millenium...it was only her and I at a table (that had formerly been occupied by her lovely, interesting sister and I)...I was stuck, I could not leave her gracefully!
Anyway, we talked for awhile (forever), until my good buddy Juliano rescued me from my trap...holy bait and switch, Batman!
Juliano and I ended up on the upstairs part of the bar talking to another couple of girls when all hell broke loose in the bar. For some reason, some guys decided to argue with several of the bouncers. Next thing I know, a big fight breaks out involving probably 15-20 people (bouncers and patrons)...people wrestling and fighting on the floor...not a pretty sight...got the girls and ourselves out of the line of fire...waited until the place settled down and then left. Now, some of my good friends who know
me well will ask why I didn´t get involved in the bar-brawl??? I have always told them that I want to be involved in a good bar-brawl (unfortunately, I am always sober and am never able to appropriately start
one...cést la vie)...but this one did not look like they do in the movies...guess I´ll continue to wait for a good, clean, well organized bar-brawl. The bar-brawl bringing out the romantic in me, I got the phone
number of one of the girls, Daina, (who lives in Brasilia) and promised to call her.
We crashed around 3am knowing that we would have to wake at 5:30am to go back to Brasilia with Juliano´s Aunt and Uncle.