News from Belo Horizonte

One more week of work passed by, this time even faster. Friday was a holiday here, which means I had more time to go around and visit a little bit.

I tried this typical Brazilian club, called Chalezinho. My friend who invited me was with a big group, apparently there was a birthday party going on, so they had this “special area” with free drinks. I had some fun there, but it’s the kind of place where you can’t go too many times, it was too Brazilian for me and the music was weird.

Anyway, the next day I tried Café Com Letras, which is a loooot better. As they call it here, it’s a place for GLS, and maybe for that reason it’s a lot more fun and relaxed. It’s a caffe-slash-library-slash-bar with good food and good DJs playing. So far, it’s the first place I’ve been to that actually has really good music. 

During the day I visited the Mercado Central, which is the biggest food market I’ve ever seen, it’s incredibly big and noisy. There’s all sorts of smells and people shouting everywhere. For a bit I felt like I was in India again, but a very clean and civilized India! It was great to go there, the atmosphere was fun and it was the perfect way to get to know the typical food from Minas Gerais. I saw so many different pepper sauces, fruits, cheeses, cakes, alcoholic drinks…Most of them I had never seen before! Plus, the merchants around there are extremely nice, they all ask for people’s names. I’m almost sure next time I go there, they’ll call me by my name!!

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It was very sunny on Saturday so I went to the pool. Since Rio is 4 hours away, the pool is obviously the second best alternative! 🙂

On Sunday I had a very funny day. This really rich Brazilian guy wanted to meet my uncle (probably for business reasons) and decided to invite him and his family for a lunch at his country house. Obviously I asked if I could tag along, having typical Brazilian food with a typical Brazilian family at a great house 1 hour away from the city couldn’t sound better. Just like the dinner experience I had in India, but this time with no risk of being ripped off!!

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We arrived there for lunch at 11am (here people have lunch VERY early), and we only left the lunch table really late in the afternoon! Before lunch we visited the property, which wasn’t only 1 house but three. Plus, the gardens, the tennis and football courts, the huge playground for  the kids, the swimming pool, the lake and the church. Then we went for lunch and we ended up sitting at the table for almost 5 hours, mostly because they wouldn’t stop eating (there were thousands of different dishes, all delicious!). For me was great, they were relatively young and very funny, and they offered me the best wine I’ve had since my grandparents visited me in London!

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Once again, what people say about how nice Brazilians are, proved to be true. Even though they had never met us before, they invited us to their home and made us laugh for a whole day. They talked business for a little bit, but soon forgot the subject. Then, it was only about their (very) funny stories, their travels and of course, the cultural differences between Portugal and Brazil. The man has businesses and houses spread throughout South America and he told us about how he was forced to move to BH. It seems like he was the 3rd on a list of people likely to get kidnapped in Brazil, so he had to run away and go live somewhere else. In the end of the afternoon they were our best friends and promised to invite us again and again!!!

Their house was next to Ouro Preto, a small colonial city where the Portuguese influence is obvious in its architecture. We went there just to have a look, but it was getting dark so I couldn’t see much. But, it was enough to see how pretty it is, I’ll definitely come back to visit it properly!

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Ouro Preto

The last thing I did this weekend was going to Usiminas Belas Artes, which is referred to as the “alternative cinema”, probably because it has foreigner movies (French and Spanish), with subtitles instead of doubled language. Plus, it has a library and a bar where people go for drinks before and after the movie!

Now it’s time to get back to work. Next weekend I’ll probably go to São Paulo for a music festival, we’ll see!!!