Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Itacaré - Brazil

The Place: In Bahia lies the small one street tourist town of Itacaré.
Some features: Beautiful beaches including one 'secret' beach called 'Prainha' which takes 45min to get to by trekking thru dense forestry. Capoeira every day as detailed below. Great surfing or at least body surfing for me. Also a great place to meet and hang out with other like minded people.

Amigos do Itacaré - Brasil

Good people: Top pic shows Mestre Jamaica on the left of me, Richard on the right, and some of the other capoeiristas. Together with Rich (from my capoeira group in London) took five portuguese classes (one a day) with profesora Márcia and got a great crash course in the language. Met some great people from other countries - Steve (aka Camarão cause of how burnt he got or 'Irish' cause, yep u guessed it), Liz (from Australia, who was given the nickname 'Risadinha' by Mestre Jamaica which means little laugh), Cole (an actor from Canada), Hana (from Brighton England), Captain Justin (from Canada who organised a legendary braai with chicken garlic and vegetable skewers for the hostel), Andy (Melbourne), and Ben and Shelley (from Perth whose claim to fame is getting held at gun point on Concha beach in Itacaré for 20 Reiais (+-£6) - silly gringos - heh heh). Good times.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Capoeira de Bahia - Brasil

The Place: In Itacaré (Bahia) watched some brilliant capoeira of the group ´Tribo´ run by Mestre Jamaica. Played in 4 of the rodas. (Which they have almost every second night). Trained daily on the beach with Mestre Jamaica which was a great experience, doing the movements facing the trees, seeing palm trees instead of walls, and ending the classes by practicing back somersaults into the soft sand.
The Rodas: Was first intimidating to play against these guys. As the pics show the brazilian capoeristas start from a really young age, in fact they even encouraged a baby of one and a half to play in the roda! In Itacaré alone ( a one street town) there are at least three capoeira schools. As a result the older guys are ripped and really good, jumping into spinning kicks (parafuso´s, fulhasecos (excuse spelling), and au sem mãos (cartwheels without hands)). But their style is not as aggressive as the Rio groups which means more time for showing off and less fear of being struck down, so playing was great fun! Saying that tho I did get a meialua to the chest playing one guy whose capoeira nickname means bullet.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ilhas de Paraty - Brasil

The Place: With 50 main Islands and 43 main beaches (excluding the beaches on the islands), Paraty is a great place to travel by boat, which is what we did. Spent a sunny day going from island to island, snorkelling a bit to see the huge starfish, collecting coconuts to drink their milk and messing about with dives, jumps and somersaults off the top of the boat into the clear sea water.

Festivities in Rio - Brazil

The event: During the carnival the Rio is full of festivities. There are blocos which are street parties happening throughout the week moving from area to area. This also gives areas a chance to throw there own parades with their own costumes and samba theme tunes if they're not competing at the sambadromo. The parties start early and go on throughout the night.
Went to the Laranjeiras bloco with Richard and followed the parade from the start to finish. It ended at a trendy spot in Baixo Gavea which is a good spot for brasilian students hang out for drinks. Went the next day with most of our group to check out the Copacabana and Ipanema blocos.

Rio Carnival - Brazil

The Event: Took part in the Rio Carnival by joining the Escola de Samba ´Salquiero´. Standing in formation and waiting for fireworks to signal us to move, we had a quick crash course on some of the words to sing along with the Salquiero theme samba song. On turning the corner into the main street with towering grandstands on the left, and high blocks on the right forming booths for supporters, the sound and the atmosphere was incredible. The samba beat thundered and the crowds sang along, while we walked/danced about 800m of the parade.
The Result: Salguiero came 2nd to ´Beija-Flor´ overall in the competition.

Town of Paraty - Brazil

The Place: Paraty is a very quaint town containing mostly old colonial style Portuguese houses and shops and a church. The town was formed after the discovery of gold in Minas Gerais. It´s now a very colourful tourist town with loads of paper mache and wooden artwork painted in bright colours. A very peaceful place to walk around and get lost in.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Making Berimbaus - Brazil

The Place: In Cachambi, the neighbourhood of Mestre Celso from our capoeira group, Engenho de Rainha, we met to learn how to make berimbaus.
Some features: Equipped with the gourds, wooden branches, tires (the wire for the berimbau is stripped from car tires) and tools, we made berimbau´s (the main instrument used in capoeira) under the guidance of one of the brazilian masters of our group, Mestre Mozart.
Was a proud moment (for us and our instructors) to have made one from scratch in the heart of Rio. A Brazilian momento which will be well used back home in our rodas.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Capoeira do Rio - Brazil

The training: Took capoeira classes with our group Engenho de Rainha, with Mestre Celso. Learnt rhythms of the berimbau, pandeiro and atabaque. Was great to play in roda's with the brazilians from our group since many of them are cordão amarelos, profesor's and contra mestre's in capoeira so the standard is much higher than in London.