The plane trip was looooong, but I really enjoyed it and made a few good friends. The longest flight was around 14 hours from New Zealand to Argentina, I didn't sleep a wink. Landing in Sao Paulo was so exciting, we were finally in Brazil! Some of the students would be living in Sao Paulo and so we had a fantastic welcoming party and many, many photos.
The remainder of us travelled through the city lights of Sao Paulo. we all oooh´ and 'aaaah'ed at the appropriate intervals as our rotary guide pointed to the amazing examples of wealth in the large city but we were really taken aback when possibly the most Australian of us all turned and said bluntly ´´shit. the favellas´
We all turned and there was my cultural experience right there in front of my eyes. It was where the poor in the city lived, it basically looked like somebody had dropped large crates and boxes in a pile and people started living there. There are no gaps, every space is filled, some houses don't have windows, a house with a window is just a wooden box with a hole in the wall. The most immense contrast between rich and poor I'd ever seen in one city, even on one street, some favellas were just placed where they could fit, like between high rise flats and 5 star hotels.
Finally we arrived at the homes of the Rotarians. Here we would spend the night, they lived with high security, like a little town inside a town. At the gate we were told it was like living inside a prison but after entering I think prison was the last thing on anybody's mind. It was a series of mansions with beautiful gardens, swimming pools and clean streets. We were dropped off in groups at the homes in which we would sleep before our final flights in the morning. Each group was dropped off at their identical mansion each with smiling, waving family out the front and swimming pool out the back. When we arrived we found showers and bed and slept.
Five in the morning and off to the airport,.... our final flight, We almost missed it because the boarding gate suddenly changed and none of us spoke Portuguese but luckily an old man helped us out and it was okay. It was a beautiful flight and I finally got my window seat. When we arrived in Joinville my family was right at front with flags and signs, we introduced ourselves, I spoke some bad Portuguese and English and finally drove to my new home.
There's my mother, Maria, she is adorable and does so much for me. My father, Wanderlei who is also lovely and is always telling jokes (probably about me, I don't understand) and laughs heaps. My eldest sister, Dani, twenty-six years old - speaks very little English and loves to bake and my other sister Manu who now lives and studies in a different city, she speaks better English and we have fun some weekends.) and of course, hello, who is super dooper radical and currently based in Korumburra, Gippsland, Victoria. District 9820.
School is soooooo boring, I have to wake up at 6:30 and get ready and walk to school to be there at 7:30. I sit in the same class room all day, every day and study Portuguese, read, write and try to get some sleep. The teachers are so strict and the desks so uncomfortable that even sleep becomes a challenge. i have some `friends` but really they are just nice to me. it's.. okay. DIFFERENT.
I haven't done anything super cultural yet. carnival was good, i went to Picarras with my family to our beach house and I went to Bali Hai (a high cred summer club) with Bonnie, a couple of her exchange friends, my host ´cousins´ Keisy and Ana and my sister Manu, it was lots of fun. I have sent photos, at about 4 in the morning the entire club was filled with foamy soap suds, it was fantastic, I almost drowned.
I spent the next few days and nights with my cousins (and favourite people in Brazil) in Picarras where we went to the beach, rode on a banana boat took an ´on beach dance class´ and went to many street parties with alot of cross dressers. I have also been to a pub with some school friends in Rio Negrinho, Cafe no Bule, the only place to go, open only on Fridays, it was very nice.
Also to Bonnie's in Jaragua and to London pub to see very good dj ´dj puff´ and most recently, this weekend I went to a pub called ´Bier´ with Keisy and Ana where we saw some reggae and listened to a D.J. I love the weekends.
I am NOT learning Portuguese so swiftly, it is soooooooo difficult. Oh well, I'll get it, that's enough for now.
My laptop has photos and it is currently lacking internet but I have sent this to Anne and I will send to you Gus when I get the internet back.
Thanks a heap District 9820,