Today we went to practice capoeira as taught by a fifty three year old master/farmer.
Capoeira, if you didn’t know, is a martial art native to Brazil in it’s current form, but exists in some way shape or form all over Africa. It’s biggest influences include Ingolo, a martial art native to Angola. It was masqueraded as a dance to fool the slave masters of Brazil to let them practice in public, but in reality, it’s almost as reactive in nature as Jeet Kune Do, the martial art created by Bruce Lee. Essentially, you’re not supposed to hit your partner, and it’s all about attack, counter attack with incredibly creative blocks and evasions in between.
I forgot to bring my camera (I know right), but as I played tamborine and berimbau, an instrument native to Angola, my other colleagues played. That’s right, you play capoeira, not fight it.
Here’s an example of some people playing capoeira.
UPDATE: Here are some photos a friend of mine posted to Facebook that she took that day.
The guys playing capoeira who were instructing us were super cute and talented… I may have to return tomorrow after class for some instructing…
Oh, where was I? Ah, after class we returned to our respective homes to prepare for our next class. We received our workbooks today and I’m a little worried about the easiness of it all. Well, initially I was. Language learning is about repetition though, putting yourself out there and participating to the fullest. So while I initially thought the work would be too easy, I’m not as worried as I was before. Listening is a challenge, speaking is a challenge, and the language is not going to change. What’s the point in me attempting to learn college level Portuguese if I can only speak at a middle school level? I’m going to take my time.
And now, some things I’ve been leaving out.
I learned the other day from my Brazilian friend Chal, pronounced ‘cowl’ almost, that the way I wear my hair often is called a pinteado, pin-chee-ah-doo. Hairdo.
This pinteado often gets me stares and catcalls,
Secondly, today my host ma made this sorta chicken omelet thing. The last girl who she hosted, Carina, brought the concept of burrito with her, along with Sweet Baby Ray’s salsa. As a result, my host mother has been incorporating it into every other thing she cooks. It’s worked out every time.
Thirdly, Halls here is pretty big. You know Halls, the cough drop company? People eat cough drops here like candy, and as a result there are a lot of different flavors. I tried to buy one for my sore throat to put in my tea, looking for the honey lemon kind. They didn’t have honey-lemon, but they had honey-lime.
Not exactly the same, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Fourthly, there is a noticeable transgender population in Brazil. While at the concert yesterday, there was a group of them together, and one of them approached me in a kind of vogue-off. I got schooled, but he was super fly.
Lastly, strikes are common in Latin America, and currently the state of Bahia, where I’m at, is locked in an education strike. I’m trying my best to grasp the details, but my Portuguese is intermediate at best. From what I can tell is that it’s salary related, and teachers, who seem to be underpaid everywhere around the world, are refusing to work until salaries are raised. The latest governor of Bahia doesn’t seem like he’s gonna budge, and thus the strike enters it’s 88th day. It doesn’t affect me in the least, but at the Independence Day Parade, after noticing the anti-governor attitude, I asked my host mother (who happens to teach) why people didn’t like the governor, and she responded before I could finish the question with, ‘He’s the death of the education system in Bahia.’ and smiled!
I’m going to leave you with a quote from our capoeira instructor that I translated as,
“If you’re going to live well, live with art.” -He said this regarding the capoeira lifestyle of freedom, strength, and discipline. It’s an art. Live in art.
Okay, that’s all for now. There was more but I forgot. Alas, ate logo! Gonna do some homework!