Monday, September 21, 2009

More "EXCELLENT" adventures!

I DID do something big this past weekend, just like I had suspected. Only it wasn't really the result of my independent exploration; all I needed to do was sign a list. More on that in a moment.

Last week was really laid-back, just how I like it. Surprisingly, however, it didn't include a single swim in the ocean! Wednesday and Friday I did my normal beach boardwalk workouts, but that was as close as I got to the water. Tuesday was spent entirely in class. Yes, I met some more Brazilians and found them on Orkut. On Wednesday night we had a Brown-in-Brazil reunion at the Planetarium in front of the university. It was really fun to see everybody again all at once, and the coordinators were thrilled by the leaps and bounds we've made in our Portuguese. While we were hanging out and stuffing our faces with appetizers paid for by Brown University, something crazy happened in the tunnel that passes above the PUC entrance. All of a sudden we noticed that every car was stopped and that people were running out of the tunnel in absolute panic, abandoning their cars and tripping over each other. Everyone at the Planetarium was transfixed on the action. Several police cars showed up, blaring their sirens, but they couldn't get into the tunnel because of all the parked cars. After twenty minutes or so, people started to make their way back to their cars and the traffic cleared. The next morning in the newspaper I read that the panic was caused by an arrast√£o, literally a "trawl" (that big net fishing boats use to sweep up fish). This is a pretty common and very frightening tactic that thieves use to steal from large groups. Often a bunch of delinquent kids on the beach will run as a pack through the crowds, screaming and grabbing everything they can before disappearing into the city. One of my friends from the program almost got caught in one in Ipanema a few weeks ago, and he said it was terrifying. In the case of the tunnel last Wednesday night, drivers heard what they thought were gunshots, and then saw two motorcycles driving on the shoulder in the wrong direction. The motorists stopped immediately, got out of their cars so they wouldn't be trapped, and ran out of the tunnel. Kinda exciting, huh? Just another form of Brazilian nightlife.

On Friday I played pick-up soccer for a few hours with a couple friends and a bunch of barefoot teenagers. The level of play was pretty good, and I had a blast. One of the kids knew a few English words, and thought it would be funny to shout "EXCELLENT!" after every goal or good move. He was right; it was hilarious! Especially when he got nutmegged playing keeper and all his friends (from BOTH teams) yelled "EXCELLENT!!!"

I spent all of Saturday on a field trip for the international students at PUC. We met on campus at 6:45am and proceeded to fill three buses with 130 sleepy foreigners. The trip was to the Hotel Fazenda Arvoredo, a "leisure farm" two hours outside of Rio in a town called Barra do Piraí. We arrived, ate breakfast, went on a hike through the Atlantic rainforest, paddled a raft with bamboo poles, swam in the pool, ate lunch and then had until 7:30pm to do whatever we wanted. There was a ropes course, horseback riding, a gigantic slip-n-slide, volleyball, billiards, ping-pong, and a grass soccer field with goals and nets. I went straight for the soccer, and that's where I stayed. Fortunately for me, a lot of other guys did the same thing, so we played an 8-a-side tournament for hours. It could have been the World Cup with all those languages and cultures represented! I got home around 11pm and slept as well as I ever have.

Yesterday and today were devoted to indoor intellectual work. I spent a few hours planning my trip to Argentina and Montevideo in October, which is the most exciting type of research on Earth! There are SOOO many places I want to see, but I think I settled on this: bus from Rio to Iguazu Falls, bus from Iguazu to Buenos Aires, ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, daytrips to Colonia and Punta del Este, ferry from Montevideo back to Buenos Aires, daytrip to La Plata, and plane home from Buenos Aires to Rio. Hopefully my friend David will be able to travel with me, and I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get to spend some quality time with friends in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. I'll probably leave October 9th and come back around the 22nd. What about school, you say? Ahem. What about it?

Besides making travel plans, I've also been working feverishly on a new project for my internship with Giros Productions. It is my job, by next Saturday, to write a proposal to National Geographic Television for a $3 million documentary on rainforests. I have a basic proposal in Portuguese that I've translated, and now I need to add some missing elements and spice it up. The idea is that this documentary will coincide with a National Geographic Magazine cover story on rainforests, that it will have its 100-minute premier on the Sunday night before the magazine comes out, and that it will instantly increase global awareness of the need for environmentally sustainable practices in rainforests around the world. You remember how this director told me I was already working for National Geographic when I had my interview? Yeah, now it feels real. Wish me luck! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment