So although my mom had said there was good internet here at Quinta da Paz, she was mistaken, because I’m writing this on word and sometime after dinner and after our movie I’ll use the dial-up to connect and post this.
This morning we woke up at 8:30 and got a 9:30 bus from São José dos Campos to Rio de Janerio, and then from there to Petrópolis. It was funny seeing the contrast between Rio and São Paulo—the rodoviária we went to was (I think) the main one of Rio, and is huge, with more than 70 “gates” if you will. But the entire thing is falling apart—there is construction all over the place, the escalators were nearly all broken, the paint was chipping off the walls so badly that at times you couldn’t tell if the real color was the paint or the wall underneath. Also it’s a lot hotter there and so people walk around quite often with very few clothes on, something ppl in São Paulo are a bit too uptight for. HOWEVER, while the building itself makes no aspirations to beauty, it was much cleaner than places in São Paulo. São Paulo has nice architecture and its buildings, in this case the rodoviária that I was comparing, are bright and new and well layed out (word is telling me that it should be “laid” but that doesn’t look right…). But they’re dirty. We all know I’m short and my pants are always too long for me, and walking around in São Paulo on any given day would get the bottoms of my pants up to my shins just disgustingly gross. So yea. Rio has its natural beauty so it doesn’t need these gorgeous buildings I guess, not that the buildings in São Paulo really help its inherent ugliness very much, but you get the idea. Even the outsides of buildings in Rio are shabby, and graffiti covers most of some of them and big parts of the rest. But driving through the city, my heart was happy. This is the Brazil I love. São Paulo really got me down a lot, I hate that city, but after being there I see Rio through new eyes—I see its failings and its beauty better now—being able to compare the two really was useful.
So like I said, we’re at Quinta now, which is the sort of “main house” of my mom’s side of the family, and is in Petrópolis. Petrópolis is an hour outside of Rio, high up in the mountains, making it lots colder and wetter. It’s called the Imperial City and there is a palace here, because Brazil had two emperors back a long time ago (Don Pedro I and Don Pedro II) and this was their vacation home to get away from Rio’s incessant heat. It’s in the mountains so it’s spread out and a bit hard to get from one part to the other, but I really really like it here. Our house isn’t in Petrópolis proper, but in Corréas, a bairro outside of the city but still within the municipality. As you drive you don’t ever feel a break from the city, so it’s all the same as far as I’m concerned.
My grandfather, Volamino, as my family calls him (the nickname stems from my older brother not being able to say Vô Padrinho when he was little, meaning grandfather/godfather), picked us up from the rodoviária here and we arrived a couple of hours ago to greet my Tia Nená and Titia, who both live here, along with Célia, the maid who we all love. Blungo, the golden retriever of gargantuan proportions that they have didn’t even get up to greet us until we called him over, and later on I was throwing his little toy thing for him to fetch and after 5 times he looked at me and plopped down, hahaha. Stupid dog, I really don’t like him that much.
It’s really nice to be back here though. When I lived here in Brazil for four months 2.5 years ago, this is where I was most of the time, and again a year ago when I brought my friend Ceci for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. So I know this place and the surrounding area pretty well, and it’s always wonderful to return somewhere where you’ve been absent for a long time. =]
Soooo yep. Tomorrow some cousins—Inês, Marina and Júlia—are coming up from Rio for a visit (they’re there for a while but they live in Belo Horizonte) and so we’ll conbinar with them about when, where and how we’ll go to Rio within these next few days. We’ll probably go down Thursday and spend most of the weekend there, but the São José clan is getting here on Saturday and we want to spend time with them of course so maybe we’ll come back Saturday, I’m not sure.
This is probably huge, typing it on word doesn’t help my sense of when to stop, but I just hit the second page and it’s single spaced, so maybe I’ll shut up now. I think I’ll go sort out my clothes, because I have almost no more because we haven’t done laundry in a looooong time. It sucks here in Brazil because things have to air dry and that takes a few days, so you have to be staying somewhere for a while, and knowing that at the beginning, in order to wash any clothes. Our recent hopping around, therefore, has made it so that I’m not wearing the cleanest jeans right now. Hehee.
Love to all.