Monday, 22 February 2010

In Porto Alegre

Before I left Brazil in mid-February, I spent a few fabulous days in Porto Alegre. This was due to Elsa, a recently graduated psychologist and the younger daughter of my former Brazilian employers and friends, Ricardo and Takako, who showed me a city that, despite several previous visits, I did not know.

I felt sort of in a trance-like-state during the days I was there because I'm usually on my own and so have to organise everything myself but this time I happily followed Elsa who went with her own flow that included visiting friends brewing beer at home (it felt a bit like being in a drug laboratory), a Cechov performance (for free) at the Santander Cultural, having incredibly cheap 'filadelfias' (sushi) and excellent coffee in the Mercado Publico, coffee again in a park café and Guaraná (my favourite soft drink, only available in Brazil) on the top floor of a former hotel near the water, visiting the Cathedral and a church in the process of restauration (imagine that in Switzerland - you will be kicked off the premises immediately), going to used books stores where I found a tome by the wonderful Rubem Alves (in the regular store they had not heard of him!) and record stores (yet none of them had what I was looking for - Companhia do Calypso), strolling around Elsa's neighbourhood (half of it seemed to be jogging) and having lots of enjoyable conversations. I loved it! I felt truly enriched, it was better than anything that I could have imagined.

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