My desktop computer has recently gone on strike and refuses to boot up. Ugh! None of my solutions have fixed the problem and it looks like it will be off to the computer repair shop for us real soon here. Since we have the laptop, I am still getting my daily fix of connection with the world. However, the pictures we took with my family in Minas Gerais were safely stored on my desktop, not yet backed-up, and therefore, being withheld from me at the present moment. (insert heavy sigh)
We were a little all over the place after arriving in Belo Horizonte on Thursday night, September 4. Eric and I had a list of restaurants we wanted to take the family, along with a hefty supply of things to do and see.
We ended up being joined for supper on Friday night by a fabulous couple from Canada and their adorable 9 month old son who are considering a move to Belo Horizonte. We took them to one of our favorite restaurants, Bar Ideal, and all indulged in marvelous filet mignon and seasoned fries. Eric and I are (maybe selfishly) really hoping they end up making the move. We really enjoyed their company and it was so nice to go out and speak English with other people! (They were also the first "internet people" that I've actually met in person. They keep a blog as well, so it was interesting meeting people for the first time and already knowing so much about them already!)
We spent that next Saturday in Ouro Preto and Mariana touring the colonial cities, the churches with gold-covered interiors, and getting in our fair share of traversing the cobblestone hillsides.
On Sunday we decided to head out to Inhotim, which Eric and I hadn't even visited yet! It is at the end of a long dirt road outside of a little town about an hour away from Belo Horizonte. After the colorful journey there, we found acres of beautifully landscaped countryside sprinkled with a series of modern art galleries. Some of the art was quite unique, to say the least, but all very interesting. For us, the best part was probably the setting of the whole place. I can't imagine the staff it must require to keep that place up, but it was amazing! (Now would be a great place to insert any number of the fabulous photos we took. Dang technology!)
The next week, we stayed busy a little closer to town. Eric worked each day, but I had arranged to have substitutes for all of my English classes so I could spend my days showing everyone the sights of BH. Among other things, we took trips up to Pampulha Lake, walks to Praça da Liberdade, a drive out to Fazenda Vale Verde, and a stroll around Praça do Papa. I drove them around and showed them all the "must see" sights around town. They were also introduced to the Belo Horizonte traffic and aggressive driving. My dad made the comment that the Brasil people seemed to be some of the nicest people he had ever met . . . until they get behind the wheel and then they turn into the rudest, most aggressive people on earth. I couldn't really argue with that. Although it did remind me of how I was in the beginning here (totally scared for my life every time we got in the car) and made me realize how accustomed I'd become to it all. I don't think it is healthy that I consider the driving here normal now! While I tend to stay calm even as cars turn right out of the far left lane and across three lanes of traffic or as kids come darting out right in front of you into the road, the same couldn't really be said for my poor family. They were a smidgen on the nervous/edgy side to say the least!