Winter in Bonito

Apparently they were telling the truth when they said it gets cold here in July and I should have listened and packed more than a slightly thicker cardigan and a scarf! I shouldn’t really complain as it has also reached 30 in the last week, but after a huge thunderstorm the temperature plummeted and we’re all freezing. There was actually a frost predicted last night but as it is my day off I wasn’t getting up early enough to verify it! On the plus side, it’s sunny and 20 degrees today and apparently it starts to heat up again in August so I think I’ll survive till then.

A brilliant development is that I have been trained up as a ‘boia cross’ monitor (what apparently Americans call tubing but I have never heard this word before)! After 2 long training sessions, firstly snorkelling down the river to see all the dangers lurking below then secondly taking the boias down and repeatedly scrambling up, jumping down and getting to know every single rock that makes up every single waterfall and rapid. I was in heaven, always having had a strange obsession with waterfalls, but it was bloody exhausting! Since then I’ve been helping out as a guide whenever an extra pair of hands is needed. It’s great fun but is definitely a huge responsibility! Also, after just a week my arm muscles are growing at an alarming rate due to all the rowing needed to extract people stuck in the reeds or panicking when they think they see a cayman, at this rate I’m going to come back with the biceps of a weight lifter!

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Other than working hard, I’ve kept making some amazing friends here in Bonito. As it’s a tourist town it’s full of young people from both Bonito and all over Brazil working in the industry, so they’re always up for a party! I’ve been to two brilliant ones the last two weekends staying up till 5am both times, once having to get up for work at 6.45am, ouch. Everyone just dances like there is no tomorrow and drinks like it too, with whiskey by the bottle. One of them was a very Brazilian ‘country’ music night where I was the only obvious gringa in the room so justified my staying up till the early hours with the fact I was clearly absorbing the authentic local culture…

Other than actual parties I spend far too much time in the only two bars in town as there is very little else to do than go to a bar or sit in my room, and I am yet to master the art of ordering a soft drink! My fellow interns and I enjoyed a free trip to the Taboa Cachaca Factory the other night, I wanted to taste all 23 flavours but the fact that the others refused to drink on a Monday meant I only managed about 10 before they made me feel like an alcoholic! But it was free?! Student logic.

It’s not all fun and games, and I’m learning an awful lot more about myself and my shortcomings, especially the disadvantage of never having studied anything to do with business and having forgotten most of my IT lessons and suddenly having ended up in an internship in which I am expected to help manage stock and navigate a bookings system, all in Portuguese! Luckily however the other two are doing more useful degrees and so are helping me out and I’m sticking to the customer service side. I have had arguments with my fellow interns but despite our differences every time we fight and them make it up I learn how to handle them, see myself through their eyes and try to make an effort to change. I’m growing ;). I definitely have moments of homesickness, especially when it rains here or we have a quiet day and I dream of an afternoon tea or a summer country walk, but I keep very busy and get out and about as much as I can and remind myself how bloody lucky I am!

Lastly, the Portuguese has come on amazingly after just one month and I’m adoring it even more, even though the Spanish has continued to take a nose dive, I clearly only have mental space for one foreign language!

Until next time, over and out from chilly Brazil!

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Taboa!

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The mini-Brazilians I’ve been making friends with!

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