My first impression of the town? When we arrived to the main square, I felt like I had landed right into Garcia Marquez’s hometown, Aracataca.
02.02.2008 - 18.02.2008
I started packing my bags very late at night. I had had so much to do during the week with work and everything that it was almost 9:00 pm, when I had to leave home from the airport. I ended up almost losing the flight. While I was running through the airport towards gate 26 at the end of the terminal, a scene from Home Alone jumped to my head. The only difference was that I was traveling alone and not with my entire family, and there was no Christmas music on the background. It surely would have been funny that there were.
Right next to me on the plane sat a Brazilian guy who had stayed 3 days in Peru for work and was pretty chatty. It was definitely a good thing because I practiced for about two hours how to talk to someone who didn’t understand a word I was saying. I hadn’t had a chance to study Portuguese nor had I a dictionary so I was going to defend myself as I could. I would still have my Brazilian Spanish talking boyfriend to translate for me though.
I arrived at Guarulhos International Airport at 09:00 am local time. It was 6:00 am in Peru and since I normally don’t sleep in planes unless there is turbulence (yeah, that is right; I like the feeling), I was very tired. I was very nervous as I picked up my bags and went towards the exit gate. Why? I hadn’t seen my boyfriend in 3 weeks since he came back to lie to Brazil, and he was picking me up with his dad. Furthermore, we were going to be in the same car for the next 6 hours and obviously his dad didn’t speak Spanish.
The roads in Brazil unlike the three highways that we have in Peru are in pretty good shape and very well signalized. I think I could have been able to rent a car and drive by myself, but given that I didn’t speak the language, I preferred not to. There are stops all the way with restaurants and gas stations and the view is really impressive. Here everything is green; there are no desert like mountains. At one of the restaurants we stopped, I was able to try the Guarana Antartica, a local soda which was recommended by a friend and it was very good. It is similar to the one we have in Peru but less orange.
We arrived at Oliveira during the afternoon. My first impression of the town? When we arrived to the main square, I felt like I had landed right into Garcia Marquez’s hometown, Aracataca. The town was small, most buildings around the plaza where old and had one story only. There was a church on one end but it was close because of the festivities, and the plaza itself was decorated, the music was loud and people were walking around and drinking beer.
My boyfriends grandma’s house was one of the last ones to stand there, since most of the buildings around were now businesses. The plaza was actually closed for cars, so we had to show a special permit to be allowed through. The house itself was again old, wood floors, high ceilings and an orchard in the back. The main area even though it was also the smallest one was the kitchen, were everyone sat to drink beer, and where I was cornered and questioned.
I slept through most of the afternoon. I woke up in time to see the rain falling strongly upon the ground. I am not used to this kind of rain since in Lima we only have very few sprinkles, so I sat next to the dining room window watching it fall. At around 11 we dressed up and headed towards one of the streets next to the plaza were everything goes on. This street known as Rua Direita is were the local club or meeting place is. The street was packed with people from one end to the other. The main event was the band playing just outside the club. You could stand there in the crowd like most people or go into the club and/or the house just across the street from it that was rented for the occasion and had been conveniently named Carnacasa or Carnival House. People were ecstatic, jumping up and down and joining in the songs. I didn’t understand a word of them, but they were pretty catchy. If you are not into Brazilian music so much, you should definitely try the House. There was taped music and I heard a couple of mixes in English.
Most people I have met so far in Brazil don’t speak English, especially in a tiny city like Oliveira so if you do come here, definitely learn Portuguese or bring someone that can translate for you. I didn’t see much tourist activity here but I did notice a small hotel right in front of the plaza in case you need somewhere to crash. Its name was Banderiantes. I didn’t check it out but I would guess it would be the best choice (even with the loud music all day long).
One thing that I found funny was that most guys carried a bag pack with there own alcohol so they just sipped the drink through a long straw.
I didn’t stay out long this day because I was still beaten up from the long trip but most people stay up every day for five days in a row until six am and I have to say that I wasn’t prepared at all for this rhythm.