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  Topic: Salvador
  2007-03-03 03:04:46
Folks! I have been here in Salvador for a month, and I think it's high time that I posted and told you all what it's like. I remember when I was thinking about coming here, I had absolutely no idea what to expect; in terms of development, capoeira, training, people, foreigners, tourists, language... I just knew that I was going to come and figure it out later.

The main thing I found out though is that coming to Brazil to train capoeira, though it seemed like such a big top-of-the-mountain kind of thing, is actually really not difficult at all. So I thought I would kind of describe what I have been getting up to, in case everyone else is as poorly informed as I was.

But where to start...

Well, this morning I woke up on the concrete floor of a pink house in a favela in Barbalho, a district about 20 minutes' walk from Pelourinho, the tourist centre. I was sleeping on the floor because in the middle of the night it started to rain and the wind was blowing the opposite direction it usually does, splashing the rain into the little alcove where I hang my hammock. So I came inside, quietly pushing aside the drum holding the door closed, so I didn't wake up one of my flatmates sleeping in the hammock in the main room. I laid my hammock on the floor and my blanket on that, and had an uncomfortable night. But that's the first time it's happened since I got here, and maybe the 10th or 15th night of rain (since my arrival), so that's not too bad. If it happens too much I will get another mattress.

When I woke up, one of my other flatmates was going to the supermarket up the road; I was too tired to think of anything I wanted, so I went and made some coffee while I waited for her to come back. Breakfast was bananas, guavas, fresh bread rolls from the bakery, mozzerella cheese, and I also fried up some of the sourdough bread I made the night before.

Then I had to decide between going to the midday FICA class and coming to the internet cafe to check on the status of a job I'm doing over the net for a company in the US; responsibility won out, plus there's another class tonight at 7:00 p.m., so that's OK.

When I get home I'll probably make a pot of feijoada, it's one of the cheapest meals you can make, all full of spicy sausage and cured meats, served up with a bit of fried manioc flour (like crunchy polenta) and some avocado maybe.

Ok, I'll stop talking about food! But having been a backpacker for so long, it's great to be able to talk about food again. Having a kitchen again is a great feeling.

The area I'm staying in is a nice neighbourhood -- lots of barking dogs, houses opening onto the street, friendly little mini-markets (mercadinhos) and things. We live in a housing project in a valley. You get down to the house by a series of dirt paths linking all the haphazard blocks of houses together. At the bottom of the valley there's a market garden with giant sprinklers and dudes hoeing fields and such. On the other side of the valley there's a house or a bar or something with a permanently on stereo that can be heard clearly from anywhere in the area due to the excellent acoustics of the valley. Luckily he has *three* different CDs -- one brazilian traditional music, one US hiphop, and one 80s classics. So no problems there!

I live with five or six French Canadians, most of whom are into capoeira and music, so we have some good jams and trainings. It's pretty relaxed, I don't pay for a room so I contribute 100 reais of food a month and organise the kitchen. (as well as makin the occasional cake -- oops, back onto food again!)

The walk to FICA takes about 40 minutes, and I haven't got tired of it yet in 100+ times I've walked it. There is always something new to see -- people hanging out on the street, crumbling old buildings, cool statues and churches and architecture, cobbled streets, and hand-laid mosaics in the footpaths, with the same basic pattern in mind but no two quite the same. At first you walk along narrow winding alleyways with buses caning past you on two wheels; then the alleys give way to an open bar in the street, at a popular meeting place called the Cruz de Pascoal. Past that is the tourist area, Pelourinho -- full of art shops, berimbau shops, people trying to sell you stuff, and (whispering) lots of food on the street.

I will go into the street food another time! In fact, I will add more to this long narrative later -- if I leave now (my hour is up at the internet) I can still catch the midday class, I've taken care of the business I wanted to take care of. But I'll be back later on for a bit of work and a bit more running my mouth (or keyboard) about Brazil! Hopefully this is not just too dull for words. I wanted to try to give a bit of an idea of what it's really like to live here.
  2007-03-04 21:07:03
Ooh...Minhoca...I sense some competition for my role as excessively verbose forum posty person, lol. Hehe, nah, it's all good, cool to hear about. Sounds cool though...can't wait to go there myself.
  2007-03-04 21:18:57
Hey Minhoca, thanks heaps for giving me "Food" for thought...hahaha.
  2007-03-06 04:58:21
Sorry, I had all sorts of good intentions to go on about the actual relevant capoeira parts of my day... but I haven't found time yet, every time I get on a computer I have other stuff to do, and who wants to spend all their time inside? I promise I'll get onto it soon.

  2007-03-06 07:19:26
Ok. Capoeira in Salvador! Again, it's hard to decide where to start.

For my first month here, I was having a bit of a hard time getting my head straight about how I was doing, with training. I hadn't been training for the whole year I was travelling, and while I was still able to do most of the movements I used to be able to do, my flow and imagination and general capoeira mojo was pretty rusty.

There were a lot of other things which made it harder. There's a bit of pressure being among a lot of much more advanced students; sometimes in pair exercises people can be a little less than understanding of your constant failure to figure out the movement.

Also, the capoeira at FICA is very much more... man, how to describe it. Explosive... volatile, perhaps. Especially in the roda, there's very much a get-that-guy feeling to the games, and that spills over into the lessons, sometimes. Of course, there is a balance, but it's much more over on the sudden-shocking-movement side than in a game at, say, Mestre Jo�o Pequeno's roda. So you notice right away if you've got a tendency to be vulnerable to a particular kind of rasteira or ben�ao at a particular moment. This all starts to make you tense up during a game.

And, just the general stress of setting up here, looking back on a year of peregrination and wondering what I'm going to do next, not having a solid foundation, not having any money, not having any mates except zee French... It bleeds into everything.

Lastly, of course, I knew that every time I made a mistake, Jesus was going to be emailing everyone going "oh man minhoca forgot how to ginga today it was classic, you should have seen the look on his little wormy face". So I had that pressure as well.

So it wasn't all fun and games, to start with. I often found myself feeling like I'd come all this way and I wasn't really "ready", that I wasn't learning anything because my basics had become (or always had been) so shoddy, etc, etc. This is the point where your web browser should start quietly playing sad violin music (click _here_ to install the "feeling sorry for myself" plugin)...

Hehe. Anyway. After about a month of this, I started to fit into life here more seamlessly. I was saying hi to a lot of people on the streets, I was going to more rodas and playing more decent games, and I was starting to understand several things that Mestre Valmir keeps saying, which sound simple but are really things you have to figure out for yourself rather than have explained to you. Just generally I felt like I knew where I was at, where I wanted to be, and I could see how I could get there.

Which brings us up to now.

So let me think, what are the actual interesting parts of this sermon?

Well, one obvious thing is the effect of exposure to several different schools of angola. I certainly wouldn't say that I can identify someone's school or "lineage" based on their game, but I could certainly say that as schools get further away in the family tree from Mestre Jo�o Pequeno, they become more dance-y, more unrestricted, and more aggressive. Brabo always used to get us to train a more loose and unpredictable ginga, but the average expressive ginga I ever saw in NZ is like a box step compared to some of the students here. Valmir, when he is fired up, bounces all over the place like Yoda in Episode 2. The capoeiristas wiggle, leap, goose-step, and sometimes go log-rolling along the floor to get an advantage. Mestre Moraes' roda is often similar, but to a slightly lesser extent. And at Jo�o Pequeno's, the atmosphere is positively dead by comparison. Everyone looks asleep, depressed or pissed off, depending on how good or bad a day it is. I'm sure that sometimes they perk up a bit, especially if the mestre is there, but it's definitely a different environment, focused on different things. There I found the movement much more familiar from NZ -- the kind of jogo-de-dentro sequences of rabos de arraias and negativas, the surprise movements more popping out of a slow and deliberate context, rather than at FICA where the surprise attacks are more likely to follow a barrage of quick and disorienting hand and foot movements.

This is all generalisation, by the way, I'm sure it's possible to find almost any style in any roda. But that brings me to another thing -- the way rodas are run here is much more hands-on than I remember. The mestres have their own opinions about how to do a given thing, and there's a lot higher likelihood that some visitor to the roda isn't going to know the style of the particular mestre. So you find a lot of feedback during a game. Players are brought back to the berimbau a lot more often, to be chastised for too much aggression, or to wait for a berimbau to be changed (never did I see so many snapped arames; Mestre Valmir's youngest son averages about 10 or 20 minutes to kill a viola string. One weekend he went through about six before Valmir sent him out of the bateria. But even so you need probably ten or twelve replacement strings to get through one FICA roda). Mestre Lua Rasta often stops the entire roda if he sees a movement he doesn't like -- too much grappling, or too much fast direct kicking, or even just a confused stop-start Mexican-standoff kind of situation that he feels was beneath the players, and he just stops everything and sings another ladainha for the next two players.

Oh man, Mestre Lua Rasta's roda. The dude is racist as hell and has a lot of opinions which probably get him into trouble, but his roda's probably one of the last of its kind. Every Friday at 10:00 or so, they come walking up from his instrument shop, playing instruments and walking in a line, the mestre at the front in brightly printed patterned pyjamas and gnarled grey dreadlocks, jigging along like a maniac. A good proportion of his singing is improvised commentary on the games going on -- seems to me like more than usual, but maybe it's just easier to pick when he's doing it because he points with the baqueta or the whole berimbau at whatever he's talking about, and gestures with his whole body. Last time I went, it was raining intermittently, so the roda was moved between a spot under a tree and a spot in the open about three times. Among the rants which he went on during the space of the roda were: white guys calling him "coroa" -- he insisted that white people have to call him "Senhor" or "Mestre" -- or people charging for capoeira lessons when in his opinion it should be free; a bunch of stuff I didn't catch about international capoeira and people who think street capoeira in bahia is dying, and, when his arame broke and he didn't have a spare, he spent the whole time while a student ran to get one from the shop berating the white people at the roda for not bringing arames or berimbaus, in the form of a chula to which people responded with less and less enthusiasm. ("Voce tem arame?!" "Ieee, voce tem arame, camara..." "Traze a proxima vez?" "Ieeee, a proxima vez, camara". Or something like that.)

I have to do some work now; I have no idea if these stories make any sense or not. Also I hope no one feels like I'm trying to compare capoeira here and capoeira in NZ favourably or unfavourably; I am just trying to describe what my subjective experience has been.

Anyway. Talk talk talk! Till next time, folks.
  2007-03-14 00:46:25
Ah Minhoca, it's nice to hear stories from Salvador. But if you even dream of starting to feel sorry for yourself again you better wake up and apologise; there are those of us here who would gladly change places in a second.

How many times have you been to Mestre Joao Pequeno's roda? I know what you mean about the atmosphere usually being subdued in comparison to FICA, but I remember a few rodas where it was seriously electrified - strangely enough, it was usually when they had a visitor or 2 from elsewhere like Mestre Lua Rasta's group or FICA. One guy from FICA got into a heated game with a student of Mestre JP's from Italy and the room pratically exploded when the Italian guy landed a Rabo de Arraia that would have taken the FICA students head off if it was 10cm closer.

Still, I would have to say that my favourite memories of rodas are from Mestre Valmir's and Mestre Lua Rasta's. Make sure you make the most of it if you have a chance to visit some rodas during special holidays or festivals. The Mestre Moraes' and Mestre Valmir's rodas on 20th November 2004 were incredible, and the FICA roda for the Festa de Santa Barbara/Iansa was the best roda I've ever attended.

Now I'm just getting all nostalgic. Good luck for your work searching. Say hi to Ina from me and tell her I got her email and will get back to her soon. Paz ate proxima
  2007-03-14 01:57:05
I just thought I'd just drop this in to say that if you have time there are lots of other group running rodas over there, and it really helps if you are comfortable to visit other groups like Filhos de Angola (Mestre Roberval em Salvador very very very good), see if you can find Mestre Augusto (Cidade Baixa). There are also a lot of really good good groups and teacher in Cidade Baixa.

Further out there's also ACUPE, ACANE, Mestre Ras Ciro de Joao Pequeno, Mestre Barbara Branca, Mestre No (He's one of the greats and his group is really cool) and Contra Mestre Boca de Rio (he's visiting London next week) there's also a Mestre teaching over in Ilha de Itaparica called Mestre Marcelo Angola, a super player and some firy capoeira he's assocaited with Mestre Lua Rasta and has just arrived back and also of course Mestre Lua de Bobo in Arembepe.

Even if you just go and look you'll see the mass diversity of the capoeira (angola even) from over there in contrasting and differing ways.
  2007-03-21 11:27:51
ahh! congrats for making this far Minhoca,salvador is somewhere every dedicated capoeirista should visit sometime in their life for sure.not sure if i should enter an opinion about M. lua rasta...na ill just say he was good to me especially his group of students.
you must visit Cabello and tisza.Or when you feell like time out,travel down to chapada dia mantina,[lencois].beutifull place with beutifull people,let me know if you decide to go,i have friends who live there[from NZ!] who i am sure would love to have a kiwi around.ticket should cost 35 reais 1way and the trip is six hours overnight.word of advice,TAKE THE OVERNIGHT BUS! those bus drivers are mad! and for sure you do not want to see how they get around slower vehicles,or avoid pot-holes!enjoy Brasil.
  2007-05-08 15:42:20
Hey, I don't remember seeing these replies here... now that it is like 3 months later :P

Zigue: I went to JP's roda about five or six times; I have to confess I was a bit intimidated by Moraes' roda to start with. I just didn't feel like I had the level to play there; I went once and kept getting kicked in the face so I found it hard to relax. I have recently been back and I actually played the same guy, but I was able to hold it together enough to not get thrashed. I didn't take too many opportunities to do much other than rabo de arraia, but to be fair to me, the dude is like the Terminator, he has zero fun in his game and just lives to shut the other guy down. I'm not sure what kind of game makes him open up a bit, but it is certainly not mine. But I was able to play, and next time I'll play someone else! Moraes' roda in general is amazing, always high energy, I'm sure you have a lot of good memories of it.

Anyway, JP's is almost always dead on Saturday nights, except when the mestre is there, when there is lots more people; but still there is not particularly much energy. I heard from Jesus that his birthday roda was pretty special, but I wasn't here for that. There was also a roda on Mestre Pastinha's birthday, but I missed it unfortunately. I'll keep an eye on things.

Apparently the mestre is usually present on Tuesdays, but the roda then is at the same time as the FICA class; perhaps I will skip training sometime and go and check it out, but if it's the same as Saturday I think it will not really be worth it. It's not a bad roda, and if you play someone good of course you learn a lot, but I just feel like it's not really my cup of tea, the style they play there usually. I enjoy the more improvisational, fluid games a lot more. There it is usually quite perfunctory, I think I could say -- a lot of negativas and queda de rins, and then someone gets an advantage on someone else and it's as if they stop and say "oh, well done" in a british accent and then voltam ao mundo. What can I say, I haven't really seen the best of the roda. I still like it, and the people there are really nice compared to most other places, but when it is at the same time as something else I wouldn't really rush to go, having seen it as it is quite well.

Mestre Lua Rasta's roda... Well, I know a lot of people have great memories of the guy, and let me say first that he was great the first time I went to his roda, but all the following times were almost as bad as a roda in Auckland on a cloudy day when everyone "forgot" to make it. Hardly enough people to make a roda, zero energy... I think something must have been going on in his life outside or something like that. I will go and check it out again this Friday now that it's been a bit of time. I certainly have a lot of respect for the guy, and I feel really happy to have seen him at his best that one time, but all the subsequent times were almost painful. So yeah, definitely think there must have been something going on that I was unaware about.

Mugunza: thanks heaps for the list of mestres there! I have really been quite head-down working on my basics the past couple of months, but now I'm at the half-way point and I'm really thinking about branching out, checking out the other schools and so forth. I will ask around about the names you've mentioned and see if I can dig up some addresses and times.

Of the list you've mentioned, I have met Mestre Boca de Rio, who has come to FICA a couple of times, and also I am going to Itaparica shortly to train with Marcelo Angola, if the plan comes through; a friend of mine is good friends with Marcelo, they trained together when Marcelo went to Scotland. and I think it will work out to train there, and also be a really perfect break from what I've been focusing on. I have been wanting to look up Mestre No for a while, too.

putumuju: I hope to visit Cabello's place when I leave Salvador; my plan at the moment is to stay in Salvador where I have sort of established myself, and branch out from here, rather than start again in a new place such as Rio until I'm just about ready to leave. So in July there is the yearly FICA event in Rio, and I plan to spend a lazy couple of weeks heading down the coast checking out a few things, then train in Rio for a couple of weeks to see who I can find down there. It is my fond hope that by that time my game will be worth having in a roda; at the moment I would still describe it as: unremarkable :) But I have learned so much, not just what to train but how to train, what to hope for in a year, in two years, in ten years... it has definitely been the experience of a lifetime, after a bit of a false start.

I went to Chapada with a couple of friends, but I got sick 3 hours into the bloody trek and stayed sick with a high fever for the whole time. So I might go back, I might not; if I do though it would be cool to meet up with your friends. I would have to say about Brazil that it feels like having contacts really make or break the place. Just having a reason to even say hi to somebody for someone else really breaks the foreigner-ice; although also now that I've been here for a while, I'm finding that less difficult, with more language facility and more understanding of the culture. Maybe it was a mistake coming directly to Salvador and staying here for so long, but you have to start somewhere. Anyway, whether or not I made some mistakes at the beginning, I feel much better these days, and I'm really looking forward to the next three months.

And the ticket to Chapada is 43 reais these days :) the buses are just insanely expensive for anywhere you want to go

Once again, thanks heaps for these responses, and I'm really embarrassed that I didn't see them for so long! I'm going to try to write again later as a bit of an update of what else in general has been going on, after Joe reminded me that maybe a few people would be keen to hear about goings on here ;)

I hear only good things about how things are going back home, and I really miss everyone; looking forward to getting back, around Christmas.

Abra�as por todos,

  2007-05-08 15:44:38
Oh yeah: whatever happened to Emilio? I sent him an email and never heard back, and also Ina was originally in touch with him, and was setting up to come and stay with him, and then he just disappeared off the face of the earth. Does anyone know what he's up to?
  2007-05-08 23:46:48
Hey Minhoca,

I was just in Scotland last weekend and I saw Dion the guy who teaches there and his group Mao No Chao. Who is your friend from Scotland? it's not Sandy is it?

Good luck visiting all those places and make sure you take your time when you visit and be careful. Some of the schools have spent time on producing 1 or 2 really really really good students as opposed to a big school, meaning they are dangerous as ever. Mestre Roberval's music is all class, it's beautiful.

It sounds like you are having a great time over there and hopefully I'll be seeing you in New Zealand next year sometime. Enjoy.

If you go to Rio have a look at Mestre Marroms Group, Marrom and Alunos, very very good and you'll learn alot there especially if Marrom is teaching. His classes are pair based and have alot to do with the 'game' itself and a lesser focus on movements, gymanastics etc...There's also Mestre Manuel both of which visit the street roda in Caxias. You got to know that this is street roda proper, anyone can turn and play from anywhere and you could play for any length of time.

Best of luck.



  2007-05-09 04:25:43
Heh, it is indeed Sandy! He's been here for 4 months, training at FICA and also with a guy Mestre Claudio in a town up north called something like Feira de Santana.

Good call on the caution when visiting another roda -- I have heard a few stories and had a few experiences, and I definitely try to err on the side of showing as much respect as possible for the other person and trying not to piss them off or act like I have chops that I don't have. I mean, on the one hand, it's kind of a pity not to make the game as interesting as possible; but on the other hand, I think it can be quite easy for your questions to write checks that your answers can't cash, and some of those armadas are mighty quick :)
  2007-05-09 08:10:35
Man it's a small world sometime huh?

It's quite skill figuring out if you have any length of rope to play strangers with. The more play the less I seem to know for sure, especially with some of those guys/girls that have been kicking around for 10-15 years. Like the guy I played last weekend. I spent a lot of time avoiding the ground.

Catch u up ;]

  2007-05-09 13:56:53
Nice to hear of Salvador again as always. I know what you mean about Mestre Moraes' roda, it's always amazing but can be quite intimidating. It's a shame to hear that Mestre Lua Rasta's roda was somewhat lacking, when I was there it did fluctuate, but it fluctuated between 'very good' and 'incredible'. I'd definitely recommend Mestre Ras Ciro (one of those that Mungunza mentioned), except of course that his capoeira is directly from Mestre Joao Pequeno so if that's not your cup of tea then maybe not. It's true what Mungunza said about seeing the diversity of Capoeira Angola in Salvador, I believe that's a large part of the beauty of it, but if you've found something that suits you then there's nothing wrong with sticking to that, and I personally feel that you don't really get any capoeira better than that at FICA Salvador :-)
  2007-05-11 15:22:33
i agree with the Zigs,stick to what you feel comfortable with.I definately think i should have spent more time training with other groups such as the ones mentioned,but i was comfortable training with M lua rastas group...thing is when i was there they definately had the energy going on so,it is sad to hear it is lost in the group.

  2007-05-11 23:50:58
Oh I just thought I'd say, it's best to train with one group. But visit the rodas of other schools if you can.

  2007-05-23 00:08:09
Hey Minhoca,

Have you made it to the Ilha yet? Is Mestre Marcelo there?

  2007-05-29 03:37:07

Was on Itaparica last week, training with Mestre Caboclo. Marcelo is currently out of action, his mother is ill and he's with her in Salvador, I think. Training with Caboclo is fun and relaxed, but outside the academy he can be kind of spaced out and he is also a bit moody. Heh, but what do you expect from a 50-something rastafarian capoeirista.

I'm over there with Sandy though and it's just good to be training one on one and focusing on that. I think I will go over for this week as well, or maybe just a few days, and then that will be that.

I have to decide what to do with myself now -- I have had some grand ideas, but I think my timing is off. I have a three week project coming up with the internet work I've been doing, so travelling around will have to wait till after that's done. I have a laptop arriving from new zealand, but it will only get to me *after* the project is done. Whoops! Be good for the future though.

So I'm in Salvador for another month, more or less; I want to really try to get to some of these other groups you've mentioned, but I'm finding information a little thin on the ground. Any ideas for how to track them down? So far I have only visited Jo�o Pequeno (whose rodas have picked up a little in recent times), Moraes, Lua Rasta, and ABC -- I know where I can find Mestre Curio and Mestre Boca do Rio; and I found addresses for ACANNE and Mestre Barba Branca, but I can't seem to find out where Mestre N� might train or have a roda. Someone at FICA ought to know.


  2007-06-04 15:05:21
hey ziggs whens the next time your off to brazil?
  2007-06-06 04:02:06
Hey Minhoca,

If you see Marcelo tell him Mungunza sends him a big hug, I havent seen him since he was here around december last year.

Sandy really hooked us up in Scotland, in fact I think I still got his house keys but can you tell him that his cellphone number never worked!

If you ask around you should be o.k. I reckon Mestre No's is excellent and try not to miss him.

If you are really keen to see something quite local then if your at the FICA roda on saturday morning sometimes these guys visit from a school called ACUPE. They wear black trousers and white t-shirts and name of their Mestre is Marrom (yeah another one). You could if wanted to chat to them so they can help you get there, other wise it's pretty hard to find. It's next in Ladeira de Brotas next door to Cosme Begfarias.

Mestre Rene is crazy man, he'll play with you and tell you how he's gonna get you, then he does. Dammit!

If there's anything else, just let me know.

Awesome, yes I'm jealous, but also i'm still enjoying the taste of Guiness.

Peace out.
  2007-06-18 14:01:48
Hey Ra,
Depends mostly on the dollar really bro! I'm super keen to get back there and stay for a longer amount of time but right now I couldn't even afford half the airfare, let alone living costs. Still, where there's a will, there's a way, right? What about you, any plans for a Brazil OE in the foreseeable future?

Hey Mungunza, is the Mestre Marrom you're talking about different to the ex-Senzala Mestre Marrom in Rio? Some friends told me about Mestre Marrom's group when I was in Salvador but I figured it was the same guy with a second branch out of Rio. Seems I was mistaken...
  2007-06-20 19:36:20
Yeah he's a different Marrom. He used to train with Joao Pequeno so the pace of the music played his bateria is different, I got one of C.D.s. he has a student called Chorao and he teaches in the states. Man he is something, you may find him on U-Tube or something.
  2007-12-30 18:04:50
Mestre Marrom in Bahia is now a fugitive from the law. He murdered his cousin in broad daylight. The neighborhood burned the academy down. It is not functioning any longer
  2008-01-02 19:28:21
Is there any proof of this?
Oi Mr "truth" where did you find this out?
With the amount of randoms and spam that is posted on these forums I have to ask this instead of just believing what any old person says.

  2008-01-03 03:13:11
Yeah i heard something happened, I'm not too sure what though...heavy

Happy New Year ya'll
  2008-01-04 00:12:01
hey ziggs i would like my Portuguese to be alot better before i shoot off lol
  2008-01-04 03:45:13

Are you off to Brasil or am I reading between the lines too much?

  2008-01-08 00:13:37
hopefully in august ,(thats if that group is still going) but to tell you the truth i'm abit scared to go alone. i dont know enough of the lingo.,or hw they roll. does cabello still run those workshop's over there?
  2008-01-09 05:20:07
You'll be cool man, I didn't know too much when left, but hey...do you know where you are going and stuff, I could help you out with a few of the places I 've been too. If you want to send me your number to [email protected], I could give you a call and help you best as i can...Especially if you want to train more regional than angola...
  2008-01-18 18:51:38
You can learn portuguese on the ground, it's OK. I didn't really know that much when I got there, just what I knew from songs. You can refer to a notebook or dictionary if you have to, but getting your point across is not that hard, and from doing that every day you'll soon be conversing. You could also start by training at a more tourist-friendly academy that will speak a bit of english to you, and also at an english-friendly hostel, and then when you get better you can branch out. It is as difficult or as easy as you want it to be, really. In Salvador, I can recommend the Nega Maluca hostel, you can pay 10 us a day including breakfast, or if you are staying long term you can work there and stay for free. Not sure if they need to you to speak the language if you work there, but it's mostly foreigners so probably not. Either way, 10 a day is not that much seeing as you don't have to spend that much more if you don't want to. Food is cheap as and they've got a kitchen and internet there for free. Be a good start. Otherwise in Rio you're even better off, English is way easier to encounter there. Similarly there's a hostel I was staying at for 7.50 US a day, no breakfast, but kitchen and pool... just up from the Escada de Selaron, a kind of famous Rio landmark in Lapa. Honestly you don't need to worry about portuguese, when it's a matter of life and death you'll be amazed what you can remember from obscure verses of Parana E :) And it's far easier to learn once you're there than try to do an hour every night back home or something. Brazil's pretty fine, by and large -- in terms of average people being genuinely open and friendly, I found them a bit less forthcoming than other countries in the region, but it's not like they're intolerant or won't help you. And you'll always meet a few gems. One other thing I would say (this all is based solely on my own experience and not intended to be a generalisation, everyone's different!) is I think I had an expectation from capoeira groups in other countries that there would be a certain level of "brotherhood" in capoeira, but inside brazil it's much more hit and miss than other places. Some academies are really welcoming, but others can be a bit sterile, like you're just there to train. But bearing that in mind, you'll easily be able to find what you're looking for.

Good! If you go to Salvador do get in touch with me, at [email protected] -- I'd be happy to just have a chat about what it's like. Helps heaps, eh :)
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