It occurred to us recently that we haven’t exactly chased the cultural side of life here in Brazil, however in many ways it’s found us nonetheless. You are possibly expecting stuff about people culture – graffiti, street performers, architecture, theatre, art etc – and there is certainly examples of all of that, but I’m going to digress and start right at the bottom with another kind of culture – very pervasive and of the micro sort. Yes, mould.

Despite all its other shortcomings, our first apartment was inhospitable to mould, being very light and airy, and we never had a problem. Friends would talk about the destruction of their clothes, the rotting foam in the cushions of their lounges and their spotty paintings, and we’d just nod. There were long conversations between others about ‘Mofos’ (always said as Mooofoooos, the same way Home Simpson says dooonuts, with a tiny bit of drool) where I honestly had no idea what they were talking about.

Apartments two and three were perhaps not so light and airy, but as we were there for such short stays, we were very good at ignoring any problems. However, this apartment – which is by far the nicest – is another matter and suffice to say the microbes have found us.

Mitchell's pencil case

Mitchell’s pencil case

Battle lines have been drawn and I now have enough information and field research results to write a PhD thesis on Mofos – plastic containers that miraculously fill up with water whilst inside your cupboards. They are our best friends.

But moving on up the cultural scale, things improve and we recently made an effort to seek more out by heading off for a day trip to a place called Petropolis. It is the old city where the ruling royal family would spend six months of their year – the hot months – out of Rio and up in the mountains. Although the country ceased being a monarchy sometime mid (ish) 20th century, (they were booted out by rich people who were annoyed by the abolition of slavery), Petropolis is viewed very nostalgically by the Brazilians and is well preserved with lovely old mansions that used to belong to the families of the court.

With this in mind, we did the traditional tourist thing and saw –

A church

A church

with some lovely stained glass

with some lovely stained glass

and a palace

and a palace

and some gardens with a big glass edifice thing in the middle

and some gardens with a big glass edifice thing in the middle

And then we ticked Petropolis off the list.

Which was just as well, because two days later we received news that we are coming home. Yes, it was quite abrupt in the end, as most postings to Brazil seem to be, but the client Gavin was working for ended their contract with his company and to cut a short story even shorter, we’re flying out on the 13th May.

We haven’t had a real chance to sit and think about it yet, but like the examples above, strongly suspect that there will be things about Brazil that we may not miss at all, but others that we’ve enjoyed and have left their mark. Most of all it will be the people we’ve met and who have become our friends. However, our time (and theirs) in Brazil was always going to be a discreet chapter, and despite the sadness of saying goodbye, there is also a lovely sense of anticipation and relief in coming home. Even coming home to a Melbourne winter, we’re still excited.

So this is the final blog post – Mirroring Melbourne both in title and probable content, doesn’t have the same appeal. Besides, we’d love to catch up face to face and hear how you are.

Thanks for reading and for all your comments. Tchau amigos and see you soon!

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