Friday, April 24, 2009

Guest blogger: Paul Rockley.

`Travel broadens the mind.´ Discuss.

That was an essay title given to me by an over-zealous prefect for some minor misdemeanor at school. I´ve no idea what inane drivel I produced to satiate his unreasonable demand for retribution. As I reflect on our time here in Brazil, I think there has been some mind-broadening through new experiences. Here´s some of the `firsts` that have happened to me in this amazing country.

1. Guest blogging.
Surprisingly more enjoyable than I expected. Not enough to make me want to persist, but worth the dabble. Thanks for reading. Both of you. And thanks too to O Gringo Maclurio for his kind permission and licence to blog.

2. Preaching to Brazilians.
I had a couple of different opportunities. Both very positive (for me at least). Another reminder to me that God uses our availability more than our ability.

3. Bodyboarding.
Exhilirating, but I needed some coaching first. I tried surfing as well. Ouch. It looks so easy on TV.

4. Watching ESPN.
This is a Brazilian channel which shows English football. I loved the passionate commentators and their uncanny ability to make saying the words `Goal´,` Rooney` and `Monshesterrr`(sic) last at least 3 minutes.

5. SKYPEing.
To Dave´s parents and some of his friends. It´s amazing to think this technology is available and doesn´t cost.

6. New fauna.
Including a basislisk lizard running upright on 2 legs right in front of me, humming birds, irridescent butterflies and frogs that go ´whoop´ instead of `ribit`.

7. New tastes.
Feijoada, acai ice cream, carne de sol, fresh papaya and caremallised cashews are some of the things that have made my tastebuds tingle.

8. The `louca loco`.
This was my name for a surreal road train ride along the seafront and surrounding streets of Fortaleza, accompanied by some Brazilian cartoon characters and Scooby Doo who kept jumping off and accosting innocent bystanders, all with a deafening kiddypop soundtrack. (Louca is Portuguese for ´mad`.)

9. Crazy stunts.
A hair-raising, white-knuckle, sand buggy ride, a 70m (that may be an exaggeration) vertical water slide and an even higher horizontal zip wire into a lake. I survived all of them. Intrepid, or what?

10. Visiting a sponsored child.
Humbling. Inspiring. Shocking. An immense privilege and very moving.

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