After making our way out of the immense mineshafts of Minas Passagem, hailing a bus back to Ouro Preto, and feeding our grumbling stomachs, Peder and I were left absolutely exhausted. And dusty. But we still had a couple hours of sunlight left, so we decided to head to an outdoors market and finally get our souvenir shopping out of the way. Although its mines may not be as active as they were three hundred years ago, the state of Minas Gerais is still Brazil’s capital of precious stones – and as such, virtually every street corner seems to have a shop or two selling crystals and diamonds and incredibly elaborate rock carvings of some kind or another.
We stocked up on items, popping briefly into a church whose interior looked as if it had been literally constructed of pure gold. For the second time I now found myself regretting my stupidity in neglecting to pack my old student ID card – How could I forget something as basic as that? Everywhere has student discounts these days. And I don’t think I’ve ever had someone notice the expiration date.
I decided to show him my PADI diving certification card instead. He stared blankly at it for a few seconds then charged me the student price.
Language barriers can be useful sometimes.
Then we returned for our obligatory early-evening nap. It ended up lasting until somewhere around midnight. By the time Peder woke me up to get showered and ready, I’d already lost all interest in going out. Would it really be worth making ourselves even more exhausted to sit in a quiet bar with ten local guys from midnight until closing at 1am?
But he insisted, and as usual I went along. I was grouchy.
My apologies for the grouchiness.
Not surprisingly, the night started out similarly to the previous – most streets empty, just a few bars with customers, virtually all of them male, old, and intoxicated. Thankfully Mr. Dirty was nowhere to be found.
We stood outside one of the town’s two populated bars considering our options, until suddenly a group of seven girls dressed like they’d just come from a wedding reception rounded the corner. Just try to imagine how out-of-place that looked. In a city full of drunk, dirty old men, SEVEN twenty-something-year old girls dressed in nice skirts and dresses.
We asked where the party was. They said something I couldn’t understand. Peder said he got it. We walked half a block to first check another spot we’d heard about earlier. It was dead.
“Dude, you want to just run and catch up with them?”
We caught up and chatted for a bit until they decided to take us with them to a frat party just a few blocks away. But the hosts wouldn’t have us. So they decided to throw our own little private party at their apartment instead.
They led us across town, unlocked the big wrought-iron gate, walked through, and re-locked it behind us. We proceeded upstairs. It was clearly a student dwelling, something like what a very small (and rather unmaintained) sorority house might look like in the US.
It turned out that’s exactly what it was. All seven of them lived there together.
The TV and stereo powered on. An entire crate of beers came out of the kitchen. A recently popular song called
Dança do Créu by MC Créu began blasting from their speakers. I can’t believe the neighbors didn’t complain.
Tássia showed us the Créu dance. If you can even call it a dance. For those of you who are Brazilian, you know what it means. For the rest, I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves.
On our last Friday night in Brazil, in a completely nightlife-less city with little more than a couple sleepy bars full of drunk old men, Peder and I partied until dawn in a sorority house with what must’ve been the only seven college girls still in Ouro Preto.
Remember how I said that I’ve never had as much fun or as many unexpected nights as since I became friends with Peder?
Grumpy or not, thank you for forcing me out of bed that night 🙂
(Note: This post was originally part of the next, later split into two.)