Photo by Andrey Grinkevich
Originally about a long, long walk, the Camino de Santiago which I did in May 2009, walking nearly 800km. After a blogging break I am now back nattering about this and that.
Photo by Andrey Grinkevich
Another link with my distance past - when I was about ten years old our neighbours, an Australian chap and his American wife, had two children roughly the same age as myself and my brother. We were friends of sorts, mostly because of the proximity and the fact we were all foreigners. They had a small farm in the interior and we used to sometimes go there for the weekend which was great fun. The girl, N, and I never became bosom buddies but we rubbed along and frequented the same parties later as teenagers even after my family had moved away. Her brother, J, was slightly older and ran with a different crowd.
Eventually in our late teens our paths diverged, N went to Canada and I went to England. My brother, who remained in Brazil, oddly enough was to one day live with J´s ex-wife and child for a number of years and help bring up J´s daughter.
Anyway, roll on about forty years. I am back in Brazil and choose an area to live in and an apartment to buy because it is near where I work and I´m tired of a long commute. After living here for a few months who do I find lives in the same building as me? N of course!
There are four buildings in our condominium, she was not only living in my building but also the same wing, just four floors up from me, neighbours again. We caught up with each other´s news and used to chat when our paths crossed in the lift but after a couple of years N moved to another town and I doubt we´ll ever meet again, but what a coincidence.
The only form of exercise I really enjoy is walking. You can wind me up, set me off and I´ll keep going like a clockwork toy until the batteries run out. Unfortunately a long walk is not really an option where I live, but a couple of inactive pandemic years are taking their toll so it is time to do something about it.
I dislike doing 'regimented' exercise, I find it very boring, but needs must. If I want to maintain a certain level of fitness and be able to do more 800km walks in Spain I have to get moving. Use it or lose it, so they say...so I´ve joined a gym. I plan to just use the bike and treadmill initially and see how it goes.
Photo by Ryan de Hamer
There is a genre of music and dance here in Brazil called forró. It originates from the north of the country and the principal instrument is the accordion, plus types of drum. The couples dance close together to a fast rhythm with intricate steps.
There are two different suggestions for the origin of the name forró - one to do with the fact that in the original rustic dance halls the floor was of beaten earth so the dancers dragged their feet instead of lifting them to avoid raising dust.
The other explanation, which I find interesting, is that the name supposedly comes from the English words "for all". In the early 1900´s many British engineers and railwaymen came to Pernambuco in the north of Brazil to help construct the railways here. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere they entertained themselves by holding dances for local bigwigs. Occasionally these dances were opened to the public, with posters advertising they were "for all". The local populace began to pronounce this as forró, applying the name to the music and style of dancing as well. It is interesting how language evolves.
Some years ago I went on a group walking trip to an island down south. It was a lovely isolated place accessible only by a two-hour boat ride and with no cars or electricity. There we had a local guide who led us on some excellent walks. At some point she told me that there had been an English woman in a previous group who also came from São Paulo, and she wondered if I knew her. São Paulo has over twelve million inhabitants...I also didn´t know anybody called K but I gave the guide my phone number anyway and promptly forgot all about it.
A few weeks later I had a phone call from K who had been contacted by the guide. After some chat we managed to establish that we had known each other as young teenagers, about sixty years ago! Our parents were friends so we had frequented the same social events for a while until life moved on. We have since been on several walking trips together, including a couple back to the island, and she was also on the Machu Picchu trip. Small world.
My son took me yesterday for some blood tests as a follow-up to my recent operation...the doctor had requested thirty one tests!
Photo by Markus Spiske