Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sunday in Piracicaba

Sunday in Piracicaba

Sunday did not start out well here in the provinces.  I was thwarted by a “getting into shape” injury.  I strained my hip flexors.  OUCH.  During my gym workouts last week I put too much strain on my hip flexors when I should have been using my abdominal muscles.  I should know better by now. 

The problem started when I tried to get out of bed.  Whoops.  Couldn’t do that.  Tried moving my legs slowly sideways to minimize bending in the waist/hip area – that seemed to be the place that was screaming at me.  Partly successful.  I called my doting husband, Jeff.  I needed help and sympathy. 

He walked into our bedroom innocently inquiring as to whether I was ready for my coffee.  Yes I responded but I’ve got a problem.  I can’t stand up or even get out of bed without it killing me I said.  The dear man smiled at me and asked if I would like my coffee in bed.  It was Sunday after all.  No.  I insisted on getting up and, using extreme caution, I walked to my station. 

To explain, Jeff and I have preferred places in our apartment and in our house in Seattle.  A few years ago one of us started calling them our “stations.”  The name has stuck.  Think about it.  As you age and frankly even when you’re young, you spend a lot of time at home sitting in your favorite place.  Everyone has a favorite place.  Maybe it’s your bed; or the couch; or a futon on the floor; or an easy chair.  Where ever it is, that is your station. 

My station in our Brazilian apartment is a nice wood-framed upholstered chair.  It faces north, parallel to our living room balcony.  I like this place both for its comfortable support, for its view and for the way the light shines over my left shoulder.  Within a couple of days of our arrival, this spot became my station.  

But Sunday morning – not a good space either at my station or anywhere else.  I sat down very carefully and Jeff handed me a big cup of steamed milk and coffee.  That kind of service makes for a happy marriage!  He asked me what was wrong.  I honestly didn’t know.  All I knew was that I could barely move.  To be fair, my strain was not serious and it has only take a few days to recover  Minor stresses and strains go with the territory of getting and being in shape regardless of age!    

The delicious café com leche helped offset my wounded bear status.  It was Sunday and we decided to treat ourselves to a fancy breakfast.  Normally we eat granola or oats (in a never ending effort to keep our fiber intake up), yogurt and fruit for breakfast.  But today we decided on something a little more exciting.  Jeff went off to the local padaria (bakery) and returned with fresh rolls and sliced calabresa.  We already had fresh eggs from our friends’ farm in the fridge.  Given my inability to move without wincing, Jeff did the work.  He cut up a ripe mango, scrambled several eggs and served them up with the fresh rolls, calabresa and butter.  I seriously doubt there was any fiber in the whole meal unless mangos have fiber.  I hope they do.  Either way it was delicious. 

Around 2 pm we decided to go for a walk.  Perhaps some light activity would help loosen my hips.  It was a glorious day – the sky was azure blue with nary a cloud to be seen.  We put on our walking sandals and left our apartment.

Piracicaba is an old city built on the banks of the Rio Piracicaba in the center of rich agricultural lands.  The river is about 3 kilometers from our apartment – a nice distance but not too far for my hips.  It was a hot but lovely walk through narrow streets along mosaic sidewalks past old colonial houses and new apartment buildings.  The streets were almost deserted.

As we approached the river, we heard loud rhythmic drumming.  Soon we saw its source – a ceremonial dance of members of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé.  The religion began in Brazil during the period of African slave trade and has continued to this day.  Candomblé is a polytheistic religion and its followers worship a number of gods.  We stopped to watch the ritualistic dancing.  Everyone, including the leader, mãe de santo, mother of the saint, was dressed in traditional white.

We walked further along the Rua do Porto bordering the river.  We joined a moving caravan of families – everyone was out enjoying the warm afternoon sun.  Along the river there are small kiosks that sell ice cream and beer as well as full-scale outdoor restaurants that sell fresh grilled fish, salads, French fries, beans and rice.  The scene was very festive.

On Sunday afternoon half the town is out strutting their stuff along the river.  Young lovers in matching shorts and t-shirts; grandmothers holding tightly to their grandchildren’s hands – sometimes it is hard to know who is in charge?  Is it the grandma who needs the helping arm or the young child who might wander without grandma taking charge?  It is impossible to know and who cares.  It was a glorious day.  The water rushed downstream.  The rapids were full to the brim.  White egrets stood elegantly in the shallows hoping to catch dinner. 

We wandered hand in hand through the small street market further along the riverfront past restaurants and bars.  We stopped to watch an American-style flag football game and yelled our support with the other spectators.  We watched a constant parade of cars and trucks, low riders and old customized Camaros.  We saw young teenage girls roller blading in shorts so short Jeff was entranced.  We stopped for a cold beer before tackling the hill back towards our apartment building.  The walk was good for my hip flexors and we had a wonderful view of life in our town.  All in all it was a pretty good Sunday.
O Rio Piracicaba


  1. Since you mentioned you are learning portuguese, the rest of my comment will be "na lingua de Camões"...

    As fotos ficaram muito boas, principalmente as do rio. Piracicaba é uma ótima cidade. Se bem que minha opinião pode ser um pouco enviesada...

  2. What a great Sunday (injuries aside)!!