Amy and Peter had graciously agreed to show us around town a bit so we could be a little self sufficient while we were here. Connor and I joined the group and saw the local market. Much larger than I had expected, you could get anything from a twenty dollar fake Rolex to bulk rice and beans. In our tour we visited the old theater in town. A beautiful house of about four to five hundred seats it was marvelous to find such a place here. Contributing to the soul of Penedo with performances for over a hundred years bringing the town together on occasion to see children perform ballet and adults put on theater performances. The grand dame that brings people together for the arts. Truly amazing.
We dined for lunch and turn the corner on the rest of the day's agenda. Futsol at the local private school. Soccer again, bringing two cultures together. The Futsol court at the private school had a vista view over a working class neighborhood that overlooked the Rio San Francisco. The pool for the school was about twenty yards down hill from the court. The setting was picturesque. Futsol is a short sided game played with five players per side on a hard surface the size of a basketball court. Small goals make the scoring more difficult, a quick surface and small court make the game fast and entertaining. Our boys were out matched in the first half of play. They continued to try too control play on a small court and got caught short handed on defense a couple of times and had no goals to show for their effort in the first half. Charlie gave them the coaching they needed at half and they opened play a bit. We have athletes on the team and they showed their mettle in the second half. Moving quickly and opening things up to nearly even the score. I am proud of their effort and discipline. They played a team game and showed the Brazilian side they had game to bring. Another example that Americans can play the world game. Then they all went for a swim before gathering for a snack.
Back at the Pousadsa Thirty Four we freshened up for Capoeira. Molly had put together a fundraising effort to support the local Capoeira and was ready to make her presentation to them tonight. The presentation was preceded by practice that we could gather around to see. A first hand telling of Capoeira in Brazil is an uncommon opportunity for an American. Things were a bit disorganized at first but they finally came together and we got to see authentic practice. Capoeira is a form of martial art that was originally practiced by slaves in Brazil. The predecessor to break dancing in the United States it is a bit acrobatic and looks like a martial art. There is a dance like quality to it. Two partners dueling in a show of skill. As a counter point to what we saw in Salvador performed by the Bale' Folclorico Da Bahia this was much closer to its origins. Not a Hollywood version of an ideal. It was an honor to be there to see these "real" people doing something that they love to do. I was impressed with the layman version. Many of these individuals had a great deal of skill sparing with their partners. Molly made a presentation at the end of the night and we heard what the practitioners had to say about her efforts. The emotion in the room was wonderful. One mother spoke about how Bentinho, the master, was helping her son stay off the streets and how what he was doing gave her boy something to look forward to. Most of what Bentinho does is gratis so it only seemed fitting that Molly provided so much to them in her fundraising effort. One of the students spoke and you could feel the emotion in his voice as he described that he was thankful for what Molly had done. That it was more than their own town of Penedo was doing for them. The moment was starkly genuine and I can't believe that I was a part of it. Another fortunate turn of events provided by the Ragsdale-Stark family. We had to let go of the moment to head back to the pousada for the last item of business on the day. Ross's birthday.
Ross turned fifty-five today. We celebrated with him in the restaurant at the pousada. Another meal, this time with a theme, celebrated in the company of friends. Ross's son Mathew is one of the soccer playing posse on this trip. I didn't know the family before we were thrown into this trip together. They have been great company during the trip. Welcoming. Friendly. Genuine.
Signing off form Penedo, Brazil wishing Ross many happy days and the return of friendship for years to come. Know that you will always have more than you need and never have less than you want.