I arrived to Belo Horizonte in the early hours of the morning and was greeted by my lovely friend Fabi. Belo Horizonte (or simply "BH" (beh-ah-GAH) to locals) is little over a century old. With a metropolitan population reaching more than 5 million (edging out Salvador), it was built as a planned city to take the place of Ouro Preto as the State's capital. Its layout features square sections drawn out by broad avenues, intersected diagonally by smaller streets. The city lies in the center of the Minas Gerais state, and is intended to bring together the many parts of this very diverse state. We spent the day here, however, Fabi stays in Contagem which is just outside Belo.
It was very excited that the first stop was the doctors and on this occasion it was for something positive. Fabi's wife was getting her 9 month scan so the first meeting of her, was me gawking at the tv at her baby and almost crying when hearing a strong heart beat. Also the love in their eyes, for each other, and the baby. What a nice and real life experience.
The funny thing was the next stop was the gynecologist where I waited outside with Fabi's gorgeous nephew and didn't do any gawking haha. It was the first time of the trip that I was seeing real life Brazil and not just touristy stuff. We then had to pick up Fabi's car from the garage where we got a well needed coffee. Well just me as Fabi and Ni don't like coffee. What??? I know they can't be Brazillian haha.
Anyway, we went to see the Mineirão officially Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto (Governor Magalhães Pinto Stadium) established in 1965 in Belo Horizonte, is the largest football stadium in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and the second largest in the country, after Maracanã. It will be a host stadium in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in the country. Cruzeiro plays its home matches at Mineirão, and its fans call the stadium affectionately Toca da Raposa III (Fox Burrow 3). Although we couldn't get in, it was nice to see it.
Following that, the girls took us (I say us because it felt like their nephew and I were the kids), to the lake in Pampulha. Next to the lake is the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the organic modern style. It is the first listed modern architectural monument in Brazil and consists of four undulating concrete parabolas with outdoor mosaics.
Fabi and I then drank coconut water from the coconut and it was very refreshing. After that we headed to Contagem were we visited Fabi's cousin, the hairdresser and again, it was interesting to see real life and different ways of working.
On return to the house, Ni made the best stroganoff with rice. It was really delicious and I definitely agreed with Fabi about her being a great cook.
Later on, the four of us went to the Christmas lights and walked around. This was my first real feel of Christmas. It was still pretty warm though so not quite the full feel.
We then had typical Brazillian Kate night meal at a burger place with thiago and Shirley at 1am. The burger was massive and actually delicious so my idea to only eat half was not followed through haha. It was a hamburger but with shredded chicken and had so much flavour. Yum. Everything I have read about Belo, talks about the food and my goodness, they are right and I am going to enjoy it.
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.