Brazilian Diary - Sunday 6th June 2010

Yesterday's celebrations had gone on very late and there weren't many people around as I took my usual morning dose of peace and quiet (while catching up with my diary entries). As I sat down in the almost deserted dining room Renata, one of the organisers, came up to me and asked if she could have a quick word. With resigned apprehension I prepared myself for the worst - we'd not had much interaction since the tense meeting on Saturday afternoon where we had (very politely) clashed over the dance teaching and although the band's performances had gone down well I could see that we'd been 'trouble' from the organisers' perspective. So it was a complete surprise when she said that they were considering asking me to come back next year and asked if I would be interested in returning! Apparently the participants had been extremely positive about me in their feedback forms and in hindsight I realised that although the band had been problematic (for the organisers) the dance workshops had gone smoothly and had been very popular. I said that I was keen in theory but we'd need to discuss the details and we parted with smiles on both sides.

As my bandmates slowly assembled we moved to our usual outside table and settled in for a gentle morning. There were various things scheduled for the morning but we'd not been told what they were or if we were expected or invited to any of them so we sat and chatted, enjoying the warmth while we chilled. We'd heard that there was to be a final completion session in the hall at 11:00 so we made sure we were there for that. And, promptly at 11:25, it began.

The format was for everyone to sit in a circle while one by one people would get up and share about how the festival had been for them. At least I assume that's what was going on, Frances was doing her best to provide simultaneous translation but I was too far away from her to hear any of it and it would have been distracting for our neighbours if she had spoken more loudly. Freed from having to pay attention to the content it was fascinating to see which ones held the attention of the audience and which ones were essentially talking to themselves after a minute or two. When our turn came Rory gave a short speech on the band's behalf, thanking everyone for inviting us over and dwelling on the many joyful aspects of our time at the festival and the connection with Findhorn, then Lucy got up to add an impromptu and heartfelt few words of thanks which prompted cheers and wild applause. The intercontinental and intercultural differences had been very successfully bridged.

After lunch it was time to pack up and leave. We had a new driver for our return trip to São Paulo and instead of the white knuckle ride we had endured out the way out it we were wafter back to the Century Paulista Hotel smoothly but swiftly. Or maybe we were just getting used to it.

Once we were back in the city things began to take on a familiar flavour - of not running as planned. Although Renata had assured us that everything had been sorted out in regards to our stay at the hotel this wasn't reflected in the actions of the reception staff, who wanted payment before they'd let us into our rooms. After fruitlessly trying to contact anybody in the organising team I ended up paying for one night's stay just so we could have somewhere to lie down, working on the basis that we could sort things out later. We dragged ourselves into our two rooms (once again it was boys sharing in one, girls in the other) and collapsed into recovery mode.

Although one of the world's biggest Gay Pride parade was happening less than a mile away we all felt too tired and hungry to go and join the festivities, so instead we set off to get some food. Rather than pound the streets looking for somewhere cheap, cheerful and offering a vegetarian option we decided to go straight to the pizza place we'd been to before the festival (henceforth known as the Best Pizza Parlour in São Paulo). The relaxed ambience of the BPPiSP blended perfectly with the salt 'n' grease of the food and the soothing effects of the beer, we were soon going over the high and low points of the festival with a more detached perspective while providing detailed sociological analysis of Brazilian television courtesy of the wide screen (but mute) TV set. But it had been a long day and after not too long we were headed back to the hotel and from there to bed.


Next day