Volleyball with actual Brazilians! Yesterday was a little chilly on the beach in Copacabana, so Kevin and I went to bump our volleyball around on the courts nearby. Two little crianças (children) started blabbering at us in broken Portuguese until we realized they wanted to play too! Soon enough Kevin and I were up against an ambitious group of kids all under the age of 4 or 5. While the people of Brazil do seem to be naturally talented at vôlei, we didn’t think it was fair to match up against them before too long. The girls on the court next to us had an uneven number, and eventually our whole group came to join for some 4 v 4. Afterwards we had a few doubles tournaments, and while I’m a little out of shape for beach volleyball, we gringoes even managed to win a couple games! It’s really nice that the courts on the beach have lighting, so Kevin and I stayed and played even after it got dark. I’m a little bit sore but today, again, we went out to Copacabana after class and found some teenagers that wanted a match up. It seems like showing up and looking eager is a much more successful plan for getting a game together than trying to plan a time and date to meet up for some play.
Last night, Keia and I met up with some of our Brazilian friends and Nayra’s apartment. I finally learned how to make a proper caipirinha! They taste pretty much like mojitos except that there are two less ingredients and you can buy everything you need for a pretty big batch of caipirinha for about $9 USD. Definitely a drink that’s making it’s way back to U.Va. Nayra’s friends like to make a casual night a little bit more exciting by pulling out the poker set and playing a few rounds of Texas Hold ‘Em with a R$2 buy in. I understand the betting and hands a little better now, and I think I could hold my own with some practice. I was mostly proud that I at least wasn’t the first person out of money. The river just favored Kevin when I happened to have pocket jacks, so we both went all in and he got lucky. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Two days ago, the government made a proposal to the Sindicatos (similar to unions, I imagine) concerning the strike. I believe that 2 of the 3 accepted- that third one, as luck would have it, being the one representing UFRJ. In a meeting this afternoon, the 3rd Sindicato rejected the proposal, and there is talk of more rounds of negotiations starting Monday. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions, and I am becoming less hopeful again…