Saturday, June 21, 2008


We flew out of Sao Paulo after only a few days and headed for the city of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, a site which would serve as our base of operations for the duration of our studio. We spent our first day in a lakeside suburb just outside the city called Pampulha. It was designed in the 1940s by Brazil's patron saint of architecture, Oscar Niemeyer (who is still alive and practicing at 100 years of age). The project was commissioned by then-mayor Juscelino Kubitschek, who would later become president and oversee Niemeyer's work in the new capital of Brasilia in the late '50s.

The architecture was great, but the experience was overshadowed, I believe, by the sighting of a capybara resting beside the lake immediately outside the art museum. Thida informed me that, despite being the world's largest rodent (up to 140 lbs.), they are relatively easy prey for one who becomes stranded in the Amazon or an anonymous lakeside suburb. I believe her.

Afterward we returned to Belo Horizonte and saw the Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais (known as "PUC", pronounced "pooky"), the University were we would be doing our studio work. Tom attempted to order a cheeseburger and got this, which we later determined might be a type of panqueca:

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