After settling into my second host home, I find that I am starting to understand Portuguese a bit more. As far as speaking, it's still a work in progress. The week was filled with lectures focusing on Brazil's economy and government. In many cases they were linked due to Brazil's former military dictatorship government owing and operating many of its businesses. We also discussed the future of Brazil and the changes the government and people need to make in order to make Brazil a power player on the global stage. Honestly, most of my research before coming here had to do with colonization and the slave trade. I find that these discussions helped me get a more well rounded view of Brazil, something other than the beautiful beaches and tourist attractions. Brazil's young democracy, growing economic status, and possessing the bid for not one, but two major international sporting events while exciting, seems a bit overwhelming for the average Brazilian. Many locals have the "let's cross our fingers and hope" outlook when asked about Brazil's ability to erect stadiums, train a new workforce, and properly expand its airports among other logistics nightmares. Nevertheless, the future of Brazil looks bright all things considered.
On Friday, we took a field trip to Priaha do Forte. Built by the Portuguese sometime in the 16th century, it was very first building in Brazil. Now, left in ruins, we walked around what used to be a feudal castle that began the colonization of Brazil. Complete with slave quarters and a chapel, there wasn't anything different about this forte than any other castle/forte from the colonial era. Like others from its time, the property was situated on the coast, north of Salvador and offered a breathtaking view of the Atlantic. After visiting the forte, the group spent the day in the very tourist friendly beach town. It offered an array of typical gift shops and themed restaurants, but also contained a turtle (tortuga) sanctuary. This beach is famous for the turtle mating season, and of course it is properly capitalized on, offered tourist a look at everything to do with turtles. Although they are cute, there isn't a lot to do with turtles.