I really like it here in Santos. The people are all friendly, and even though I have no idea how to communicate with anyone, I feel really welcome. This morning Paco (did you know that Paco is short for Francisco? I was wondering why everyone was calling him Pacoâ€¦.) and I called Fabio Carvalho, and it turned out he was already on his way over to find us at our hotel. He helped us schedule massage (45 reais for an hour! Thatâ€™s like 20 dollars!) for tomorrow, and then told us when we could meet Paulo Miyashiro and his triathlon group for a noon swim.
The swim was fun, but it was near the entrance to the river where all the freighters come in and out. I guess they periodically dredge the bottom of the river, and that periodically happened yesterday. So there was all kinds of silt and dirt floating in the water and the visibility was terrible. The tri group was about 10 or 15 swimmers. The plan was to go straight out around a series of five yellow buoys, then turn right 90 degrees and swim down to a giant channel buoy, then another 90 degrees and into the shore. As soon as we started swimming I found myself way to the right of everyone else. I hadnâ€™t realized there was a current that was sweeping me away! I caught back on to the group right as we started passing the yellow buoys, but I was on the inside and swimming at about a 45 degree angle to get past the buoys without being swept into them. The first one was fine, the second one was fine, the third one was fine, then we come to the fourth buoy â€“ I spot, it looks like Iâ€™m about 4 feet to the left of the buoy, three more stokesâ€¦ BAM!!!! My head and hand hit the metal buoy at the same time. I stopped, felt my throbbing face, adjusted my Swedish goggles (not the best goggle style for collisions), blinked a few times to bring the world back into focus, then skipped the fifth buoy in order to catch back on to the group. We flew past the next buoy, then swam at an angle again toward shore. When we stopped I found my forehead and nose were both bleeding a little, but what can you do? We turned around and swam back the way we came, only this time we were against the current from the big channel buoy up to the yellow buoys and it took over twice as long. My forehead is bruised right on my eyebrow, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s all that visible.
Then tonight Fabio came back and went running with me the length of the Santos beach (10km round trip) â€“ with a few stops to say hello to the people he recognized and to get some Gatorade from the tri clubâ€™s refreshment cart on the beach.
I noticed a couple things that I will have to try to get pictures of in the next couple days. Like the fact that the buildings here donâ€™t all stand straight up and down. One condo building overlooking the beach was leaning so far to the right that the top looked as though it would soon touch the neighboring building. Also, thereâ€™s a trolley outside out hotel that doesnâ€™t move. Finally, I saw a redhead today. She was Brazilian, but she was whiter than me (maybe I wonâ€™t take a picture of that â€“ it might make me a creep.)
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Courtenay Brown â€“ my girlfriend who gets less attention from bencollins.org than Klepto the Crow â€“ is living with my parents in Seattle. Sheâ€™s gone from a household with three triathletes (Aaron, Me and herself) to being an only child to my mom and dad. Now, I always tell people that living at home isnâ€™t so bad because my parents are â€œeasy to get along withâ€, and I really think thatâ€™s true. The thing is, Iâ€™ve had 25 years to learn how to ignore them and get out of long conversations when I have something else to do (e.g. â€œI need to go stretch and get homework done, whatâ€™s for dinnerâ€¦ ew, can we have something better? â€¦maybe Iâ€™ll just cook for myselfâ€), but as their son I have the right to be abrupt and unappreciative on occasion (I certainly push the limits on â€œoccasionalâ€, but a few â€œThanks Dad, youâ€™re the best!â€s and I keep my stuff from being thrown into the street.). And donâ€™t get me wrong, most of the time I really enjoy hanging out with my parents. Courtenay is in that weird place where sheâ€™s still a guest and hasnâ€™t really established her role, which makes it pretty hard. Moreover, she has no job (anyone in Seattle want a really smart part-time employee? Sheâ€™s good at admin work and better at copy editing â€“ thought she only sometimes applies the latter skill to my blog.), is training full time to prepare for her first year as a professional triathlete (she was on a pro womenâ€™s cycling team beforehand), and it turns out that beautiful fall weather Seattle had was a total fluke and the â€œEmerald Cityâ€ is mostly just gray and wet (I still love it, but I can see why itâ€™s tough for the non-native transplant whoâ€™s primary job involves being outside in spandex for 30 hours a week). Anyway, Iâ€™m trying not to micromanage my Seattle household from Brazil, but I feel really bad that I canâ€™t help out and that I decided to disappear from home only a month after she moved there. Iâ€™m sure all will turn out well. It usually does.