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Neto, my Couchsurfing host, had to leave Montes Claros just a couple of hours before I arrived, but I was left in the hands of his brother João. After taking me out on the Wednesday night, after I arrived, he took me out riding on the Thursday as he had the afternoon free from work. I’m not always thrilled by riding on my day’s off, but this was mountain biking – something I’d not done before – and sounded intriguing. I got to use Neto’s bike, which other than being a bit small for me worked well. We went up to a bar, via a ridiculously steep collection of rocks that even the motorbikes were struggling to get up.

We stayed at the bar a little too long, and, by the time we were coming down, so was the sun. It meant trying to race down before it got pitch black, failing to do so and then trying to get my eyes adjusted to the dark. I got some pretty tired forearms from braking so much.

I’d been going to stay until Friday, but Neto got back Friday night and I wanted to meet him. We went out that evening, including crashing a party where I felt so old – full of uni students – and getting home past 4am. Neto is a photographer, and as well as his personal project promoting the inner beauty of women he gives on-location photography workshops which I got invited along to in the market.

Neto & João’s family is rather large, and involves regular parties pretty much every weekend. I got to go to an aunt’s birthday party on the Saturday and then an uncle’s barbeque party on the Sunday. My plan of leaving on the Friday got pushed back even further because Neto wanted to ride with me, and he wouldn’t be free until the Monday, and that would depend on moving some classes around, so I stayed for the whole weekend. Four days off instead of one, that’s Brazil.

Singing happy birthday

Singing happy birthday

View of Montes Claros

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