Musings on my trips to New Delhi, Taiwan, Brazil, Mysore, Thailand, Singapore, other SE Asia, Spain and Portugal: things I've done/seen, people I've met and some about the scholarly activities that fund most of these trips. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Monday, 4 March 2013
Sunsetting on my time in Brasilia, preparing to fly with the sunrise to Sao Paulo
Another lovely afternoon with a couchsurfing friend.After an “odyssey” of near misses (in
his words!), I finally met up with Fernando, the pharmacy graduate, and it was
worth the wait.We walked around
some of the monuments downtown that I had only driven past, taking pictures at
some famous spots in Brazil.We
saw a building designed look like a dove with a mural inside to commemorate
Tiradentes. His name literally translates as “tooth puller” and he was a dentist
who became a martyred revolutionary when he protested the dictatorship.Among other monuments in the
surrounding area, Oscar actually built a house for the pigeons of the city,
which is kinda cute.
Os Candangos and I
After that, Fernando and I went to Pontao near Lago Sul where I had been
with Emmanuel but this time there was much better weather and tons of people
walking, boating and taking pictures.I had been told that I needed to try the wildly popular acai
dessert.It is similar to a
berry-flavored ice cream served with a grape, banana and granola.It was pretty good but I probably won’t
go out of my way to have it again.After a leisurely afternoon, chatting and enjoying the sunshine, we
raced to Dom Bosco park in an effort to catch the sunset.We got there in time but the gathering
rain clouds made it pretty umimpressive.However, it was a beautiful view of the city, overlooking the lake and
we hiked around to see the Dom Bosco shrine (known as an upside-down ice cream
cone around here) and the first small, chapel built in the city.It was an excellent visit, definitely
worth the wait and Fernando promised to send me a picture of a real Brazilian
sunset, because they are supposedly breathtaking during the dry season.
Fernando and I at Pontao, Lago Sul: great tourguide and great new friend!
This morning, I interviewed the vice director of computer
science who was a pleasure to talk to.She’s very interest in SCALE-UP as a way to improve the retention in
their introductory courses, since less than half the people who intend to major
in the exact sciences make it through.She was the professor whose father helped advise and construct the city
so it was fascinating to hear how the city evolved.She was lucky to have an incredibly supportive family who
encouraged her to pursue mathematics from a young age.She said she never felt strange
entering mathematics as a woman since growing up in a newly constructed city
freed its people from traditional stereotypes.She recalled, five years ago, a male classmate asked her
daughter what she was doing in a calculus III class so she thought females in
this generation may have a more difficult time pursuing these fields.
I thanked some people at the University, saying my
goodbyes, had a photoshoot in the physics teaching lab for my American Physical Society article.I’m looking forward to a
final couple meals of Reva's exquisite cooking, not looking forward to waking up at 3 AM to fly to Sao Paulo but looking forward to a day of sightseeing with Henrique's friend, Tales.