Saturday, May 14, 2011

Parkour in Belo Horizonte

 After delaying my bus 12 hours so that I could try to sleep off my sickness, I finally took the bus to Belo Horizonte on Monday afternoon.  I met Bruno at the station, and he gave me a ride to the hostel where I’d be staying for the week (since he’s now living in London he couldn’t host me because he doesn’t have a house in BH).  After dropping my stuff off we headed off for a quick tour of the city followed by a light dinner and açai (I was maintaining my average of about 1 açai/day).

The next day was pretty chill and I spent it hanging around the hostel and going for a walk around the city.  The huge hills that are all over the city (a lot of BH’s streets are as steep as the ones that I encountered in Sao Paulo) made the “light walk” into more of a workout, but it was good to see the city from the ground.

Not my most picturesque face but I´ll sacrifice my spotless internet image for a good shot of the city.
Bruno's group, PkMax, is the primary parkour group in BH (check out their website HERE, it's really well done)  so we went to a training session later in the week so could I meet a number of the other BH traceurs.  While it wasn’t the largest training session that I had been to in Brasil with only a few people, it was clear that Bruno had been sending home some of the stuff that he learned in London, since the session resembled a PKGen session in numerous ways.  While the few training sessions that I did in BH were really good (a trip over to the University with Bruno and Arthur went really well), the recent stomach bug and general lack of rest seemed to be catching up with me and I spent a lot of the week resting at the hostel and trying to get caught up on the big decisions that I’ve been able to avoid for the past 9 months (grad school, life plans…)

As weird as it was to be staying in a hostel again after more than a month of staying with traceurs, it felt kind of good to be back in such a social environment again.  While having to sleep in a room with 11 other people wasn’t so great, the hostel was a pretty quiet one which made the stay pretty enjoyable.  Bruno and his wife Rafaela were also really great about bringing me along to stuff, like a big family dinner, which made my time in BH even more enjoyable.

One of the highlights of the week was definitely spending a day with Bruno, Rafaela, and her sister and her husband at a really beautiful cachoiera (waterfall) about 30 minutes outside the city.  Bruno and I spent the afternoon exploring the river and climbing around on the rocks, which was a nice change from the concrete jungle that I’ve been playing in for a while.  There was a family-run restaurant nearby which served a really big meal of traditional Brazilian food (rice, beans, meat, lots of fruit- all very good). 

Just a day at the cachoiera.... aka paradise. (Photo courtesy of Rafa)

The longer the trip goes on, the stronger the Mowgli/Tarzan resemblance seems  to get. (Photo courtesy of Rafa)

Once we determined we wouldn't brain ourselves on any rocks, this made the perfect jumping spot. (Photo courtesy of Rafa)

One of the best parts about being in BH with Bruno was that he was able to explain a lot of the things that I had questions about but didn’t have the language skills or opportunity to ask my previous hosts.  The topics of these questions ranged from how the favelas worked to various ins and outs of Brazilian parkour politics, but the result was that I came away from BH with a much firmer understanding of life in Brazil.  And of course it was great to hear the latest gossip from London…

After a week that seemed to fly by with Bruno in BH, I took (yet another) all-night bus ride to Brasilia…


  1. Great stuff, Blake.
    It was a pleasure to have you in BH, man.
    You're always welcome.

    See you soon in Denmark.

    Bruno Rachacuca

  2. The waterfall was great, wasn't it? I also loved!

    See you soon, I hope!

    Enjoy the ride!