First actually day in São Luís and what a day it was! We started our morning with homemade crepes and fresh strawberries made by one of the resident French artists, Allen, and then got ready to take a tour of the local area. Although this village is small, it’s filled with a lot of historical architecture, beautiful colors, and wide open farmlands. I had a blast turning from corner to corner and finding new things to take pictures of. Being a photographer, my eyes were constantly on the lookout for new things to explore. We even visited a few local artists who are working on their own projects in town. Everything from theatrical costumes on stilts and masks to anthropomorphic clay animals. It was exciting to see the variety!
When we returned back home, we made lunch from the leftovers we had the night before after hours on the plane and bus. Lunch consisted of a spicy pea stew with spicy chorizo sausage, blood sausage cooked over a ceramic dish, fresh bread, and sheep cheese that may be my new favorite cheese! We followed that up with some chocolate covered almonds, figs, and coffee. Our group continued the day by listening to Marta’s husband, Luis, give a presentation and lecture on the mechanisms of molecules and biological systems. So much knowledge and innovativeness in the science fields today.
After the lecture we dove right into experimenting with our agar creations. Earlier in the day we had made jars filled agar, Ludia Broth, and milk with agar and set them all aside to boil and sterilize. When ready, we took the liquid agar jars and mixed them with other materials, like soil, oxide, crushed bark, and food coloring, to be set aside and work their magic. The goal is to hopefully see changes with fungi and bacteria growth over the next few days so we can respond to how the environment affects various materials. I never really thought that science like this could be turned into artwork and actually be quite fun!
We ended our day with another homemade meal by our host, Marta, who cooked a spicy and flavorful sausage, cabbage, and kidney bean stew with some more fresh bread on the side, of course. Portuguese people really like their stews and soups in the winter! Marta also made a sweet roasted cinnamon apple for dessert, which was then accompanied by deep, thoughtful discussions about life, history, and the art world. Looking forward to what Day 2 has to offer!