I have a question about "aquele" and "esse". I know "esse" is away from the speaker and near the listener, and "aquele" is away from both. That's all clear. I've noticed that "aquele" keeps repeating in this lesson, no sign of "esse", particularly if there's "ontem" in the sentence, and I'm wondering if "aquele" (aquela, aquilo) is the obvious choice in the past. Another thing, nothing to do with Past: if you were showing someone a photo of (e.g.) a house, what would you say - esta, essa, aquela casa?
I wouldn't use «aquele» all the time in the past. For example, if I were eating the same rice again, I could say «Gostei deste arroz da primeira vez e continuo a gostar.». If I were talking about the rice to someone who also ate it (and maybe brought up the rice in the conversation now), I could say «Também gostei muito desse arroz.».
Also, I would use «esta» if I were holding the photo or pointing and touching the photo. I would use «essa» if I were pointing at the house in the photo without touching the photo, if I were slightly behind the person holding the photo, or if we were looking at a photo of a house hanging on a wall. I would say «aquela» if we were in a long gallery looking at the picture from far away or if we were in another room.