Continuing on with the Brazil saga. I've left all the pics in these posts full size so just click on any of them for a better look.
March 17, 2007
This was our one free morning. After eating at the breakfast buffet (I had fresh papaya and a roll) we all headed off to the mall. The power went out for about 15 minutes, apparently this isn’t uncommon. After shopping for a couple of hours we found a restaurant for lunch. Darn if it didn’t have the Rosie the Riveter “we can do it” poster on the wall! Anyway I had the lunch special which is a very common dish here, rice and beans with beef strips. It was really good!
Then we were back to the hotel for a meeting with the Brazilian delegates here. It was a really good meeting with lots of information shared and questions asked and answered.
We wrapped up by about 6pm and then got ready to head to the airport. It’s not that far but with the traffic it can easily take hours.
Once again I couldn’t get wireless internet working. The Sao Paulo airport has wireless but you have to subscribe to it, and no matter how hard I tried it just wasn’t happening. But we did have a beer and some Pao de Queso, or cheese balls. They were a bit salty and just right with a beer.
We split up into two delegations, with Annie (who’s hobbling around on crutches with a broken ankle), Maria, Evelyn and I heading to Belo Horizonte and the others heading to Porto Alegre. My delegation finally arrived at our hotel in Belo Horizonte at 1am. By the time I got settled and things ready for the morning it was 2:30 and I couldn’t shut my mind off for anything, not to mention the noise of the partying in the streets, so it was a pretty much a sleepless night.
March 18, 2007
I started off the morning taking some pics of my room. Trust me, this ain’t the Toronto Sheraton! Lol Although there is a bidet, I haven’t worked up the nerve to figure it out yet.
Today we went to Ouro Preto, a very pretty and very old city. It took an hour and a half to drive there through the mountains on very bumpy and twisty roads. The scenery was incredible! I tried taking some pics. We were met by a local delegation of women who came to spend their Sunday off work with us.
I guess local is a relative term; Claudia also has a broken foot and took a 3 hour bus trip each way to be with us. Holy Hannah. You look up “resilient” in the dictionary and you’ll see Claudia there. In the last six months this woman has had a miscarriage, got her breast caught in a punch press (where she was stuck for five minutes and required 32 stitches), had her house robbed (including her furniture and appliances) while she was away at the hospital, and been hit by a car (hence the broken foot) yet she is still as friendly and cheerful as anyone. These women were all incredibly warm and welcoming, and we did some sight-seeing together getting to know each other. There was an ancient church where one of the statues of a saint looked just like Michael Jackson (which of course I had to point out to everyone else lol). Unfortunately we weren't allowed to takes pics in there.
Then we had lunch at a restaurant in an old stone building that used to be housing for slaves. The meal wasn’t as good as the others we’ve had so far, with one of the dishes being basically a pork and bean dish but not in a good way. I’ll leave it at that for now.
After lunch we wanted to tour a local gold mine. It’s been closed for a very long time but was originally mined by slaves including children. This was a really good tour as the tour guide shared a lot of information about it. The mine wasn’t very big and I found myself getting quite claustrophobic. By the time we were done and heading back out we were all practically running, so I guess I’m not the only one on the verge of freaking out! Lol But if nothing else it really let you feel in a small way some of the conditions those people had to live with.
This guy gave me a big grin after I took his pic! Notice the broken glass embedded in the top of the cement wall? Anyway we stopped at a local soapstone carving shop, then headed back for the hour and a half drive “home”. Didn’t get back until 8:15, so we all headed to our rooms to clean up and meet for a 9pm dinner. Now it’s time to catch up on emails and head to bed. There was live music going on outside somewhere but I think it’s done now, hopefully for the night. I’ve got another early start tomorrow and it’s going to be a full day; it’s time to get to work.