I made my first trip to Brazil last Sunday and returned yesterday afternoon. The title of this post is not a mistake, the proper spelling is Brasil. I enjoyed the trip very much, had a very good time and can add another country and continent to my list. I did two things wrong:
- I didn’t take enough pictures.
- I made mental notes about things I wanted to blog about.
So, keeping in mind number 2, I will probably put up several posts over the week as I remember things.
I had a great time. It was a very good week. The purpose of the trip was for training and several of my colleagues from Brazil, Chile and Spain attended. It was a real pleasure to meet and get to know them over the course of the week.
We stayed in Porto Alegre which is in the South. My flights to and from Porto Alegre were crazy. The trip down was Moline to St. Paul to Houston to Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre. The trip back was Porto Alegre to Sao Paulo to Newark to St. Paul to Moline. My bag got lost on the trip home between Newark and Moline. It has not been located yet.
Brazil is a nice place. It is a melting pot of cultures from around the world. The language (Portugese) is said to have not changed much from the time the Portugese settled there around 1500. It is a very interesting sounding language. I could not understand or read much at all. Brazil is very large. Before going there, I did not realize how much of South America it encompasses.
The food is very good. It is not too much different from the homemade meat and vegetables type meals common in the US. The people seem to be very fitness/health conscience. The hotel that I stayed at was across the street from a large city park. There were always a decent amount of people walking/jogging in the park.
Throughout the week I tried several beers made in Brazil. They were very good. They tasted very German, but a little lighter. One of my Brazillian colleagues thought that I should experiment with this drink. I’m easy, so I had a few. This is probably one of the strongest drinks I have ever had. It goes down way to easy, sort of like vodka and lemonade. Be very careful with it. I also had some red wine from Argentina that was outstanding.
I was able to attend a soccer game of the local team Gremio. It was very cool. These guys are very serious about soccer. Gremio won by one, so it was a good night for the crowd. There are no laws against alcohol in public, so outside the stadium before the match was like one serious gigantic party. There were people every 20 feet or so for about a 2 block radius, selling ice cold beers and grilling meat (kabob style). It was really a good time. The game started at 2200 so that it would not interfere with a night time soap opera. Even starting that late at night, there were about 40,000 people in attendance.
I flew on a Brazillian airline called Tam. I really like them. They give out candy before the flight, and they served a small lunch/snack even on the short (1 hour) trip between Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre. Flying domestically in Brazil was interesting. In a lot of ways, it was like it used to be in the US 10 years ago. Security was very simple, nothing like what we do here now. However, there was still no cellphone use allowed on the flight (post coming soon). Unfortunately, it was cloudy both trips so I wasn’t able to see any of the geography. The airports were very nice, especially Porto Alegre. There were places to eat, and even plenty of room/tables to sit at once you got your food.
That is about all that comes to mind right now. I will put more up this week, with some of the pictures that I took when I have time.