Thursday, May 19, 2011
The end is nigh... of the trip, that is. Today is our last day in Brazil. We are heading to the airport after lunch to catch our flights home, except for Brenda who is spending a few days in Sao Paulo with a former exchange student from Brazil.
As for Laurie, Keith and myself, we are heading back to Canada but not before a solid 24 hours of flying time.
We have all enjoyed our time in Brazil, the wonderful hospitality of the people we have met and the opportunity to meet with Rotary Clubs.
I didn't have a picture of just the four of us for this blog post. I seemed to forgot my camera existed over this trip and didn't take that many photos. However, Laurie was a shutterbug and I will have to grab some from her camera.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
"I wish I could wax my chest hair." Keith G. Fonstad.
Last full day in Brazil! We began the trip with a tour of a unique school in Fortaleza. Edisca combines dance, theatre and education for free to disadvantaged students. Students attend the school either before or after going to their regular schools.
The school provides tutorial services, dance, theatre, medical care and meals to students. Additionally, they provide the opportunity for student's parents to learn skills, such as sewing for costumes that they can parlay into an chance to earn income.
We watched part of a student performance from a previous year. I am a huge fan of the arts, including dance. I really enjoyed the video of the performance; such an interesting take on contemporary dance.
We then hit the beach for our last afternoon. Laurie found the perfect relaxation spot on a giant bean bag. Keith, decided to try his luck at surfing. Here is something I learned about surfing, the board is covered with glue so that surfers can grip better. Here is something Keith learned about surfing... glue sticks to your chest hair.
Late in the afternoon, we packed up and headed to our respective families.
Now... to attempt to pack all my stuff. Where did I put my shrink ray gun?
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Upon arriving we went to the district governors house for a snack of fresh fruit and bread and then off to an irrigation agricultural farm where we saw 4 types of bananas, limes, oranges, pears and apples being grown. The manager of the farm gave us a tour and explained that banana trees are cut after they produce a crop and another tree grows next to the initial tree and the new tree grows the next crop.
We also saw one of three pump houses on the property, and the manager explained how fertilizers and pesticides were injected into the water based on the needs of each fruit tree and then the correct mixture was sent through the irrigation system to the trees.
After the tour we headed back to the district governors house for lunch, we had a BBQ outside and relaxed at his house for a while afterwards. We then boarded the bus for another bumpy ride home.
We were sad to say goodbye to our friend Marcelo at the end of the ride. Marcelo is heading to Canada next week on the Brazilian GSE team so we will see him again soon. We spent 10 days with him in Sao Luis and now 5 in Fortaleza, since he has been with us for half of the trip we have inducted him as an honorary member of our team! We would not have survived without his great translating skills!!
We are all now at our respective hosts houses and getting ready for Beach park tomorrow. Our days in Brazil are numbered now so I thought I would share a few things that I have noticed about this country over the past few weeks:
1. At restaurants it is automatic that they bring you beer, you have to ask for water
2. Eating 6 to 8 types of meat in one meal is totally normal
3. Stop signs are just suggestions and roundabouts are racetracks
4. Pot holes create driver training simulations
5. Cake, even chocolate cake is a breakfast food
6. Work seems to be optional in the afternoon for most people
7. Everyone speaks some English even if they claim not too
8. Ketchup and mayo are for pizza not hotdogs
9. Whisky bottles must be emptied completely as soon as possible if opened
10. It is acceptable and apparently legal to carry your entire family across town on either a bicycle or motor bike
11. They eat food family style....enough food as though there were 4 families (we have yet to even come close to finishing the food that is served to us, despite Keiths efforts)
12. Happy hour can start anytime after 8am
13. Soccer (football) is a religion, there are more soccer fields than churches, and brazil is the most catholic country in the world
14. 'Jesus' comes in a bottle here and tastes like cotton candy....it's a bright pink coca cola product
15. Hammock hooks are built into the walls of every house, inside and out. Genius!
16. Jeans are warn everywhere....even the government buildings, they are acceptable but shorts are forbidden
17. And in Brazil always LOCK THE DOOR!
Day 27 came very early... too early for me.
We begun the day with an early wake up call and hopped in a few cars to head to the city of Aracati. The father of my host family is from this town and they own a beach house there as well. Before heading to the beach house, we stopped and had a quick taste of the local industry; shrimp farming. We then headed to the farm to see where shrimp are raise. Imagine, if you will, giant ponds for all the eyes can see. This is how shrimp are raised and farmed in this part of Ceara. They use salt water for the holding ponds from the sea. Since it was Sunday, the farm was very quite however, it was interesting to see how ‘livestock’ are raised in this part of Brazil.
We then had a wonderful lunch at Ivan and Lucina’s beach house. After a quick change, the team headed to the beach to test our strength again the ocean’s waves. It was rather overcast but my fair skin enjoyed the break from the sun's rays. Keith and I spent the entire time in the ocean where the water is always around 27 degrees Celsius. Lauire tried to work on her tan a bit and Marcelo eventually came in the water although he was slightly concerned that the tide would pull him out (he can’t swim). No worries, Keith was practicing his defense against the waves and Laurie has the pictures to prove it!
After a long, rainy drive back to Fortaleza, we all hit the hay for a good night’s rest.