Today we were picked up at home at 6am Brazilian time....so by the time we actually got everyone and hit the road it was 7:30. We had a 3 hour drive to our destination so we all settled in for the ride and attempted to have a nap on the bus. The roads here are not exactly 'nap friendly'. There are several reasons for this, the first and most prominent is the pot hole issue. Pot holes are everywhere and they are not filled, nor are they marked so when you are flying down the highway it is necessary to slam on the brakes and swerve often to avoid a flat tire, or in some cases having your vehicle swallowed up by the hole. On top of the pot hole issue there are also random donkeys, dogs and various farm animals including cows the size of cars that cause more swerving and braking. And the final factor in the nap free roads are the other crazy drivers who keep our drivers on their toes at all times. Despite all this we made it to Limoeiro do Norte City after a short stop to have some juice and breakfast along the way.
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!