Sunday, July 08, 2007


I thought I might cheat a bit and recycle the emails I sent home from Brazil. That way you really get the on-the-ground, up-to-the-minute emotion and feel of the experience hey? It's not just because I'm lazy no no no....... is this the face of someone who would avoid the mundane return to an ordinary existence?
[This is actually the face of someone who has no idea she is about to drink a lot more beer (cerveja) than she has ever drunk in her life over an extended number of days - that's every day for at least the first 30 days in a row!]

Ola amigos,

I made it to Brazil! The flight was loooooong.... We left Hobart at 7am on Friday and arrived in Rio about 2am on Saturday - doesn´t sound too bad but it was about 30 hours worth, including stops in Auckland, Santiago (Chile) and Sao Paulo. Less said about the flight the better - though in my strange half-awake time-wierd world I spent quite a lot of time reflecting on how bizarrely easy it is to get on a plane and end up on the other side of the world without too much effort at all. At times the little map on our mini TV screens said we were travelling at 1000 km/hr and more than 10 km above the crust. Nossa! (new word for today - wow)

View from on high

We were met at the airport by a fellow who is helping to coordinate the exchange, Jose, and Wellington who we met in Hobart a couple of months ago (useful guy to have around as he´s an English teacher). Jose has been hanging out with us over the last couple of days. We´re staying in a hotel to get over the jet lag and get used to the way things work here before the exchange officially starts tomorrow.

Teresopolis is about an hour out of Rio, up in the mountains. It was a shame we didn´t get to see any of Rio at all before heading up here but we have a few days at the end to check out the touristy bits and pieces. So far it´s all about the food - lunch is the biggest meal of the day and dinner is usually light - but when it´s a special occasion (like hosting 'important guests' from Australia) you will also have a big dinner - which means I am going to come back the size of a house!

Main Street, Teresopolis

It's all very tasty, lots of rich dishes with pork or beef, lots of casserole type things, sausages/salami, lots of fried or creamy or cheesy. Not many veggies! The ubiquitous rice and beans appear at every meal, must admit I haven't tried the beans yet. Every meal also has dessert, super-sweet cakes and custard type things. Breakfast is fruit then bread rolls with cheese and sliced meats, plus CAKE (bolo)! We have been a bit excited about trying everything so far but I think I'll need to pace myself a bit so I don't have to buy a whole new set of clothes :-)

Today we toured the facility where the Brazilian futebol team is selected and trains. The gun-toting security guard showed us through - they have their own barber, small-scale cinema, accommodation and special room for strategy and game plans. The Brazilian 'feminin' team was actually there for selection today though we left before we got to see them training. Very cool anyway. We also visited the 'Parque Nacional da Serra dos Orgaos' which is a preserved patch of Atlantic rainforest. The Orgaos bit is because the rocks look like organ pipes! The mountains are crazy spectacular.... and this is all before we have even officially started our exchange.

Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol

Another exciting thing from today was my first purchase using 'reals' - Quanto custa? How much is it? The tricky bit is understanding the answer. All good so far.

Anyway tomorrow we head to Alem Paraiba, about 2.5 hrs drive, to meet our first home stay families. Alem Pariabanos are famous for making the best 'feijoada' which is Brazil's national dish - pork with rice and beans. Hmm.

Well that's it from this Australiano for now.

Boa tarde

Jill xoxoxoxo

PS. A few more photos on Flickr



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