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Monday, September 17, 2007

When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio.......

Ola everyone,

Last day of exchange today! In some ways it has really flown and in others it still feels like we just arrived. It will be quite strange to have to navigate ourselves around and not have a schedule for every day - also to have to pay for things (in 5 weeks I have only bought myself a meal once) . The program has been really fantastic but we're all pretty tired and definitely ready for some personal space. Onwards to Rio tomorrow and probably a day of sleeping and lying by the pool - if the weather is good that is. It has been freezing here in Juiz de Fora, I'm wearing the explorers and scarf I didn't think I would need until Peru!

Juiz de Fora

Thought I would jot down some random/funny facts about Brazil that haven't made it into an email yet, as we only have a few more days in this crazy country.

The main telephone company here is called 'Oi' !! :-)

A motel in Brazil is a very different thing to those in Australia. A hotel is a place for holiday accommodation, but a motel is a pay by the hour establishment for the 'purpose of sexual relations - Brazil is a very sensual country' (as explained by our very proper english translator). Most people here live with their parents until they get married but would take their 'namorado/a' (boy or girlfriend) to a motel for privacy and to show respect to their families. Also handy if you are having an extra-marital fling or pick-up in the local samba joint. We have seen some excellent names including Motel Love Story, Motel Free Love and Motel Sexy Love te he.

Kids only attend school either in the morning from 7.30am to 12.30pm or the afternoon from 1pm to 5.30pm. Many schools become universities at night so they are operating for up to 18 hours a day. Brazilians that we have met are very motivated to study and improve themselves - kids might go to school in the morning then a special english college in the afternoon. Many uni students are studying two degrees at once - one during the day and one at night. Many adults also study english or spanish as the job market is very competitive and you need all the extra skills you can get.

Someone told us yesterday that Brazil is one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world. Many young people that we have met have their own business - or two. Every man and his dog is out selling bits and pieces on the street to passing cars, or has opened up a little shop or bar in their garage.

School bus kombi style

There are lots of young women married to old men, though apparently only if the man is rich. It's quite difficult to guess the age of people over here. Women are ALWAYS in stilettos. Jeans are standard uniform at school and in the workplace.

Lunch is the main meal of the day and most people have a two hour lunch break from work. We went to the most amazing place yesterday for lunch - a 'churrascaria' which served all types of BBQ food plus Japanese cuisine. I tried sashimi for the first time - tuna and it was really good!

The advice given by our friend Micchi was to refuse all the salad, chips and extras that the waitors try to offer you and just go for the meat. W and K were very dedicated carnivores but I tried lots of different salads, fried bananas, BBQ cheese (like haloumi), fried potatoes and manjoica, sushi, BBQ garlic bread as well as the meat, all BBQed on long skewers over charcoal - chicken, pork, beef, chicken hearts (no thanks been there done that), fish and sausages. The best meat is this stuff called 'picania' (not sure of the spelling) which I think is beef backstrap with a thick crust of fat, served very thin and quite rare. Ooh it's making me hungry talking about it - must be lunch time.

Everyone has one of these, they are beside your plate - when you've had enough you turn it over to NO - if it says YES they'll keep on bringing the meat!

Sim - Nao

Tchau for now - only four more days of portuguese then I have to get out the spanish phrasebook!! Não fala espagnol!!!

Jill xoxoxoxoxo


PS. Peru photos now up on Flickr - nearly up to that part of the story!

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