Arrived in Brazil… and found a place to watch the Super Bowl

Posted by Bob on Tuesday, February 7th, 2006

It has been quite a journey these past few days. We left Russia on Saturday and 30 hours later, and 100 degrees hotter, we landed in Brazil. At one point on the trip I recall flying over Russia in an Air France plane listening to ZZ Top on my Ipod. It was some sort of confluence of international cultures that nearly caused a break in the cosmic structure. Sorry, I’ve been on the road a little too long.

We landed in Sao Paulo and stood in a long line going through customs. One of the truisms of travel is that you will need to wait the longest when you have the absolute least amount of tolerance and patience. One of the many things I’ve learned on this trip is that it is hard for Brazilians to get a visa to visit America, especially if they are young and single. Brazil has retaliated by making it equally hard for Americans to visit their country. One of the customs lines was marked AMERICANS ONLY. This was for a short-lived program in which Brazil was photographing and thumb printing all Americans who entered. We were told that this process was as much of a pain for the customs officials as it was for the Americans so they discontinued it.

We are staying in the town of Ribeirao Preto, a beautiful city of 500,000 about 200 miles from Sao Paulo. We have been on sort of an agricultural fact finding mission for the first few days. Our first day included a visit to a coffee plantation and a barbeque with the owner and his family. Brazilian barbecues are much like American ones except no hamburgers and no Budweiser. They do have a great local beer here name Skol, which is a little ironic since I think we use that as either a Scandinavian drinking toast or a salute to the Vikings. After observing the growing process for coffee, we visited the cooperative where the farmers bring the coffee for packing and export. The manager of the cooperative was a very engaging guy who was a great salesman for his product. He told us that most of the negative things said about coffee are mitos (myths). He said that he would like to have coffee served to all grade school kids because it could be a big help to their concentration and attention. By the end of his talk, we were pretty convinced that coffee could cure cancer and bring about world peace.

On Sunday evening I strolled down to a great bar near our hotel called Pinguim (Penguin). They make a dark beer that’s a cross between Guinness and root beer. The beer is very tasty and the bar is a great place to watch people. I thought by chance they might be showing the Super Bowl at Pinguim but they were showing futebol instead. Later, at the hotel, I did find the game on Brazilian TV. I did hear the Portuguese-speaking announcer scream TOUCHDOWNNNNN!!! at one point but it did not have near the pizzazz of GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!! After all this talk of beer and football it is only appropriate that I sign off with SKOL!

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