Friday 15 January 2010

On the road (7)

Brazil is a hot place - apart from the winter in the South, of course - and many people in the cities dress as if they were either going to, or coming from, the beach. The only other place where I noticed that was Havana.

I have never been to a country where so many women sported tattoos - or is this because you see more exposed flesh in Brazil than in quite some other places?

A good Brazilian hotel is one that serves a good breakfast. Here's the one of the Copa Verdes in Cascavel: a buffet with various types of bred, dried meat, ham, cheese, melon, water melon, mango, papaya, pineapple, bananas, grapes, scrambled eggs, sausages in tomato sauce, a variety of cereal, yoghurt, waffles with maple syrup, cookies, a wide selection of cakes ... this is what I remember. The only thing Brazilians do not seem to start their days with is ice cream.

At the Ibis in Curitiba a couple - he was in his late fifties/early sixties, she in her mid-forties - arrived at breakfast strategically prepared. She put a mid-sized round metallic box (that consisted of two boxes, one on top of the other) on a table next to the buffet, unscrewed the upper box, placed the two halves neatly next to each other, checked whether there was any staff nearby, went to the buffet, came back with large quantities of fruit and lots of crackers, put them in the two boxes, screwed them together again and was now ready to go for her regular breakfast.

At the bus station in Passo Fundo, a man in his thirties, with an athletic build and a double-chin, wears a T-shirt that says: Psycho Surfers.

"É obrigatório o uso do cinto de segurança", it says in some buses (maybe in all of them but I only noticed it in some) but I never saw anybody wearing it save for one woman sitting next to me from Passo Fundo to Lajeado. I had made the mistake of asking her where she was travelling to: she gave me such a detailled account that I dozed off after a few minutes.

Due to an accident near Lajeado, my return to Santa Cruz was two hours late. I called Ricardo (who, together with his wife, Takako, runs Schütz & Kanomata Idiomas), who had offered to pick me up at the bus station, that I would be late and take a cab. I hardly ever go to bed before eleven, Ricardo said, so just give me a call once you arrive. I did and a couple of minutes later Ricardo picked me up. Takako had put a cold tea and a sandwich into my fridge and my place so thoroughly cleaned that I had quite some problems finding my things - it felt like coming home.

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