Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Democracy in Brazil Update

Well it has been a few days since I posted about Democracy in Brazil and the demonstrations that filled the city streets this past last month.  Well,  in response to that posting I have had friends in the USA ask questions and some Brazilians wanted me to share more details.  I figured I would use this format as well as many others may have the same questions and information to share.
1) What is the current status of the protests?
Well since winning the Confederation Cup,  the mood of the country has changed a little again.  You see Brazilian flags pop up all over on cars,  hanging from balconies and at the top of residential flag poles.  I think this win has taken the edge off the demonstrations and a lot of people have gone back to everyday life.  Don't get me wrong,  the people are still watching and the frustrations are still there,  it has just taken a back seat for now.  There are, however, large demonstrations going on daily in cities
throughout the country.  They are not as big as the ones during the Confederation Cup but people are still taking to the streets.  For example, many doctors and health care employees are protesting the governments decision to bring doctors from other countries (mainly Cuba)  to help improve medical conditions.  Seems like a reasonable response to the desired better medical care presented by the original demonstrations.  However, the medical staff say it is not the lack of doctors in the country but the facilities they are working in that is the issue.  They are also saying that the doctors brought here from other countries will not have to pass the boards to practice in Brazil which undermines their current system and is even unconstitutional.  They want FIFA stadium standard hospitals and feel there are plenty of doctors already in the country,  just need to improve their working environment.   This is just one of the issues that continues to bring citizens to the streets in hopes that the government will listen to their demands.
2)  What is going on there as news reports tell of a soccer official being decapitated.   Well,  I don't know much about this story,  just what I read and to be honest I have not even heard it mentioned in conversation among Brazilians.  I do believe it shows some of the battles the country has had in its struggle with leaving its third world status behind.  Then again,  if you look in the papers in the USA there is always a story about some sports fan killing another one over the game.  I don't know the details of this particular occurrence so I don't have much more to add.

3) If you remember my last post talked about the Brazilian President's promise for oil moneys to be used for education.   This promise has sparked some debate as the complications of accessing this oil means there will be no money for several years.  To many Brazilians this seems like an empty promise,  one they have heard before.

4)  Many of my Brazilian friends have continued to express the frustration that Brazil as a country pays a high taxation rate and they feel like they see little benefit of this.  Roads are becoming privatized as companies move in and replace non toll roads with tolls.  These changes would seem to reduce the tax burden on the people but it has no affect on the amount of money they pay in taxes.  This is just one example of how government works in the country.

5)  There are still a rumblings about the amount of money spent on the upcoming international sporting events, but I recently read about the Winter Olympics in Russia and the escalating costs because of corruption there.  I personally think these large sporting organizations need to figure out a way to curb this corruption in order to maintain a good image in the public.   It will be interesting to see how the people of Brazil look at the World Cup over the next eleven months.    Clinching their fifth world cup could put all this turmoil aside, but then again loosing could erupt into massive unrest. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Democracy in Brazil

OK,  as soon as I published the post about graffiti last week and the quadrilha post this week,  I realized I had to finish and share about what is going on in Brazil currently.   The world has been watching as Brazilians by the millions have taken to the streets in reaction to the state of current politics.  It all started when a small group of people began protesting a 0.10 increase in bus fares in Sao Paulo and Rio and escalated from there. For me the movement gained momentum when two things occurred.  Well at least in my eyes and you must remember that frustrations about political progress run deep in the history
of Brazil.  Brazil is a fairly new democracy as they were ruled by military law and dictatorship until the mid to late 1980's.  The first President directly elected by the people,  Fernando Collar was impeached from office on charges of corruption.  All this history plays into the current attitude of the citizens towards politicians and police.
What is this current uprising all about and the two things I believe fueled the fire?   Let's start with the the fueling of the fire and the first one has to do with the police.  Remember how Brazil was a military state.  It is common knowledge that many police and military personnel during this time took advantage of their power and acted violently towards the citizens they were suppose to protect.  When a small group of protesters gathered in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to voice their opinion about the hike in public transportation,  they were met by
this same police force who responded to their peaceful demonstration with force.  Using tear gas and rubber bullets on the crowds which then ignited the pushed down anger felt towards authority by many Brazilians. The second thing I believe fueled the fire is the opening of the Confederation Cup, the precursor to the 2014 World Cup.   When the current President of Brazil was introduced at the stadium for the first game of the tournament,  the crowd let off a loud boo which was prominently heard.  I think this was a fuel as many Brazilians did not realize how many of them were feeling the same discontent about the current state of affairs. This booing added the power of numbers and to me seemed to encourage the people who may have been reluctant before to now voice their opinions.  Realizing there are many other fellow Brazilians feeling the same way they are.
Now, what is it all about?  As the protests grew and people took to the streets many frustrations seemed to fester.  It was almost like the perfect storm.  With a good economy over the past years many Brazilians were able to travel abroad and see what life is like in other countries.  These experiences changed their expectations of what Brazil can be.  Many of my friends fit into this group of people.  They no longer want to live in a society where things start hours late,  cars don't respect pedestrians, garbage litters the streets,  and people don't pay attention to things like one way streets or stop signs.  They bring back these experiences and quietly wish for change but now they have an opportunity to voice this desire.
Some of the people protesting are doing so because of pending legislation before the government of
Brazil.  Last year the Supreme Court of Brazil convicted some 25 politicians in the largest corruption scandal since the early years of democracy.   Politicians and officials paid money for political support using public funds.  Although there are many people upset about this revelation they joined the protests because of recent  legislation which was introduced in reaction to this trial.  If passed it would limit the power of public  defenders in such cases making it harder for them to bring these people to justice.  To many Brazilians this looked like the same old political doings and corruption they have been frustrated by. Since the protest, the Brazilian Congress voted against the legislation by a strong majority.  (*side note - some Brazilians think it is no coincidence that the vote was scheduled to take place the same day Brazil was to play a fotebal game so it could quietly pass.  Prior to the protests there was overwhelming support of the legislation in the Congress.)  
Another issue that has stirred in this uprising has to do with the World Cup and Olympics which are both being held here over the next few years. While billions of dollars have been spent preparing for these world sporting events,  promises of better infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals, airports and public transportation have been left unmet.  As the World Cup approaches and the amounts spent on getting the stadiums ready skyrockets past projections.  Many Brazilians see this as a part of the corrupt system currently in place.   They question why so much is being spent on these events and so little is spent on the people of Brazil. They don't want to just be a place to come party but a place to live a good life.  Even the most famous Brazilian soccer player Pele has taken criticism for going on television asking people to support the football team and asking them to see the team as who Brazil is.   Leaving this turmoil behind, but I believe the supporters of the movement are pushing for the country to be more then just soccer and reaching their true potential.
The past few weeks have seen the Brazilian President going to the television promising to use the new found oil reserve revenues for schools and education.  Bringing doctors from other countries to provide better medical care.  All in an attempt to work with the people's frustration and work through the Democratic process.  We will have to wait and see how Democracy plays out in this large South American country.
I know some of my friends back in the USA the past couple of weeks  have asked just what is going on in Brazil so I thought I must at least give my perception.  I believe it is a huge challenge for the government of Brazil to make things happen over the next year or we will see larger protests during the 2014 World Cup.   Time will tell.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Scenic Sunday - Quadrilha - Festival of June

Well,  I know it is July but I finally got the video together of the different Quadrilha's  I attended this year.. hope you enjoy.. Click on the photos or the link below to watch the video.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Walking I will go...

Yesterday afternoon I found myself with a little down time so I headed out the door and went for a little walk.  Ok - it was a longer walk then I first intended but about five blocks from home I began taking note of some of the things I spotted and decided to share my observations.
As I walked along I noticed a wall which has been constructed in the past six months or less.  It is like other walls along the road creating a boarder between the sidewalk and personal property.  What I paid a little more attention to on this day was the tagging which was scribbled across the newly painted structure.  The culprits sure did not waste any time before they
streaked their black lines across the tan wall.  Yes, Goiania is full of graffiti and most of my friends here are not happy about it.   I have noticed this before and in other Brazilian cities but on my walk today I pay a little closer attention to it.  I notice that some of the graffiti in the city is quite artistic and then there is some which are not like the one in the first photo.   On almost every block there is some sort of graffiti to grab the passerby's attention.
I meander a little further and come to a park with a community center or gym located in the center.  We have driven by this building before and I have always wanted to take a closer look.  It is covered with graffiti but this almost looks as if it has a purpose with some actual art being involved.  As I walk up to the structure to take a closer look I think of the murals they are painting under the bridges and underpasses along the beltline bike trails in Atlanta.  There is not a lot of difference between what we call art and graffiti.   I will continue to scour the city walls of Goiania for more art among the graffiti and share it from time to time.
In the meantime enjoy this short video with graffiti from Goiania. I figure this is better then having all the pictures listed below.  Let me know what you think...   Goiania Graffiti

A special apology to all my Brazilian friends who would rather not have me show what they consider the ugly side of Brazil but it is truly life in Brazil.  I remember a day when cities in the United States were plagued with this vandalism, not sure how they got rid of it but hopefully Brazil will follow suite and it will get better. At least the non artistic part of it.     

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Caldas Novas or Bust!

As I have stated in previous posts,  I was invited to go along with a group of people from northeast Iowa as they explored this part of Brazil.  Part of the group is from an agricultural program and others are from a horticultural program.  They are using their spring break to explore Brazil farming techniques as a kind of exchange program.  As you can imagine,  most of the excursions are to agricultural inspired locations.  Their midweek plans were to take a break from this education and visit the Rio Quence near Caldas Novas.  I had been here
back in 2011 but decided it was a trip worth taking.
What is the Rio Quence and Caldas Novas?  Well, Rio Quence translates to hot water and it is the name of an infamous water theme park near the city of Caldas Novas.   It lies 170 kilometers from Goiania to the South.  The thermo pools are known to be the main attraction for the largest hydro-thermal resort in the world.
Before the brief story of our visit,  lets learn a little more about the hot springs.  They were discovered in 1777 by Martinho Coelho and Gustavo Mauricio Silva De Carvalho Alves as they explored the region.    Gold was found in small quantities in the area which attracted prospectors and others to the region.  The first city here was a small gold rush community on the banks of the river.
The area has 86 active wells which pump over 317,006 gallons of water an hour with
 temperatures between 95 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.   Over the years these hot springs have been enjoyed by people from all over the world and today we are journeying to the Rio Quente.  (thank wiki)
The bus to transport our guests from Iowa and myself arrives at the hotel and we are on the road by 7:05 AM. It is a partly cloudy day and I spend the drive time getting to know the faculty members of the group. We talk a little about Iowa and of course since they are part of agricultural department at their school,  we talk
crops as well.   I realize at some point  that I know quite a bit about farming still.  The trip seemed quick with only a stop in Piracanjuba for kibe which it is known for and a short look around at the little stores.  ( click here to read previous post about Kibe)

The sun starts to peak out around the clouds as we drive up to the parking lot.  The bus unloads and we filter into the park to enjoy the water rides, lazy river, and large hot spring pools.  It is the same park we had visited at the end of December a few years ago and today it looks to have less  crowds so that is good. After waiting a few minutes for the first round of waves in the wave pool a small group of us adventure to the plunge where two riders board a raft and plummet down and up a U shaped slide over twenty feet tall.  I remember this ride from years ago and I am game.  It does not disappoint as the rush pushes my blood into overdrive and almost as quickly as it started it is over.  This is followed by time to relax in the lazy river, more excitement with the twist and turns of other water slides, all making it a pleasant day filled with just enough excitement.  At some point during the afternoon I am persuaded to try the new ride called "Piranha".  It maybe against my better judgment but then I have not seen any news about people dieing on the ride so I have to just keep that in my mind.   We start the experience with a short video filled with warnings about how it is not suitable for children.  I won't go
into graphic details but it is about the feared piranha and a swimmer.  After the short video the riders continue down the long path filled with details of a rustic Brazilian village surrounded with the sounds of children playing.  The children are from the film and add an element of creepy.  After the path the climb begins and I am not sure how many floor we ascend but the thought of turning around definitely had time to marinate as we edged closer to the top.  Once we reach the platform I look around and the structure is full of boards with obvious nails missing all part of the ride but a couple of times I hoped to myself that the 
Brazilians know there construction. Two people from our party take their turn before me.  They
sit down in the mouth of the fish and off they go into the dark tunnel with only a scream to identify where they have been.  It is soon my turn and I sit down to begin my journey which starts with a thrust forward.  After a few twists, turns, plummets and of course a yell or two,  I am down and plunging into the warm water pool at the bottom.  It sure took a lot less time to get down then it did to get up but I enjoyed the ride overall.  I also realize I like a few of the other water rides at the park better then this one.  We spend the rest of the afternoon exploring some of the other rides, a second trip to the lazy river,  and hanging out at the beach.  Entertainment at the beach includes some aerobics instructors who invite us to move along to their instruction which is always a good time. 

Soon the sun was setting and it was time to head back to Goiania.  We load onto the bus and start the journey.  When we get to Piracanjuba we stop for a nice surprise.  A Brazilian family has invited us to join them in their home for dinner.  On the menu for the evening is pamonha which is being prepared in the kitchen when we arrive. Several of the students even pitch in to help prepare this traditional food.  I have eaten pamonha but have not experienced making it before.  The company was good and I made effort to communicate with them by using my broken Portuguese.  This was the perfect way to end our adventure and the rest of the bus ride back was uneventful.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where should we eat Wednesday? Goiania

When some friends asked us to join them for Japanese food in Goiania  I wondered what we would find.  Would it be Brazilianized Japanese?  But how would that be?  Intrigued we decided to join them one evening.

Down a regular residential street lies a home that has been transformed into a quaint Japanese Restaurant called Himitsu.  We may have missed it if it had not been for the parking attendant and the few cars parked outside the front gate.  Well,  our friend who had eaten there before was along with us so I could be exaggerating a little.

As we walked through the door into what used to be the front yard.  I was please by our surroundings as the waterfall feature added great atmosphere and it looked as if we were in store for an upscale dining experience. For me I prefer upscale when eating sushi, it just makes me more comfortable. The wait staff were dressed with Japanese headgear and led us to the back air conditioned room where we were seated at a table draped in black linen.   I notice a couple of spots on the linen but the rest of the place looks nice so I decide to ignore this minor detail for now.

Overall the wait staff was attentive and the menu is on an iPad which makes ordering sushi easy.  After they showed us how to place our order using the iPad the waiters go about their business of attending to the other guests.  We simply order what we want and soon they bring it from the kitchen.  Our friend who had ate here before suggests that we order the Japanesa festival for adults so we follow her suggestion.  The costs seems a little on the high end but we are in Brazil and if I convert it to dollars it really is not that bad for sushi.

Soon our first wave of food, a plate of bite size  morsels arrives. Cheese filled egg roles, flavored broccoli, fried shrimp,  just to name a few of the items on the plate.  This is followed by a beautiful plate of sushi which comes automatically with the Japanesa festival.   All the tastes are wonderful as we share the platter and afterwards order a couple more things.  The service is excellent and the only glitch for us was we did not understand how the ordering worked.  If you get the Japonesa festival you can order many more items from the menu without any additional cost.  Had we known this we would have ate a little bit more but then again maybe it was good we didn't know it.

The food was so good, we ended up going there as second time and enjoyed the experience as much as the first visit.  Definitely a nice place to eat if you are looking for sushi in Goiania.

Himitsu Culinaria Japonesa e Contemporanea
Rua Dublim N 122 Jd Europa
62 3251-3597


Monday, March 25, 2013

Continuing Education??? part 2

OK,  so a quick review on the last post and if you have not read it yet,  I suggest you do so before continuing with this read.  *click here*  I was invited to tag along with some students and faculty from the agronomy department of a couple of community colleges in northeast Iowa who are visiting Goiania.  I of course said yes and had a wonderful day as we toured the Federal University of Brazil's Ag department and a rice research center here in Goiania before we explored the the central market and a little of the city.  At the end of the day they invited me to join them for dinner and a "foteball" game and that is where we left of on the last post.
Since the time was short in between our arrival and departure at the hotel, I decided to hang out  instead of heading home.  One of the college professors (Dan) and I decided to take a quick walk to kill the hour so we headed south on the Avenida Republica Do Libano with it enormous palm trees down the middle.  The sun was hot but fortunately there is a lot of shade on our journey today.  Dan is a horticulturalist and since I used to work with plants for an interior plantscape company,  we talked quite a bit about plants and flowers.  We are both amazed at the plants that grow here that we use for indoor plants back in the USA.  It is amazing to see just how large they get here in their natural habitat.  Trees like ficus, lyrata, and rubber plants just to name a few.  And the flowers,  yes the flowers,  the kind that grow wild here like orchids and ginger or the many varieties we have never seen below.  I think he was impressed with how much I knew about plant material and I truly enjoyed talking with someone who appreciated it on a different level.  Our walk takes us to the Parque Aim Tamandare a few blocks away.  The group had gone to the sun moon fair here a couple nights ago so we talked about that a bit and just how different the square was during the day.  I point out a few of the well known places that line the park.  When we get to the far side of the park he asks about all the guys laying in wait with buckets and rags.  I explain they are waiting for the next  dirty car to pull in for a true hand car wash. Goiania provides water to these entrepreneurs who set up shop to make money.  This is a service provided in several parks throughout the city.  It is a nice afternoon and there are so many trees and flowers to show, but time runs out and soon we head back to the hotel.
Everyone loads onto the bus for the evenings activities with first stop being dinner.  After a short ride we pull into a McDonalds parking lot.  This is a little bit of a let down for me as I thought the plan was to eat at Flamboyant Mall and if you know me you know how little I like McDonalds.  But I am a guest this evening and we are probably saving time by eating here. The leaders of the group head to the mall next door to purchase tickets for a future days activity.  They leave Maria (another new Brazilian friend) and myself to help the students get their dinner ordered.  Well,  Maria started helping them out as they all formed a single line at one of the cashiers. When the last customer in the other line ordered I decided to break away and help one of
the students order  but a McDonalds employee tried to herd us back into line until I explained to her I spoke a little Portuguese.  She let us continue to the cashier with no line and soon I was assisting more students with their orders.  It was really easy enough as many of the items are in English like chicken bacon or bacon cheese.  The students only needed help if they didn't want something like tomatoes or onions on their sandwich.  Thanks to my experience ordering at Subway close to home,  I had all the sandwich terms down pat.  They also welcomed my help in dealing with the Brazilian money exchange.   After everyone was finished I ordered my big mac and sat down to eat with the Maria and Dan.
The stadium is only a few blocks away and soon the bus arrives and we all exit.  It is a fairly cool evening and by this time it is pretty dark.  The other foteball game I attended was an afternoon game so I am curious about this experience.  Several of the students purchase jerseys for the local Goias team and then we head into the stadium and find our seats.  The group sits on the family friendly side which will be an interesting difference as well.   The seats in the stadium begin to fill until about 1/3 are full.   The crowd on the other side begin their usual jumping and chanting.  Tonight Goias is playing Anapolis in a regular season game.
As we sit waiting for the game to start I realize I know little about this team getting my support for the second time so I must find out a little about them.  This team Goias, of Emerald and white is one of the largest foteball clubs in west-central Brazil.  It was formed in 1943 and has a long history with the city of Goiania.  Its accomplishments include taking first place in series B in 1999 and 2014 as well as 23 state and 3 regional championships over the years.   They play most of their home games in a smaller stadium which accommodates around 10,000 fans but tonight like the previous game I went to watch them play is at Estadio Serra Dourada Stadium which can seat five times the number of fans.  (thanks wiki)
Well this brings us back to this evening and the game is played in front of a fairly small crowd. The rowdy section across the way is still loud and don't stop jumping around for at least the first half.  I have to admit I find myself wishing I was over there with them as it was such a different experience.  You feel the passion of Brazilian foteball.  For tonight I will have to be satisfied with the excitement generated as Goias is awarded a penalty kick and scores a goal.  Pretty cool as this is my first experience of Goias scoring and it is followed by two more goals in the second half as Goias wins 3 to 0.  The clock winds down and the referee signals the end of the game.  It is time to head back to the bus and say goodnight for the evening.  As we travel back to the hotel where my ride home awaits I am invited to join the group the rest of the week.  We will have to see how that all plays out.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Continuing Education ??

Yesterday I had the privilege to spend some time with a few students and faculty from Kirkwood Community College and Hawkeye Community College in northeast Iowa.  The group is here on their spring break on an exchange program with the Ag department at the Federal University of Brazil.   Thanks to Luiz,  I had been invited to tag along on a field trip of sorts by the leader Juarez.  I was not sure what to expect of the day, but my life is about the experience so at least I will meet some new people with Iowa being our common ground.  I throw on my backpack and feeling like a little kid going to school for the first time,  I head for the car.
We arrive at the university and wait as they are obviously on Brazil time,  but soon the bus pulls up. Juarez greets me and I get on the bus.  The back is full of the Iowa students and faculty which I am quickly introduced to by Juarez and I grab an empty seat.   In his introduction Juarez states I am from Iowa also which sparks a little get to know you time as we begin our journey.  First stop was the Embrapa which is the equivalency to the US Ag Research Services in the states.  Today's tour was that of the rice and bean development facility located on the campus.  It began with a informative lecture style presentation that talked about rice production and what part rice plays in everyday life of Brazil.  I already knew it was the stable starch for the country but really knew little about how and where it is grown.  Since it is such a staple in Brazil, the university
spends a lot of research time on what is called upland rice.  Since traditional rice is grown in wet, irrigated areas,  the upland rice does not require these conditions.  It can be produced on non irrigated land cutting the cost of production by reducing the need for water.   They continue to look for way to make the crops more drought and disease resistant. After our educational lecture, we toured the rest of research facilities which houses many different labs. The labs are used to study rice and beans.  My favorite part was in the bean and rice recipe development area.  Here they work on different ways to use rice and beans in recipes to create different foods.  As the students went into a small room to look closer as a testing areas while I stayed back and tried out my limited Portuguese.  (yes I am still frustrated with how slow this language learning is going for
me)  In the testing kitchen there was a Brazilian lady making brownies out of peanuts and beans.  We talked a little and she went on to show me a recipe book with all kinds of recipes developed in this kitchen using beans and rice.  I was amazed at all the different foods made and they all looked so good.  Brownies and brigadeiro made from beans, pao de queijo (cheese bread) and cookies made from rice,  all with delicious photos that jumped off the page and made my mouth water.  I was happy to find out they had the cookbook available for purchase and went ahead and got one.  Now I just need to do a little translating and give the recipes a try.  I will let you know how it turns out.  As all good things must end,  the students came back from the testing room and we headed onward to different research areas.  I actually enjoyed watching the students get involved in conversations about what they were seeing.  Several of them were obviously
heading into the right career path.   Soon it was time to head back to the bus and after a short drive we turned into a field which ended up being test plots of rice.  The bus stopped about 200 meters from a mango tree where an easel was sitting in its shade. Here two people from the university spoke about experimental tillage programs currently being studied in these plots and a little about the soil in Brazil.  During the presentation I looked around an realized I was surrounded by rice fields. This was the first time I had ever been in a rice field, hmmm another new experience.  It was getting close to lunch so after a short walk around the field we headed back to the bus.

Once everyone was on the bus,  we headed back to the main agricultural campus for lunch in the cafeteria.  I had eaten here with Luiz before so I finally knew what to expect of the day.  After lunch we took a walking tour of the main agricultural campus stopping for a brief presentation about coffee roasting and watching a guy roast a batch of coffee beans.  The university used to purchase coffee from stores for the dark brown drink, but they
were spending a lot of money.  They decided to cut that cost by investing in a coffee roaster and now they process their own beans.  Transported from the southern part of the Goias (the state in Brazil where Goiania is located and the capital of) it is a great way to support the local economy, save money, and provide the employees a good fresh product.   Not to mention a smaller footprint for you "green" loving people.  After the demonstration we continued our tour and took a look at the different things being studied in the greenhouses and throughout the rest of the campus.  Once Juarez was finished with the tour it was time to head back on the bus and head into town.  On our way we made a quick stop to enjoy a small courtyard in another part of the University's campus.  In the quaint courtyard surrounded by classroom a clan of monkeys have made the university their home.  Of course since the rest of
 the group was from Iowa and you would not find a monkey outside a zoo there,  I think this was a nice stop for them and the monkeys most definitely put on a show.  This was our last stop on this campus and soon the bus drove us into into the city for a quick tour of the universities campus located in the central part of Goiania.  Not far from this campus is the central market and that was our next stop. I was excited as we entered the market and the first vendor had cajamanga for sale.  I had been talking about my favorite fruit some earlier in the day and the vendor allowed us a sample of the delicious fruit along with some passion fruit. This was the highlight of my afternoon for sure.  Towards the end of our market visit I had a couple more opportunities to practice my Portuguese.  A couple of the students asked me to help
them purchase some items in the market.  Of course I had to say yes and jump at the opportunity to practice.  I think I did alright as I deterred one student from getting a bottle of cachaca which was quite expensive at R$15,00 and I helped another one pay R$5,00 instead of the R$6,00 the vendor was originally asking for.  Not to mention helping a couple others find the price for a banana and a souvenir for someone back home.    The second opportunity came as we waited for the bus. A couple of Brazilian teenagers came up and started talking in broken English to the students so I said hello in Portuguese.  They wanted to know how to ask the students things like where they are from,  what they are doing
in Brazil, and how long will they stay.  I am sure I did not understand word for word what they wanted or respond with 100% accuracy  but in the end we both got what we wanted from the communication. At least I did and  I think they did as well.  The conversation came to an end as time came to load back onto the bus and head for their hotel.  The Iowans had invited me to join them for the evening as they headed to a foteball game.   Of course after a quick check to make sure I had a way home, I said yes.  (to be continued...)